It’s only ten years old – but the Derwent Valley Heritage Way has become one of England’s most popular long-distance footpaths. Rosie Gilligan is walking every inch of its 55 miles to raise money for Brainstrust andAshgate Hospice – and here’s her account of its first delightful section.
THE RIVER DERWENT has been an important source of water since ancient times, and during the 18th century, mills and factories were built along its banks to harness its power, establishing the area as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. In recognition of its historical and economic significance, the Derwent Valley between Matlock Bath to Derby was granted World Heritage Status in 2001. This, in turn, led to the creation of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way, which was launched by the Duke of Devonshire in 2003 and follows the course of the river from Ladybower to where it joins the River Trent near Shardlow.