Heritage 2012 is on the calendar

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DATES have already been set for the Derwent Valley Mills’ Discovery Days Festival 2012.

This year’s event proved to be the most popular yet, with more than 12,000 people turning out over ten days.

Next year the festival will run from Saturday 27 October to Sunday 4 November – a bit later to accommodate the school half term.

“We felt it was important to keep the festival week in the half-term holiday,” said World Heritage Site director Mark Suggitt.

“The Derwent Valley Mills now have a new officer dedicated to events and education, John Rogers, who is keen to increase the number of family activities on the festival week days, so children can make the most of their holidays in the Derwent Valley,” he added.

The 2011 festival certainly proved to be a big success, with record turnouts for many events, and visitors from across the UK and beyond. Feedback was very positive, with many promising to be back in 2012.

This year the festival celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Derwent Valley Mills being inscribed on the World Heritage List. To celebrate, events ran for ten days, with 130 activities taking place.

The programme began with a celebration evening and Cllr Andrew Lewer, the Chairman of the World Heritage Site Board, officially launching the festival.

The following day saw events on Cathedral Green and in Derby Silk Mill, which re-opened for the occasion, and a hugely popular tour of Derby, seen through the eyes of 18th century historian William Hutton. Milford had a lot of visitors at walks and openings, including a rare look inside the Milford Turbine House, organised by Transition Belper.

The day ended with a capacity audience for 1623 Theatre Company’s free performance of Supernatural Shakespeare in Belper River Gardens.

“One of the greatest new additions this year was the opening of houses on Chevin View,” said 2011 event co-ordinator Adrian Farmer. “Calling Chevin View its original name, Berkin’s Court, the residents put on a host of activities, including exhibitions and a 1911 wash-day. They attracted huge numbers and we’ve had some great feedback.”

“We couldn’t have done it without the many, many Discovery days volunteers, who did an outstanding job again this year,” said Adrian.