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An independent review of the largest parks and gardens in the city of Derby.



Derby is fortunate in having many fine parks and gardens all within easy reach of the city centre.

There are in fact more than 300 areas of public open space in the city, covering over 2,000 acres of land available for everyone to enjoy.

The Arboretum claims the distinction of being the first public park in England. It was donated to the people of Derby in 1840 by local mill owner Joseph Strutt.

The larger parks have a wide range of facilities that attract both local people and visitors to the city.

Particularly popular are the events, which are staged throughout the year.

These include the popular Darley Park Orchestral Concert in September and the Bonfire and Firework Display on Markeaton Park in November.

Markeaton Park

Darley Abbey Park


Originally parks were used mainly for hunting and for the benefit of the occupiers of country houses and their visitors.

They were open spaces where buildings, industry and farming were not permitted.

In more recent years well-designed parks, streets and squares have played a crucial role in the development of our towns and cities.



Nowadays, when we speak of  parks, we are usually referring to areas of open space provided for recreational uses.

Parks in this sense are usually owned and provided by the government. They are often divided into two categories: active and passive recreation.

As the expression implies - Active Recreation often involves cooperative or team activity, including playgrounds and ball fields.

On the other hand - Passive Recreation is that which emphasizes the open-space aspect of a park including picnic areas and trails.

Alvaston Park


On Thursday 17 September 1840, Joseph Strutt handed over the deeds of the Arboretum to the town council, in Derby.

This was followed by a large procession from the town hall to the Arboretum, which marked the beginning of three days of public festivities, following the birth of England's first public park. 


Visit all the parks and gardens currently featured on this website by clicking the links below.

If you live locally why not try the Parks Challenge at the foot of this column? All the answers are to be found in the features.


Allestree Park

Alvaston Park


Chaddesden Park

Darley Abbey Park

Markeaton Park

Normanton Park

Riverside Gardens


There are over 50 children's playgrounds in Derby. A large number of sporting facilities are spread across the city, which  include ...bowling greens, cricket pitches, fishing lakes, five-a-side courts, football pitches, golf courses, pitch and putt, tennis courts, basketball courts, BMX and skateboarding tracks and orienteering courses.

Derby City Parks Department is responsible for approximately four square miles of council-owned land in the city, including parks, public open spaces and roadside verges.

The departmental staff ensure that the quality of the land under their control is adequately maintained  and that standards of cleanliness and health and safety are achieved by regular inspection.



Test your knowledge of the parks featured by answering ten questions.

Click here for the questions

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An independent profile of a city surrounded by beautiful countryside, situated at the heart of Britain.

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 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 city lies at the junction of the main A6, A38 and A52 roads and junction 25 of the M1 is 15 minutes drive away. East Midlands Airport is an easy 12 miles drive to the south east of Derby.



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Further features on Derby and the surrounding area will be added on a regular basis, so bookmark this site to avoid  missing anything.



Three heritage trails round the city centre and another six visiting the suburbs of Allestree, Chellaston, Darley Abbey, Markeaton, Mickleover and Spondon, together with a large number of images combine to give you a real taste of city life.


Six popular country walks enable you to enjoy the beautiful countryside round Derby.



Discover Derby



Although a city, Derby still has the feel of a large market town and with plenty of open space, wonderful parks and the River Derwent running north to south through the city, it has been described as a 'city in the countryside'. A selection of walks and events are organised annually to help you to enjoy Derby's abundant wildlife.


Derby Wildlife Walks

Allestree Park