Bradgate Park - Little Matlock

Explore a beautiful river, tracing the course of ancient water…

The River Lin, Leicestershire’s shortest river, runs through the Lower Park and is a popular spot to sit and picnic ,or just sit and watch the deer while children paddle in the shallows. The River, which is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, is rich in wildlife. The Victorians created the shallow waterfalls to clear the silt from the water, as the river feeds Cropston Reservoir.

Little Matlock provides an attractive walk to the heart of the Park through the ‘Victorian designed landscape’, with exotic plantings such as Monkey Puzzle trees. It was named ‘Little Matlock’ since it reflects the landscape of the Peak District.

The sides of the valley here are made of Markfieldite, also known as the South Charnwood Diorites. This rock was intruded underground as liquid magma, cooling around 560 million years ago. However, at this site, the more interesting feature is the valley itself.

The valley represents a particularly good example of a transverse gorge, where a river cuts through a ridge of hard rock. In this area of Charnwood Forest, most of the streams flow south, but around the village of Newtown Linford this river takes a sudden turn east. Some researchers have suggested that the modern river is tracing the former route of a river from the Triassic, around 530 million years ago. Others favour the idea that the River Lin is following the route of glacial meltwaters from the last few millions of years. Either way, Little Matlock is an important site for the study of drainage in the English Midlands, and is therefore protected as part of the Bradgate Park and Cropston Reservoir SSSI.

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