Derwent Valley Walks: Along the Derwent from Rowsley to Matlock

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I walked the way back in and documented my journey in Audio form but it was time to return to make a video for my YouTube Channel. It flows gently in to the River Trent which then heads towards Nottingham, the Trent And Mersey Canal also intersects at the confluence of these two great rivers.

Matlock Walks, Peak District Walks In Derbyshire, England, UK

Our Journey begins here, looking across from the southern bank towards the mouth of the river. The first section of the walk follows the towpath passed the Derwent Mouth Lock as we head back towards Shardlow. The canal is very picturesque and was lined with many colourful boats that made me rather envious of those who live on the water. Shardlow was a thriving area back in the late s due to the business boom bought by the canal and it became a significant inland port.

The walk leaves the canal behind and follows the road through Shardlow towards Ambaston as we head back towards the River Derwent. Once through Ambaston you are back at the waters edge as we follow the Derwent through Borrowash and along a cycle trail to the outskirts of Derby. The next place we pass is the Pride Park industrial estate which is home to Derby County. The mills have been awarded the UNESCO statue for their industrial importance, I mentioned earlier in the post that Derbyshire is where the industrial revolution was born.

The first and one of the most fascinating buildings of interest we pass on the way is Derby Silk Mill. Built by George Sorocold for the Lombe brothers John and Thomas in it was the worlds first factory. John Lombe however died in suspicious circumstances and it is thought that he was poisoned by an Italian assassin.

It houses artefact from those early days of Silk and Cotton spinning up to the present day engineering masterpieces from Rolls Royce who build aircraft engines in the city. In recent months the Silk Mill was home to the touring Poppies which were originally at the Tower of London. The poppies have a link to the city as they were designed by Derby ceramic artist Paul Cummins. The collection of Mills at Darley Abbey were built by the Evans family, they also built many houses for their workers which we pass on the way.

There were 4 mills at Darley Abbey. Sadly you are unable to access them without permission as they have been converted in to business premisses.

BBC - Derby - Around Derby - Walking - Derwent Valley Heritage Way

After the Darley Mills we head towards Little Eaton through the turf growing facility on the banks of the Derwent. We pass underneath the A38 dual carriage way, then climb up to walk along side it to cross the railway line. We then walk in to the Village of Little Eaton before climbing over the hill towards the Peckwash Mill. After Peckwash Mill we head for Mackney before climbing over towards Belper.

Once in Belper I met with my friend Andy and we walked towards Long Row which is a very picturesque street. The mills at Belper were once the largest complex of mills under single ownership but sadly parts have been demolished in recent years. Heading northwards from Belper you climb up the valley side before dropping back down into the village of Ambergate.

Matlock Cycle Routes - Along the Derwent Valley

All that is left today is the section we will walk from Cromford to Ambergate and then various small but largely hidden parts on the way to Langley Mill. I have walked the original length and made a video if you wish to find out more about the canal Cromford Canal — Cromford to Langley Mill — History Walks. We made a quick stop for a bite to eat at the Family Tree cafe as I was ready to refuel after walking almost 25 miles. The pump at Leawood was used for keeping the canal water levels topped up by pumping water from the River Derwent below. The pump is still functional today and there are numerous days of the year where you can go and witness it in action.

If you head to the preservation groups website you can find out more details. The next place we pass is the High Peak Junction where water met rail. It is here the Heritage way intersects the High Peak Trail which is an excellent cycle and walking route across the roof of the White Peak towards Buxton. The High Peak junction was where freight like coal and limestone could be loaded on to boats or in to railway carriages. There is a series of rather large inclines leading up from the Junction and there is still a working example of one of the old winding machines.

15 December 2017

Up at Middleton Top you will find the old winding engine designed by the Butterly Company which used to haul the carriages up the Middleton incline. The final section of my walk today along the Derwent Valley Heritage Way was the remaining part of the Cromford Canal to Cromford itself, the home of the Mill built by the legendary Sir Richard Arkwright. It was however home to the Arkwright family up until and it is now owned by the Christian Guild Hotel Group.

The hotel has lots of amenities including a swimming pool but I was shattered so settled in for an early night. The following morning I awoke to the sound of heavy rain on the window of my room in the hotel. I got up, showered, dressed and went for breakfast armed with my camera to take some pictures of the castle. I repacked my bag, checked out and then headed off in to the rain.

The first stop today was Cromford Mill which was built by Sir Richard Arkwright in and it was here that the industrial age really began.


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The mill started with employees that worked two 12 hour shifts day and night…Sir Richard Arkwright is widely regarded as the father of the factory system and it all began on a big scale here in Cromford. The structure is now classified as a Grade I listed building and has a wealth of things to see and learn about the industry and the legendary father himself. I have visited Cromford Mill many times over the years on school trips and on visits while doing local history projects in my adult life. After leaving the Mill we pass the bottom of Cromford Hill where you can see many buildings that were built by Arkwright, some to house mill workers and various other structures including the Greyhound Hotel which was built in I have visited the museum numerous times in the past and it is absolutely fascinating.

The staff in the museum are very knowledgeable and there is even a hoop where Arkwright himself used to tether his horse. Although the museum for me is the most interesting part the majority of Masson Mill is now a shopping centre. There is also a great cafe in the lower level of the shopping complex which overlooks the River Derwent.

There is lots to see and do in Matlock Bath, perhaps the most famous thing is the Heights of Abraham where you can ride the cable car to the top and explore caves or just enjoy the views. After 28 miles of relatively flat terrain yesterday I welcomed the chance to do a bit of climbing as my hips suffered through lack of varied movement.

I then passed through Hall Leys park where there is a boating lake and a miniture railway. I only stopped for a caffeine fix in Matlock before moving on but there is lots to see and do including the Peak Railway line.

A Derbyshire Round Trip - Part 1

The current national rail services from Derby stop at Matlock Station but you can hop on the Peak Rail steam engine that travels north from Matlock to Rowsley. The rain was pretty heavy along this section so once I arrived in Rowsley I took shelter in a bus stop to have some food. Passengers on a bus laughed as they must have though I looked rather amusing, head to toe in water proofs, mud up to my knees and making lunch on my stove.

At Rowsley is the Peak Village Shopping Centre if you feel that way inclined or perhaps in need of any outdoor supplies. Caudwells Mill is a Grade II listed historic flour mill. It is Powered by water from the river Wye which joins the Derwent at Rowsley. Cross the railway line to the far side and follow path. Follow blue signs over level crossing then turn left into Whitworth Park through gate. Cross Harrison Way take care. Pass a wooded wetland area, cross boardwalk and a small industrial works to reach Rowsley car park.

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Our walking holidays

All information believed to be correct at the time of print. Visit Industry. Itinerary Planner Welcome to the Itinerary Planner. Follow Us Skip To Main Content. Type: Cycle Route. About Cycle a former railway line along the river valley. Cross Church Lane adjacent to the level crossing and continue on cycleway beside the railway.

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To return to Matlock follow the route in reverse. Download our.


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