This is rather different from the usual museum. Run by a small group of volunteers and set within six former limestone quarries in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales, on the edge of the Peak District National Park, and close to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, The NSC is a 50 acre site of Special Geological Scientific Interest offering outdoor and indoor activities for all. They also run introductory Traditional Stone Craft courses such as Dry Stone Wall Courses or Stone Carving Courses.
Come and experience Derbyshire as it was 300 million years ago! Follow the fossil trail, linger by a tropical lagoon and explore ancient reefs. Our half mile self guided outdoor Geo-Trail will take you through the disused limestone quarries whose rocks once formed part of a tropical island with shallow lagoons, barrier reefs and white sand beaches! These rocks are packed with fossils including corals, brachiopods and crinoids.
In June 2000 over 150 members of the Dry Stone Walling Association from all over Britain built 19 different sections of dry stone wall in their own local materials and completed the Millennium Wall. Wallers and dykers worked in their own traditional styles to make this wonderful outdoor museum of British traditional dry stone walling. For thousands of years dry stone walls marched across the landscape of Britain. This is a wonderful monument to something that defines our heritage.
The National Stone Centre houses an exhibition called "Bulding Britain" within the indoor Discovery Centre. Find out fascinating facts about the Story of Stone and the events that make our planet what it is today. Learn about Geology, Paleontology and how minerals are extracted from the earth and used to build the world around us. Did you know your mobile phone could not exist without the minerals extracted from the earth? The exhibition is closed for the winter but will re-opoen in March 2017.
There is a designated parking area for less able visitors giving level access to the Visitor Centre and activity areas. The outdoor Geo-Trail follows natural contours and is not suitable for wheelchair users. Toilets for less able visitors are located inside the Visitor Centre. Attention – please be aware of the uneven nature of the site and the presence of old quarry faces and mine shafts. Children and animals should be kept under close adult supervision at all times. Finally, please remember, this is a Site of Special Scientific Interest - fossil collecting and hammering are strictly forbidden. Parking is by donation. To keep the site open and maintain their parking by donation policy, they would welcome the suggested donations: Car £1 for half day or £1.50 for the full day to explore or go hiking; Motorcycle 50p; Coaches £5 for half day (free with school visits); Camper Van £5/night; Alien craft (donate in whatever currency you use). Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : National Stone Centre, Porter Lane, Wirksworth, Derbyshire DE4 4LS
Transport: Cromford (National Rail) then bus (6.1). Bus Routes : Trent Barton 6.1
Opening Times : Daily, October to March, 10:00 to 16:00; April to September, 10:00 to 17:00
Tickets : Free
Tel: 01629 824833