Scarthin Cafe

The cafe area used to be the Mitchell’s kitchen, before the bookshop took over.  It is homely and colourful with filled with interesting posters and artefacts that Dave has collected over the years, adding to its quirkiness and style.

Connected to the cafe is the vineyard where a vine grows under the glass roof. Here there are two more tables or a large table seating eight; a great space for meetings.

Lots going on in the cafe- a cafe philosophique, conversation cafe and book club.

The Food

It is a vegetarian cafe offering vegan and gluten free food. We serve organic drinks, teas and good coffee, simple meals with delicious salads and our own home-made soups.

The Cafe is in what used to be our living-kitchen – still homely, and only slightly less cluttered. Half-subterranean, light filters down from a small garden, where there are a couple of extra tables when it’s warm and dry enough. In between is the “vineyard” or “Ivanry” with a table for about eight. Alas, Ivan and Dave’s outrageous book-pricing decisions can no longer be observed here, and they have been pushed up another floor, or out onto the Prom. Nevertheless, this is still a cafe where lots and lots goes on! (Oh and the food is just amazing, see examples of the  menu below)

scarthin cafe shop cromford derbyshire peak district

The food is all vegetarian with organic produce when possible, with vegan and gluten-free options available. Home-cooked seasonal produce provides the basis for a continually evolving range of wholesome and hearty meals, thick tasty soups, interesting salads and tempting cakes.  Sometimes (and in season), eggs (foxes allowing), tomatoes, beans, spinach, beetroot, herbs and apples are from our own garden (occasional hazardous misguided tours).

The cafe compliments but also rivals the bookshop – spend too long in here and not enough on books and you can influence the future use of the building; an example of the Interactive Cafe!

The Scarthin Cafe Menu

Contents subject to fate, destiny, the winds of change and overdue website updating!


Coffee, freshly ground in individual cafetieres:

Filter Cafetiere (Medium roast, Decaffeinated, French Roast and Columbian)

Espresso Coffee (Cappuccino, Latte, Americano, Mocha, Espresso)


Various: including Breakfast, Decaffeinated, Earl Grey, Decaffeinated Earl Grey, Darjeeling, Lapsang Souchong, Rooibos, China Keemun, Assam, Chamomile, Peppermint, Echinacea & Raspberry, Lemon & Ginger, Apple & Cinnamon, Wild Blackcurrant, Raspberry & Strawberry & Loganberry, Fennel, Liquorice, Keemun, Jasmine, Honeybush & Lemon, Yogi tea: sweet chai/sweet chilli; some Fair Trade and/or Organic

Hot Chocolate

Clipper fair trade and organic (vegan)

Soft Drinks

Cordials, still or sparkling:  Blackcurrant, Elderflower, Nettle, Ginger.

Sparkling Cold Drinks: Organic Lemonade, Organic Cola, Organic Apple & Raspberry, Spring Water, Diet Coke

Sparkling Bottled Drinks: Fentiman’s Ginger Beer, Dandelion & Burdock or Rose Lemonade

Savoury Dishes

Soup & Rolls (vegan)

A choice of Home-made soups with Wholemeal Roll

(these are always Vegan and Gluten Free any exceptions are always Noted)


Homity pie with salad (vegan option)

Burritos (vegan option)

Thai Wraps (vegan)

Calzone (tomato, basil & olive) (vegan)

Organic Pizza slice with salad

Vegan pizza slice

Veg Chilli Pie (vegan & Gluten free)

Sweet Dishes:




Dairy Free Chocolate Orange (vegan)

St Clements

Raspberry & Coconut

Lemon & Ginger

Coffee & Walnut

Lemon (gluten free)

Other Sweet dishes:

Rocky Road (no marshmallows)

Caramel Slice

Treacle Slice

Fruit Scone with butter, Jam & Cream

(Soya milk & cream and gluten free bread also available)

Ice Creams

Ice Cream Tubs (various)

Swedish Glace dairy-free ice cream


The periodical rack, always untidy, houses a range rarely available outside mayor libraries. Coffee-stain these rather than the books! Stocked at present:

  • Nature
  • About Larkin
  • The Economist
  • The BBC Music Magazine
  • Scientific American
  • Songlines
  • The Cottage Gardener
  • Clean Slate (Alternative Technology)
  • Archaeology Today
  • Philosophy Now
  • Byron Review
  • Canoe Focus
  • (NFU) Countryside Magazine
  • New York Review of Books
  • Cook Vegetarian
  • Vegetarian Living
  • That Plant’s Odd
  • Mining History
  • Total Liberty (Anarchism)
  • And some more I’ve forgotten besides..


