The Derwent Valley is a special place, where the lowlands meet the rugged grandeur of the Peak District. It is an area of contrasts, united by the river which flows through it. The Valley is exceptionally rich in wildlife with ash and oak woodlands, charming villages, flower rich pastures and flowing streams, home to the internationally recognised Derwent Valley Mills, the only World Heritage Site in the East Midlands. Whether your interests are walking, cycling, history or wildlife the Valley is the perfect choice for a summer outing or a winter break.

In the north, the River Derwent carves through the limestone to create a dramatic gorge at Matlock Bath. It is flanked by wooded limestone dales and overlooked by a plateau enclosed by dry-stone walls and picturesque field barns. Stretching 15 miles along the river valley to Derby the World Heritage Site contains a fascinating series of historic mill complexes, including some of the world’s first ‘modern’ factories.

The Derwent Valley is considered the birthplace of the modern factory, the machines developed in the Derwent Valley such as the water frame allowed continuous production. Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mill and the associated workers settlement provided a template for industrial communities. The success of Arkwright’s model lead to other industrialists copying him, entrepreneurs such as Peter Nightingale, Jedediah Strutt and Thomas Evans built the mills and settlements of Belper, Milford and Darley Abbey further down the Derwent Valley.

Arkwright’s inventions and system of organising labour was then exported and copied across the world. Samuel Slater Arkwright’s Apprentice born in Belper become known as the father of the American Industrial Revolution

The Derwent Valley offers a huge range of activities from visiting the mills, museums and historic settlements to miles of country walks, cycling trails, quality shopping, wholesome food and drink, and abundant local hospitality. There is something for everyone!

Thinking of exploring the Valley then self-catering house is a great place for groups of friends to stay.