Horse drawn coach rolling out for heritage festival fundraiser

Crowds are expected to gather in Belper and Cromford on Sunday, October 15, for a glimpse of the coach in action.
Crowds are expected to gather in Belper and Cromford on Sunday, October 15, for a glimpse of the coach in action.

The Derwent Valley Mills team are offering a trip back in time next weekend, with the chance to ride a horse drawn coach and raise funds for a vital Belper heritage project.

At 11.30am on Sunday, October 15, the mayor will wave four horses and the Tantivy coach away from the Lion Hotel in Belper as it carries 24 passengers to Cromford.

The coach is the same vehicle which last travelled the route back in 1895, and is being rolled out to raise money for the new Belper Tea Rooms.

Trevor Griffin, one of the directors of Belper Community Enterprise, said: “We are very lucky to have found that the Tantivy coach is available for this unique historic run.

“Tickets are expensive at £90 for a single run but this only covers the cost and is comparable with experiences like balloon flights, which can be undertaken at any time.”

Only a few tickets remain for the day, which will see passengers ride along the A6 for lunch at the refurbished Greyhound Hotel or join the return leg to Belper, with special events planned at each end.

The event has been organised by Belper Community Enterprise and the Friends of Belper River Gardens as part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Discovery Days festival, October 14-29.

As well as fundraising, the coach ride will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Cromford and Belper Turnpike Road, authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1817.

It was the first time since the cotton mills had been established over 40 years earlier that there would be direct road links between them and opened up routes from all over the country.

Coaching inns like the Lion Hotel were built to serve the new traffic, but the glory days of stagecoaches were short-lived as railways reached the valley by 1850.

The Tantivy was itself a heritage revival attraction, designed to let people experience earlier days of travel.

All tickets are expected to sell out in advance. To enquire about ticket availability, call 0781 6536945.

To learn more about plans for the new tea rooms, visit www.belpertearooms.co.uk.