Biggest celebration of Belper’s heritage

NBENBE111023b6, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Guide Mary Smedley giving a tour at the east mill.
NBENBE111023b6, World heritage site discovery days, Belper. Guide Mary Smedley giving a tour at the east mill.

Belper is set to host its biggest ever celebration of the town’s rich heritage with 19 events lined-up to take place on just one day.

More than 160 attractions are planned across the Derwent Valley at the end of this month as part of the World Heritage Site Discovery Days - 40 more than in 2011, making it by far the biggest in the festival’s eight‐year history.

The biggest day for Belper will be Sunday, October 28 when there are events going on in the mill complex and River Gardens, but also along Bridge Street, Long Row and at the Strutts Centre on Derby Road.

Discovery Days began as a single day of activities to celebrate the diversity and importance of the Derwent Valley Mills – the only World Heritage Site in the East Midlands, where the factory system was born.

The festival’s popularity, and the enthusiasm of the World Heritage Site volunteers who deliver activities, have grown and grown. Nearly 13,000 people turned out for events last year, coming from all over the UK.

“This is the eighth year of Discovery Days, but the mix of activities stays as fresh as ever,” said World Heritage Site Director Mark Suggitt.

“As well as the annual favourites there are plenty of new experiences to enjoy, many of them free‐of‐charge.”

On the evening of October 31 – Hallowe’en – there will be a chance to see the 1623 Theatre Company perform Supernatural Shakespeare in Belper’s River Gardens.

The final two days, November 3 and 4, will see the usual mix of walks and talks around the Cromford area, and for the first time examples of the world’s earliest industrial housing will be open to view on North Street. The festival ends on the Sunday with a children’s torch‐lit procession to Masson Mills.

To see what’s on during the festival, visit www.derwentvalleymills.org/discovery‐days. The booklet explaining all the events planned for the Discovery Days Festival is now available from the mills and county libraries.