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Little Eaton situated four miles to the north of Derby, lies between the River Derwent on the western and the A38 Bypass on the eastern side of the village. It has expanded rapidly in recent years as a commuter village, but still does retain a measure of independence with two busy industrial estates, one between the New Inn and Clock House, and the other close by the former station goods yard.


There is a good spread of shops, a primary school, three pubs and other amenities are well catered for in what is a very thriving community. St Peter’s Park, which was given to the village by Thomas Bates in 1902, provides excellent sporting facilities. The sports pavilion was erected in 1966, funded by money raised locally. One of the latest arrivals is the popular Derby Garden Centre, situated on the southern outskirts of Little Eaton.



The village’s industrial past goes back a long way. There was a working corn mill on the site of the present Peckwash Mill in the 13th century. By the 17th century the mill had turned to paper making under the ownership of Thomas Tempest, but also continued to grind corn until 1793. The mill was rebuilt with turbines replacing water wheels, and it became one of the biggest papermills in the country. A magnificent brick chimney was erected in 1895, but this led to a local man getting a permanent injunction preventing the emission of smoke from the chimney. This resulted in the business going into liquidation.


Little Eaton’s economy was given a boost by the opening of an arm of the Derby Canal, which ended at the Clock House, the home of the canal agent, on the southern side of the village. This was followed by Benjamin Outram laying one of the earliest railways in the world, which ran from Little Eaton to the collieries at Kilburn and Denby.


Four horses pulled six to eight wooden-wheeled trucks laden with coal, for over a century, until its closure in 1908. The track along which the trains were hauled to the canal boats was called the ‘Little Eaton Gangway.’ It ran behind the Queen’s Head and parallel with the main street. Little remains, but the path can be seen running under the east arch of the quaintly named Jack O’ Darley Bridge.


At the canal wharf a crane lifted the loaded container off the wagon and placed it in the boat. The rails of the gangway were made of cast iron with a raised flange on the inner edge to prevent the wagons coming off the track. After the finish of the venture many of the sleeper stones were used in other parts of the village, the most prominent being the high wall at the junction of Morley Lane and Alfreton Road. 


Quarrying was one of Little Eaton’s earliest industries and although all the quarries have now closed, there is still evidence of their workings in the hills on either side of the Bottle Brook. The various types of gritstone extracted were used for a variety of purposes, including whetstones for sharpening sythes, roofing, paving and building. The stone was used in the building of Derby Cathedral, Trent Bridge at Nottingham and Birmingham Town Hall.




The quarries at Rigga Lane and Blue Mountains were still in business up to nearly 100 hundred years ago. Riga Lane quarry can be viewed from the footbridge that spans the workings. Blue Mountains are named after the bluebells that carpet the surrounding woodland in spring. T.H.Barton, the owner of the Blue Mountains Quarry, left the quarry to form the well known local bus company that still bears his name.

In the early 1900s, Little Eaton was a popular excursion for Derby people at weekends and holiday times. The Trent bus service ran a shuttle service to the annual fair at Easter, and has been known to carry as many as 12,000 people in one day. A twopenny ride on the Derby Canal to Coxbench Wood was another highlight.

A well known and popular character at that time was Alice Grace, the 'Little Eaton Hermit.' On being evicted from her cottage at the rear of the Queen’s Head she lived in sheds, barns and disused buildings, until finally residing in her famous box homes at the pinfold on 'Th Back o' the Winns' in Coxbench Wood. She became a local personality and many postcards were sold of her. After spending nearly 20 years as a hermit, she was forcibly removed to the Union workhouse at Shardlow, where she died in 1927.

There are two conservation areas in Little Eaton. The first at Eaton Bank, which includes Blue Mountain Cottages, built for workers at Peckwash Mill. The other covers three main groups of buildings; Elms Farm on Duffield Road; St Paul’s Church and farm; and the area at the heart of the village known as ‘The Town,’ which incorporates several former farmhouses, the Queen’s Head Public House and the old smithy.

The Elms Farmhouse, built in 1704, is a grade two listed building. A former malthouse still stands to the south of The Elms farmyard, which once housed the Little Eaton Brewery Company.

St Paul’s Church was built in 1791, with money raised by voluntary subscription. The Lych Gate serves as a memorial to the men who fell in the First World War. Their names together with those who lost their lives in the Second World War are inscribed on plaques inside the gate. The Parish Room next door was originally the National School, but is now used for local activities.

The Queen’s Head, a listed building of 1835, was originally known as Delvers Inn, named after the local ‘delvers’ who worked in the quarries. Next door is the former blacksmith’s shop is reputedly over 300 years old. Further down the road is the recently restored United Reformed Church.




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Allestree Park is the wildest and most scenic of Derby’s parks. A nine-hole course golf was established there in 1948, and extended to 18 holes in 1955. The lake constructed in 1825 for Sir William Evans of Allestree Hall, partly surrounded by tall trees, provides a wonderful habitat for wildlife.  

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. This is an exhibition not to be missed. Open March to October, Wednesday to Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays from 1-5pm. November to February – Weekends 1-5pm.

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 are available.




New Inn (01332 831311) is a large modern public house situated on the Duffield Road near the centre of the village. Food served Monday to Saturday 12 Noon to 9pm and Sunday 12 Noon to 8pm.


Derby Garden Centre (Tel. 01332 831666) situated on the southern outskirts of Little Eaton, this popular garden centre and tearooms is rapidly becoming a favourite with local people since its re-development earlier this century. Open daily a wide range of hot and cold meals and snacks are available.







Provides a wide range of features on towns and villages with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.


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This non-commercial website is based on Discover Derbyshire Supplements published by the Derby Evening Telegraph.

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Mainly along well established footpaths and surfaced paths, which provide good views of the countryside around Little Eaton. There are some short, but fairly steep ascents and descents on this walk of about four miles.


Parts of the walk can be quite muddy and slippery after rain. The starting point for the walk is St Paul’s Church; nearby parking is available in the village streets, but please park considerately. Little Eaton is located on the B6179, just to the north of Derby. Easy access is available from the A38 both on the northern and southern sides of the village.    



Little Eaton Walk




All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.