This excellent walk takes you through ‘Strutt Country’, setting off from the Riverside Gardens past North Mill, along the Derwent Valley to Milford, before climbing up to walk along North Road with splendid views of the valley below.
The River Derwent flows for more than 50 miles through the heart of Derbyshire. It brings with it the water power to run the mills along its valley. The dam on the right as you cross the bridge over the river at Belper at one time incorporated 12 large water wheels, the housings of which can still be seen.
The influence of the Strutt family is at its strongest in Milford. They owned the whole village and employed virtually all the inhabitants of working age. The best place to view Milford is from the top of Sunny Hill where the walk takes you next.
From here the walk continues along a pleasant tree lined route across the Chevin before descending gradually back to the river. After retracing your steps to North Mill and calling at the Derwent Valley Visitor Centre, if you have time the River Gardens are well worth exploring.
Length: 6 miles.
Start/finish: The Riverside Gardens Car Park a few yards north of the intersection of the A6 with the A517 Ashbourne road.
Location: On the A6 between Derby and Matlock.
Terrain: One steep climb and more gentle descent. Can be wet underfoot.
1. Leave the car park keeping close to the river past North Mill, cross over the bridge and immediately turn down a lane on the left to walk alongside the river.
2. At the bottom of the lane go through the stile and with the hedge on your left cross two fields and head down the next field to join the riverbank.
3. Continue to follow the path close to the river passing to the left of a treatment plant.
4. Soon the path swings right to join the Chevin Road, go left here towards Milford.
5. On reaching Sunny Hill Road (for The Strutt Arms continue to the A6) turn to the right for a steep climb up the hillside, bending to the right at the top into North Lane.
6. The road continues for about one and a half miles past Chevin Golf Course-take note of the warning to ‘look out for stray golf balls’.
7. Just before the lane bends sharply to the left in front of a house, turn right to follow the signed path down two fields keeping close to the wall on the left.
8. On reaching Chevin Road turn to the left and in 100 yards take the signed path to the right down the drive past Swiss House.
9. Go over a stile to follow a diagonal path to the left to reach a narrow paved path leading to a stile.
10. Continue by angling to the left through two stiles to a field near the river.
11. This part of the walk will be familiar to you as you retrace your steps to the left going past the house you saw earlier on the walk to a stile in the corner of the field.
12. Continue across the next two fields keeping close to the right hand boundary, along the lane by the river, over the bridge and past North Mill back to the start point.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
St. John’s Chapel Heritage Centre: (Tel. 01773 822116) dates back to about 1250, contains an interesting collection of old photographs of Belper and memorabilia. Open weekdays 9.30am to 12.30pm. Also open the last Saturday in the month.
Derwent Valley Visitor Centre: (Tel: 01773 880474) situated in North Mill where superb displays of hand spinning wheels, Hargreaves’s Spinning Jenny and many more exhibits bring this old mill back to life. Please telephone for opening details.
Denby Pottery Visitor Centre: (Tel. 01773 740799) offers factory tours Monday to Thursday (booking essential). The museum, cookery emporium and factory shops are open daily. Restaurant facilities available.
The Strutt Arms Hotel (Tel. 01332 840240) standing alongside the A6 this attractive wayside pub is open daily and provides good food and seating outside in good weather. Meals served lunch time and evenings.
Chevin Coffee Shop (Tel. 01773 829830) a delightful little coffee shop situated on the first floor of the De Bradelei Mill Shop. Home cooked food served throughout the day. Open daily.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
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The story of Belper really begins as a small settlement in the Royal hunting forest of Duffield Frith when it was given the name of ‘Beaurepaire’ which means ‘beautiful place’.
Belper is now an important part of the Derwent Valley, which is universally recognised as the Cradle of the Industrial Revolution and now holds World Heritage Status.
For information on Belper and events in the town.
BELPER WELL DRESSINGS
Well dressing was first established in Belper in 1838, when the Mill Lane Well was dressed and in the following year four wells were dressed. The custom lapsed for The Second World War , but was revived in 1986.
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