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Derby Home Page        Darley Abbey Feature




This splendid walk combines beautiful mature parkland scenery with a great sense of history, and the starting point for the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and the National Heritage Corridor.


The walk takes you through Darley Abbey Park with its wide range of different tree species, to the historic village of Darley Abbey, at one time the largest monastic settlement in Derbyshire. It was here that the Boar’s Head Cotton Mill, now an important World Heritage Site, founded by Walter Evans began production in 1783.


A more recent arrival to the area is Derby Rugby Club, as is the footbridge by Folly House. The house was built as a water mill, but the establishment of the mill upstream left it without sufficient water and an unfortunate name.


The Romans occupied the Fort of Derventio at Chester Green, but little remains today, apart from two Roman wells, one on Marcus Street and the other in the garden of the vicarage of St Paul’s Church. However, a series of excavations in the last fifty years have established both its importance and prosperity These include the discovery of an underfloor heating system on Parker’s Piece, and an abundance of coins.


After crossing Andrew Handysides Bridge, and following the river under St Mary’s Bridge, the Old Silk Mill is reached. It was the first factory in England, where all the processes were carried out under one roof and utilised one source of power, which established Derby as the first industrial town in the country.









Length:     3 miles.


Start/Finish:     Tourist Information Centre.    


Location:    Market Place, Derby City Centre.    


Terrain:     Easy, flat walking mainly on surfaced paths and pavements.






1.  Walk across the Market Place towards the War Memorial and turn right up Iron Gate, carry straight on passing Derby Cathedral and the Dolphin Inn.


2.  Maintain the same direction up Queen Street, cross King Street and walk along a recently created path leading to the footbridge over St Alkmund's Way.


3.  On reaching St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church turn right in front of the church, and then in a few yards go to the left up Darley Lane.


4.  Continue straight on up North Street before going right at a sign for Chester Green; do not cross the bridge but walk along the path close to the River Derwent by the Derby Rowing Club Head Quarters.


5.  Walk across Darley Park heading slightly to the left towards a gap in the trees in front of you, which eventually leads to footpath where you turn right. Follow the path round, keeping to the left of the park cafe.


6.  On reaching New Road go to the right and follow it to the bottom of the hill, where you turn left past the Abbey Inn.


7.  Continue along the road through the village and as it bends to the right cross the bridge over the Derwent. 


8.  Follow the narrow winding road carefully through the mill complex, before about 75 yards after leaving the mills behind turn right down Folly Road.


9.  After passing Derby Rugby Club on the left and Folly House on the right, you go over the new bridge (officially opened in 2003). Keep straight on before turning right at the Millennium Milepost, after 200 yards.


10. Remain on the path close to the river, before crossing Handysides Bridge on the right, just past Derby Rowing Club.


11. Once, on the other side of the Derwent, turn left down a flight of steps and continue in the same direction keeping close to the river.


12. Go under St Mary’s Bridge, with the Bridge Chapel on the right and continue by the side of the river, passing the Old Silk Mill, down to Exeter Bridge. Turn right over the bridge, with the Council House on your left, and return to the Market Place and the start of the walk.  







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A city of considerable character, surrounded by attractive countryside. With the Peak District National Park, the second most visited National Park in the world, only a few miles to the north and the National Forest only a short distance away to the south.


Located near the centre of the country, Derby has excellent communications and is well served by road, rail and air.





The Silk Mill – Derby’s Museum of Industry and History: (Tel. 01332 255308) was the first factory in England, where all the processes were carried out under one roof and utilising one source of power. It is now a World Heritage site and has been converted into a museum where you can discover the facts about Rolls Royce aero-engines, the history of railways and coal mines and much more. Open daily apart from during the Christmas and New Year Break.  


Derby Cathedral: (Tel. 01332 341201) visible from a distance Derby Cathedral dominates the skyline with its impressive Perpendicular Tower, the second highest in England to the Boston Stump. The Cathedral is open on a daily basis throughout the year, the board outside gives details of services. Although normally open from 8.30am to 6.00pm, times may vary on Bank Holidays. Admission is free. Excellent Coffee Shop. Ring for further details.


St Mary’s Bridge Chapel: (Tel. 01332 341201) one of only six bridge chapels left in the British Isles. It stands beside the 18th century St Mary's Bridge, which replaced a medieval bridge to which the chapel was originally attached. The precise date when the first bridge chapel came into existence is uncertain, but it is likely to have been around the late 13th to the early 14th century, when it was built on the same site as the present chapel.  Contact for opening details.





The Abbey Inn: (Tel. 01332 558297) the layout is of a simple medieval hall-house and is thought to have been used by the Abbey as a guesthouse for travellers and pilgrims during the 13th century. From 1932 to 1977, it was unoccupied, before conversion into a public house. Open lunchtimes and evenings from Monday to Friday, all day at the weekends. Meals served at lunchtimes only.


Darley Park Tearooms: (Tel. 01332 556447) delightfully situated overlooking flowerbeds and Darley Abbey Park, with distant views of Derby Cathedral. There is plenty of seating outside on the terrace. Normally open from 10-4pm during the week, longer at the weekend, but arrangements may be changed at short notice dependent on weather conditions – telephone for further information. Light refreshments served.





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Darley Abbey Feature