About this image
Riber Castle, sitting on the hill high above Matlock overlooks much of the surrounding area. It was built by John Smedley, a local textile manufacturer and founder of the Smedley's hydros in Matlock, between 1862 and 1868. It was designed by John Smedley and built as a residence for the Smedley Family, in local stone. Its area is 145x110ft. John Smedley died in 1874, but his wife, Caroline, continued to live in the house until her own death in 1892. The house remained unoccupied for many years after this, hence its present ruinous state, but the surrounding land was acquired by a group of zoologists in the 1960's who developed it as a nature reserve for rare British and European wildlife. Unfortunately the nature reserve has since closed.