Festival helped walkers discover area’s heritage

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For ten days across a 15-mile stretch of Derbyshire’s River Derwent, people have been pulling on their boots, donning either rain hats or sunglasses, and setting off on one or more of 70 walks along the valley.

The Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site held its second Discovery Walks Festival, taking in plenty of sunshine and showers, and resulting in an increased turnout and very positive feedback from the participants.

A large number of dedicated World Heritage volunteers offered their knowledge and enthusiasm to ensure a whole range of walks were available.

Included in the mix was a tour of Belper’s ancient deer park accompanied by William Shakespeare and some very familiar characters, a strenuous walk around Matlock Bath ending in a cream tea at Willersley Castle in Cromford, and walks to discover the hidden heritage of Milford.

The walking kicked off with a popular performance walk called ‘Belperamble’ and included a new ‘Belper in Wartime’ Walk which featured a tableau showing Belper Station’s women porters of World War One (pictured).

“It’s been great to see so many people putting their best foot forward to mix healthy exercise with a chance to discover the World Heritage Site’s amazing story,” said Councillor Ellie Wilcox, who chairs the World Heritage Site Board. “Thanks to so many voluntary leaders and stewards, we had a packed programme to suit all abilities and interests, and the positive feedback from walkers has been overwhelming.”

No sooner was the festival over than plans were unveiled for the next discovery event on July 19 and 20. A leaflet of activities is available from the mills,library and tourist information points.

Alternatively contact the booking line on 01629 536831 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday or email info@derwentvalleymills.org.