The table in the “vineyard” extension can be booked by groups at off-peak hours. Meetings there include the monthly Thursday morning Conversation Cafe open group, now supplemented by the monthly Tuesday morning Conversation Cafe Political open group. Meetings are from 10am for 10.15-12. See our main New Page for forthcoming meetings.

The Whole Cafe

(with use of hot water and loo upstairs), is available for hire in the evenings, a Buddhist group are present meeting on Thursdays and also The Bob Dylan Group meet at regular intervals.

For more information see: The Grapevine Great British Where to Eat Vegetarian Restaurant Guide, or for international listings,, and also the BMW Drive-by Food Guide. Information is also available on Facebook, Twitter, Veggie Places Website and the Vegetarian visitors Guide

Walls Across the Valley: The Building of the Howden and Derwent Dams

Walls Across the Valley: The Building of the Howden and Derwent Dams

by Professor Brian Robinson


2012 Edition

Numbered limited edition (500) signed by the author

Scarthin Books' most legendary publication, first issued 20 years ago, with new content and never-before released photographs.

The Derwent and Howden Dams are a principal source of drinking water for much of South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and the East Midlands, including the cities of Sheffield, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. They are magnificent engineering and architectural structures and have acquired additional fame as one of several locations used in training the Dambusters Squadron. Prof. Brian Robinson’s grandfather worked on the project and his mother was born in the temporary navvies’ village of Birchinlee in 1909, and indeed Brian himself has the stature of a powerful workman. Though a molecular biologist by profession, Prof. Robinson has had a lifelong interest in the construction of the Dams and in the lives of the workmen employed there, and in 1993, Scarthin Books of Cromford, Derbyshire were able, with support from the Severn Trent Water Authority, to publish his highly illustrated magnum opus, Walls across the Valley; The Building of the Howden and Derwent Dams in an edition of some 1500 copies.  “Walls” has been out of print now for over a decade and has become Scarthin’s most legendary publication, with the few examples that come onto the market selling for £200 or more. At the time of writing, not a single copy for sale can be traced on the net.

The building of the Dams was one of the great engineering feats of the early 20th. Century, involving the building of a railway up the valley and the village for the workmen, Birchinlee and the moving of well over a million tons of earth, stone and cement. The opening ceremony was held on the 5th of September 1912, so centenary celebrations are not far in the future.

The publication of the first edition of Walls across the Valley brought to light much new material, as well as a few factual revisions, and as the original edition sold out, Brian Robinson and publisher David Mitchell invested much time and effort in revising the text, but production of a second edition was beset by technical gremlins too costly to overcome and ten years past before Scarthin Books took up the challenge again. The advance of publishing technology has allowed this scholarly and superbly-illustrated volume to be completely re-originated with the revised text, and long-established Sheffield firm J.W.Northend have undertaken to print it to their accustomed high standards.


Price: £60.00
Price: £40.00
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The Uke of Wallington by Mark Wallington

The Uke of Wallington by Mark Wallington

The Uke of Wallington - One Man and his Ukulele Round Britain

by Mark Wallington


£8.99 (paperback)

Only one thing has stopped Mark Wallington's rhythm and blues band going on tour - a lack of musical talent.  The vicar's retirement do proves to be a gig too far and they decide to call it a day.  But then Mark discovers an instrument he might just have enough talent for hidden on top of the wardrobe - the ukulele.

Realising his dream of a nationwide tour, the Uke of Wallington sets off on a 42-night road trip, playing open mic sessions from Brighton to Cape Wrath.  Probably the first rock 'n' roll tour ever undertaken on public transport.

If you were lucky enough to catch Mark performing at Scarthin Books recently, you'll know just how talented (and funny) he is.  A highly recommended book.


