- Distance: 52 miles
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Minimum Duration: 36 hrs
- Refreshments: PubCafe
- Route: Download .gpx file
- Start Grid Ref: SK 46007 30800
The Derwent Valley Heritage Way is a linear walk, so it is recommended to take public transport to the start and end points of the hike.
Please do not rely on this walking guide to solely navigate the hike. Always take a paper map and compass with you and make sure you know how to use them. Hiking is generally safe, but there are always potential risks. Use common sense, plan your route beforehand and make a reasonable judgment at all times.
In this guide, I provide an account of my personal experience navigating and completing the Derwent Valley Heritage Way.
While my journey went smoothly, I strongly recommend consulting official guides and conducting thorough research before embarking on this three-day adventure.
It’s important to note that the official route follows a north-to-south direction, but I chose to hike it in the opposite direction, from south to north.
About the Derwent Valley Heritage Way
The Derwent Valley Heritage Way is a long-distance walking trail that follows the course of the River Derwent. It is located in the county of Derbyshire, primarily within the Peak District National Park. The trail spans approximately 55 miles (88 kilometers) from Ladybower Reservoir in the north to Shardlow in the south.
The Derwent Valley has a rich industrial heritage and played a significant role in the Industrial Revolution during the 18th and 19th centuries. The valley was home to several mills, factories, and canals that were instrumental in the development of industries such as cotton spinning, mining, and engineering.
The heritage way takes walkers through picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and historical sites. Along the route, you can explore remnants of the area’s industrial past, including mill complexes, canal towpaths, and railway viaducts. The trail also passes by notable landmarks such as Chatsworth House, a stately home and estate.
Walking the Derwent Valley Heritage Way allows you to appreciate the natural beauty of the Peak District while immersing yourself in the region’s fascinating industrial history. The trail is well-marked and provides an enjoyable experience for both seasoned hikers and those seeking a leisurely stroll through the countryside.
- Start: Outside of Shardlow
- End: Belper
- Distance: 18 miles
- Accommodation: The Lion Hotel, 24 Bridge St, Belper DE56 1AX. Rooms typically cost £69/night.
The journey begins at the estuary of the River Derwent and progresses through Shardlow, Ambaston, and into the heart of Derby City Centre. Moving northward from the city center, the route passes through Darley Abbey, Little Eaton, Makeney, and concludes in the charming town of Belper.
The first day of the hike is the second longest and encompasses a predominantly urban landscape. While there are stretches of roads and tracks to navigate, they are interspersed with picturesque mills and historic villages, adding a touch of beauty to the journey.
- Start: Belper
- End: Matlock
- Distance: 12.5 miles
- Accommodation: Premier Inn, Bakewell Rd, Matlock DE4 3AZ. Rooms typically cost £80/night
On day two, the adventure continues from Belper and traces the course of the River Derwent through the captivating villages of Ambergate, Whatstandwell, Cromford, Matlock Bath, and finally Matlock. Each stop along the way offers its own unique charm and sights to behold.
- Start: Matlock
- End: Hetherdene
- Distance: 22 miles
Day three presents the longest and most demanding leg of the journey. Starting from Matlock, the route carries on northward, tracing the meandering path of the River Derwent. As you progress, you’ll pass through notable places such as Darley Dale, Rowsley, the scenic Chatsworth Estate, Baslow, Froggatt, Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, and ultimately reach the destination of Hetherdene. This day requires endurance and perseverance, but the breathtaking landscapes and captivating landmarks encountered along the way make it a truly rewarding experience.
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