Derwent Valley Heritage Way 8 – Whatstandwell to Belper

It has been a long time since I walked any of the Derwent Valley Mills Trail. Monday 2 September was a lovely day, and I didn’t want to work on a Monday. I caught the Transpeak bus north to Whatstandwell station, and started walking south. Always seems wrong to arrive at a station by bus! The bridge over the canal looks rather fragile, and the lack of boat traffic means there is plenty of weed in place.

It is a pleasant walk along the canal, with the railway next to you. Although sometimes busy with walkers, today I saw nobody.

I came off the canal at Ambergate, down under the railway, across the A6. The church was locked, but the garage sold me lunch. Ambergate was quite a station once – it was triangular.

I crossed the bridge over the Derwent, just south of the confluence with the Amber, and then walked up through the lovely woods, The Birches, then along the minor Whitewells Road. 

We then cut down beside Coppice Wood and along Wyver Lane. We passed the Wyver Lane Firing Range which was built in 1899. There had been a firing range for the Belper Vounteers on Chevin Hill since 1800, but by the end of the century new rifle technology had made the original range inadequate. George Herbert Strutt gave this land and paid for Mr A.F. Hurt’s cottage to be removed from the site (I wonder what Mr Hurt thought). He also gave £250 towards the £900 costs of providing facilities. It was much used in the early stages of World War 1, and was used until the 1970s.

Then on past the Nature Reserve, beside the railway, and into Belper. There’s a nice little garden at the north end of Belper Bridge (does the railway ever work), and the Mill is now advertising a planning application for lots of apartments. Let’s hope this works – it is too nice a building to be derelict. We’ve not really had a good look at the Museum here.

I crossed the road, went past Christ Church, then headed up Long Row. There are some lovely workers’ cottages up here, and I managed to get some photos without cars in the way. I was annoyed at missing a Yellow train as it past underneath.

I shall count this walk as finishing at St Peter’s church – a church which needs to be blogged – and therefore being about 6 miles, although I continued on to see Peter, a lovely member of our choir at St Edmund’s, in a residential home in the town, and then caught the bus home. It had been a lovely day.

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