Price: £8.99
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FIVA by Gordon Stainforth

FIVA by Gordon Stainforth

FIVA- An Adventure That Went Wrong

by Gordon Stainforth


£9.95 (paperback)


A highly-acclaimed account, by local author Gordon Stainforth, of a climb that went horribly wrong.

In the summer of 1969, as Apollo 11 was blasting off to the moon, two teenage brothers, with only three years' mountaineering experience, set off to climb one of the highest rock faces in Europe.  With just two bars of chocolate, some sandwiches, a four-sentence route description, and an old sketch map, they left their tent early one morning with the full expectation of being back in time for tea.  Within a few hours things had gone badly wrong, they were looking death in the face, and the English Home Counties seemed very far away...

Price: £9.95
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Walk the Peak 2 by Rod Dunn

Walk the Peak 2 by Rod Dunn

Walk the Peak 2

by Rod Dunn


Special Price of £20 (Hardback)

Signed by the Author

Beautiful photographic guide to another fifty walks in The Peak District, extensively illustrated throughout, following on from the hugely successful Walk the Peak (now out of print) by local photographer and keen walker Rod Dunn.

This volume takes you on a journey from north to south through The Peak District, describing many paths seldom trodden.

Price: £20.00
Price: £10.00
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Scarthin Cotton Book Bag

Scarthin Cotton Book Bag

*BRAND NEW Scarthin Books Cotton Book Bag (40x40cm)

Featuring the same iconic print as our much-loved paper bags, this is perfect as a gift or for taking home your haul of books.

Price: £4.00
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Wenceslas by Carol Ann Duffy

Wenceslas by Carol Ann Duffy


Carol Ann Duffy

9781447212027 (H/B)

In reimagining the much-loved carol of King Wenceslas, Carol Ann Duffy's wonderful new poem offers merriment and festive cheer, but also celebrates what is truly important at this special time of year: the simple acts of kindness that each of us can show another.

Price: £5.99
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A Peak District Anthology

A Peak District Anthology

A Peak District Anthology: A Literary Companion to Britain's First National Park

Compiled by Roly Smith

9780711228870 (H/B)

This anthology brings together the finest writing about the Peak District through the ages. Compiled and introduced by Peak District expert Roly Smith, it revives many forgotten descriptions of what many people believe is the finest, most varied and best-loved landscape in the whole of Britain.

Price: £16.99
Price: £14.99
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Kind Regards by Liz Williams

Kind Regards by Liz Williams

Kind Regards: The Lost Art of Letter Writing

by Liz Williams

9781843177135 (H/B)

This fond and fascinating tribute to letter-writing includes sections on:

  • Wartime letters, billets-doux and postcards
  • Historical letter-writers
  • Stamps, envelopes and the postal system
  • Mail from afar
  • How to write a letter
  • Correspondence in the digital age

Price: £9.99
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Patrick Leigh Fermor by Artemis Cooper

Patrick Leigh Fermor by Artemis Cooper

Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure

by Artemis Cooper

9780719554490 (H/B)

A legendary war hero and acclaimed travel writer, Patrick Leigh Fermor was a self-educated polymath.  In this biography, Artemis Cooper draws on years of interviews and conversations with Paddy and his closest friends to portray a man of extraordinary gifts.

Price: £25.00
Price: £19.00
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The Horologicon by Mark Forsyth

The Horologicon by Mark Forsyth

The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language

by Mark Forsyth

9781848314153 (H/B)
From Mark Forsyth, author of the bestselling The Etymologicon, this is a book of weird words for familiar situations.  From ante-jentacular to snudge by way of quafftide and wamblecropt, at last you can say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.

