The Derwent Valley Trust established a walking trail from the Ladybower Reservoir down the length of the Derwent Valley to Shardlow, and, with the help of the County Council established The Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
The Trust is now trying to create a traffic free cycleway along the valley that will increase the safe accessibility of the valley to families, all kinds of cyclists and the disabled.
Having visited various rivers in Europe on dedicated cycleways and witnessed the immense tourist attraction these have become, it is clear that an traffic free cycle route from Derby to Chatsworth and beyond, that gives access to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and its various attractions, could become a route to rival any in Europe.
Additionally, many commuters in Belper, Duffield and Allestree, who could cycle to work, but are currently put off by the heavy traffic on the A6 and narrow busy side roads, would be able to leave their cars at home and cycle safely to and from work (even in wet weather as spray from passing vehicles would be avoided).
These are some of the benefits:
The route is included within the County Council’s Cycling Strategy, but has yet to be allocated a priority. It is also included in the long term HS2 Strategic Leisure Cycle network, so fits within the government’s network – thereby increasing its chance of funding.
The core section of the route is from Derby to Matlock. This links to the south with routes already in existence to Shardlow (mostly off road or on very quiet by-lanes), to Nottingham (and potentially HS2 at Toton); and to Etwall; and to the north with the White Peak Loop (High Peak Trail from Cromford, and onto the Monsal trail from Matlock via Rowsley).
We already have the support of Chatsworth Estate to explore a route northward through their land from Rowsley via Chatsworth House to Baslow – which we would also like to include to create a safe through route from Derby Station to Chatsworth Hose and the Cavendish Arms at Baslow – a truly world class experience!
We have identified a potential route in detail, with some alternatives; identified and spoken with many of the current owners and gained the support of community groups, parish, town and district councils along the route, as well as many private companies and landowners. We have also met with government ministers, who have assured us of their whole-hearted support.
We have over 500 hundred individual supporters.
Assembling land along the whole length of this section will not be without its problems however, which is why we want to support the County Council in bidding for money to achieve this. It needs the philosophy of road building to achieve – i.e. identify where the greatest need and benefits are and then identify the means to deliver it
We have prepared a detailed draft interactive plan (http://qgiscloud.com/smoky/DVC_cloud), and sought Expressions of Interest from consultancies to undertake a feasibility study of the route. A summary of the benefits arising from the route can be found here.
Full details of the project can be found at derwentvalleycycleway.org.uk.