Derwent Valley Heritage Way. Day 4 Cromford to Milford.
Today is a day of deviation from the Way- I feel like a sinner. Even more so as my suspicions from day 3 – that I could have followed the river rather than the road if this group
had granted a concessionary path- were confirmed. Might take that up later.
I made an early start in the brilliant sunshine, down the path to St Mary’s church between a limestone crag
and the river.
From here you reach Cromford Mill and the way takes you along the Cromford Canal to High Peak Junction where road, river, canal and (disused) rail all meet. I made my first deviation here. I have done the Cromford to High Peak Junction on numerous occasions and it is a wonderful walk. But I decided to walk along the road which closely follows the Derwent. There are some good views of the river on this bright and sunny morning
but I don’t recommend this stretch of road walking. The car commuters have obviously never seen a pedestrian before and weren’t about to slow down to look.
When I reach High Peak Junction, I come across deviation number 2, enforced on this occasion.
The alternative route takes you further along the road and up the hill and then across fields. I thought the fencing was high here,
This is a long and, on the day, hot diversion but gradually descends back down to the Cromford canal. The path follows the (disused) canal all the way through Whatstandwell and on to Ambergate and is a beautiful part of the walk. Again, you are reminded that this was an industrial area which has since become overgrown, naturalised.
Behind me is the canal, immediately below the mainline railway and , down below, a glimpse of the river. The road is there somewhere…
At Ambergate The Amber merges with the Derwent at this stage,
and the path climbs up onto the hill away from the river, only to join the river as you start coming into Belper. This is the view across riverside gardens to the Riverside Garden,
The weir at Belper Bridge.
Over a pint of East Mill Bitter,
at the George and Dragon – they don’t do food but you can nip across to the excellent Extreme Sandwich Bar and bring food back to the pub- and in the glorious sunshine, I contemplated my next steps. The Derwent Valley Heritage Way takes you through the outskirts of Belper and up in the hills, away from the river. According to my map though there is a path which follows the river quite closely before joining a minor road (<4metres) which takes you into Milford. As this is the day for deviations from the Way, I follow my instincts and the river.
In fact, this path is part of the Derwent Valley Walk,
The path continues along the river, passed the (fairly smelly) sewerage works,
before joining up with Chevin Rd which takes you into Milford.
The traffic here was heavier than expected:
but astute observers will have noted the stile to the left of the road. Although not marked, there is a clear path and no private property signs, so I give it a go. Again, this is one of the advantages of being on my own. If this does not work out, the only person it affects is me.
The path closely follows the river and is obviously well used by members of the local angling club. Across the river, you can see the new riverside development in Milford- more privatisation of the riverbank?
The path joins back up with the Chevin Road for the last few metres,
and takes us into Milford,
(I may do a more detailed description of the Belper to Milford walk at a later date, but I must get on with the final 2 days first!)
If you missed out on days 1-3 of my walk you can catch up here:
Day 1 : Ladybower-Hathersage
Day 2 : Hathersage-Rowsley