On Friday 16 November I got up early and caught the first Transpeak bus north to Rowsley. Why is it taking me so long to walk this Derwent Valley Mills Trail? It’s only 5.5 miles from Rowsley to Matlock and as it was a damp, grey morning, that would probably be far enough. I cut through the industrial estate on the side of the old station, then headed south on a footpath along the east bank of the river.
Then you come to the northern end of Peak Rail – http://www.peakrail.co.uk/. I haven’t had a ride on the line since I moved to Derbyshire – thirty years ago my brother was teenage volunteer here, trying to build the Buxton end, in the days when there were hopes they could re-open all the way through. It would be wonderful if trains could run from Derby to Manchester again, but I doubt it will happen in my lifetime.
A walk across the fields to Churchtown – not helped by farmers putting fences across rights of way.
St Helen’s church was locked, but they do have coffee every second Saturday which might be an opportunity to get in. Some interesting stone in the porch, an ancient yew tree and war memorials around it.
I crossed the river at Darley Bridge and walked down the west side. As you come into Matlock there are a large derelict site at Cawdor Quarry. In a sensible world we would be building new houses here, rather than on green field sites around Derby.
The Peak Rail bridge north of the town does not look to be in a good state. I stopped and chatted to a lady on a mobility scooter who then offered me a JW leaflet “Suffering – when will it end?” The walk hadn’t been that bad! I ambled to the station and photoed the 1850 Station Master’s house.