Price: £12.99
Price: £11.99
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Forms of Intrigue and Woven Spaces

Forms of Intrigue and Woven Spaces

Forms of Intrigue and Woven Spaces

by Laura Ellen Bacon


Paperback  £6

For over a decade Derbyshire artist Laura Ellen Bacon has been making art of a unique and compelling quality.
As she says in her latest book, " The ambition in my work is to generate a kind of intrigue and an appeal that touches a powerful nerve (perhaps ancient in its origin) that we cannot precisely locate".
Laura's work uses mainly willow, weaving large and complex structures outdoors. Initially I see them as nests, large and strange, yet recognisable, and I wonder what kind of creature could have made them. But then the more I look at them, the more mysterious they seem and I am indeed intrigued. They seem to take on alien forms and then seem alive, like creatures. The one at the Arts and crafts house in Cumbria certainly looks to my eyes like an animal scaling the wall.
Laura herself says "as if the work will continue to grow when the viewer's back is turned " and even in the book there is an almost hallucinatory sense of movement in much of her works.
Like Andy Goldsworthy and other environmental artists, her work seems both a natural part of the the environment and a striking addition to it. The installations on houses and walls bring nature in contact with man-made structures in ways that are unsettling - the one at the Artist's House in Wiltshire seems almost threatening in the way that the nest-like structures creep along the house, reminding one of the power of nature, whilst at the same time reminiscent of an alien invasion.
The works require hours of repetitive work and, close-up, the repetitive yet complex patterns of the works are quite mesmerising. She also works in other materials, I was struck by her use of old computer cabling for her installation in London.
Willow is her main medium and she has recently begun to weave large structures that allow the interiors to be experienced. On pages 48-49 there is a striking structure appropriately called "into the weave", at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.
The book is a very well produced and illustrated introduction to Laura Bacon's work, and a bargain at the price, but it should serve as a spur to get out and view her work in its locations, which really bring home just what a talented and exciting artist she is.

Price: £6.00
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Lattice Labyrinth Tessellations

Lattice Labyrinth Tessellations

Lattice Labyrinth Tessellations by David Mitchell (Proprietor of Scarthin Books)

Published by Tarquin, £7.95 (paperback)



Visit Dave's Lattice Labyrinth Blog HERE


This is the Entry Level book, a guided workbook which starts from the basics and shows you how to construct some of the amazing families of Lattice Labyrinths for yourself. I must emphasize that, despite its accessibility to anyone with a bit of secondary school mathematics or an eye for geometry, this is a NEW field, or at least a field that has remained hidden – you won’t (easily?) find it in the popular sourcebooks or webpages of repeating patterns or in the standard works on tessellations (it’s too elementary for them) or in the hundreds of works, popular or academic, on mathematical recreations. With respect, most of what is in most of these latter books is recycled from earlier books  by such greats as Dudeney, Rouse Ball , Gardner or Conway. That hasn’t stopped me amassing a considerable collection of fun maths books (YES – they DO exist) . They line the walls of the ground floor of the Rapunzel Tower in which the short-haired author works.  David Mitchell.

Price: £7.95
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Cromford Revisited

Cromford Revisited

Cromford Revisited

by Doreen Buxton and Christopher Charlton

Published by The Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Educational Trust (November 2013)

Soft Cover, £18  ISBN 9780954194062

This richly illustrated book examines some aspects of the development of Cromford and Scarthin from the mid eighteenth century.  It recognises, as it must, a village largely shaped by several generations of the Arkwright family but introduces a wider cast of local characters; the mill-building George Evans of Bonsall and Cromford; the neighbouring gentry, the Gels of Hopton; the financier Peter Nightingale of Lea and several generations of the Wheatcroft family who spread the name of Cromford nationwide along the country's network of canals.  Also featured is a later resident, Charles White, the concealed hand behind the Lea Mills strike of 1911-12 and a colourful local politician who was to become West Derbyshire's Member of Parliament.

In the austere conditions of the 1920s and 30s, with the Arkwright family gone and a squire's paternalistic hand no longer directing affairs, the village learned to manage for itself.  Then in 1971 when the Arkwright Festival was held to celebrate the bicentenary of Richard Arkwright's arrival in Cromford, it found itself in the spotlight of heritage celebrity, recognition which in 2001 led to its achieving a central position in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.


Price: £18.00
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Art of Everyday Photography by Susan Tuttle

Art of Everyday Photography by Susan Tuttle

The new book by my dear friend Susan Tuttle - Art of Everyday Photography - is published in the UK on 31st October, priced at £17.99.

I've seen an advance copy and it's a truly lovely book containing a wealth of information on how to unleash your creativity using digital and mobile photography.

I have contributed a small section to the chapter on 'Mobile Portraiture'.

David Booker | General Manager | Scarthin Books

Price: £17.99
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