Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. General
- 1. What provided the spark for the Cycleway idea?07.12.15More
Ian Scott and Derek Latham spent time cycling down the dedicated cycle route alongside the Danube River and realised that there was no equivalent in Derbyshire despite the beauty of the Derwent Valley.
Independently, a group of cyclists in Duffield had identified the benefits of the southern part of the route (particularly from Duffield to Derby).
The local MP, Pauline Latham, had spoken about the opportunity for a cycleway in Parliament and met with the various interested parties. Her initiative led to an meeting and the working group being founded.
- 2. What are the aims of the Cycleway Project?23.05.16More
The Derwent Valley Cycleway is an aspirational project to create an off road cycleway between Derby and Baslow (via Matlock) following the course of the River Derwent as closely as possible. A lot of the cycleway falls within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and links a number of significant population centres including Derby, Duffield, Belper, Cromford, Matlock Bath, Matlock, Rowsley, Chatsworth and Baslow.
- 3. What are the benefits of the Cycleway?07.12.15More
Many benefits are expected to arise from the creation of the cycleway including those in the areas of:
- Tourism. Increased tourism (e.g. cycle tourists) will lead to commercial opportunities to support the tourist demand (e.g. bed and breakfast, café, bike hire). In addition, existing tourist attractions will benefit from the increased number of visitors arriving using the Cycleway.
- Commuting. There are a large number of people who commute from Belper and Duffield into Derby and the cycleway will provide an attractive alternative to using the, currently congested, roads. There are many more who would commute if an attractive, safe, off road, alternative to the A6 trunk road was provided. Similarly commuters to Matlock will be encouraged to use the route.
- Health. The beauty of the surroundings and the lack of significant gradients will encourage people to cycle for health and thereby reduce obesity and increase overall healthiness of the local population.
- Environmental. To reduce vehicle related carbon emissions by making it safer to commute by bicycle.
- 4. How realistic is the cycleway at the moment?07.12.15More
Derby City Council have funded a cost of money study of the Cycleway which shows that the route would deliver £4.80 of benefits for each £1 spent on construction (a "very good" result).
Funding is now required for a detailed feasibility study and the obtaining of planning permission for the route. Preferred consultants have been selected to deliver this study but obtaining funding is dependent on the results of the Derbyshire County Council Key Cycle Network exercise which is expected to be complete by mid 2018.
Derby City Council have agreed to construct a multi user path along the west bank of the River Derwent through Darley Park (during 2018) and this will form part of the Cycleway.
It is likely that construction of the full cycleway will be phased with some sections more likely to happen than others at the moment. However, there is a large tourism benefit to having the full Cycleway in place as a tourist destination in its own right.
- 5. Is it just a matter of time or are there certain difficult obstacles to overcome?07.12.15More
A project of this size is never simple and there are a number of obstacles to be overcome including in the areas of:
- Funding. Significant funds are needed to make the route a reality and the current pressure on public spending means obtaining the funding will be a challenge. However, possible sources have been identified and organisations involved have been positive about the attractions of the project.
- Commitment from landowners. A lot of effort has gone into identifying the owners of land that the proposed route will cross. Where possible informal discussions have been held in order to understand, and if possible accommodate, any concerns that the landowners have. In general, most landowners are positive although it is likely that, with a project of this size, there will be some conflict that will need to be resolved.
- Route. Various possible routes have been explored matching the design principles. In some parts of the route, the topology of the land offers few alternative options.
- 6. How far is the Cycleway07.12.15More
The distance between Derby and Matlock is 24.5km (as the crow flies). The length of the draft preferred route is approximately 31.5km (19.5 miles).
North of Matlock is a section of the White Peak Loop (to Rowsley) which is already open to cyclists and walkers. The route would then continue onto the Baslow.
- 7. How long before it opens?20.04.16More
We are approaching the cycleway as 3 separate but related phases with the southern part (Phase I) likely to be justified through the commuting into Derby opportunities and the associated impact on reduced traffic from the north into Derby.
The northern part (Phase II) linking Matlock and Cromford is necessary to complete the White Peak Loop (linking Buxton, Bakewell, Matlock, Cromford) which is a project in progress.
The middle section (Phase III) will join the other 2 portions and deliver the benefits of a complete route with all the associated tourism opportunities.
The first portion from Derby City to Ford Lane in Allestree is anticipated to be complete in 2020. The second part of phase 1 linking Ford Lane with Belper has a target completion between 2022 and 2025.
Phase II is necessary to complete the already in progress White Peak Loop and is anticipated to be complete in 2020-2023
Phase III completion is anticipated as 2025-2027
- 8. How much funding do you need to realise your vision?07.12.15More
We have not yet calculated the full extent of funding needed as this will depend primarily upon how many new bridges we need and how many existing bridges we can use.
The cost of any particular section depends on a number of variables including the current state of the route (e.g. existing track or greenfield), the difficulty in satisfying legal requirements, the surface that is used (e.g. tarmac), the width of the cycleway, etc.
For budgetary purposes we have assumed that construction of a tarmac surfaced track will, on average, cost £200,000 per mile. In addition, legal, drainage and other services is expected to add 30% this basic cost. Each bridge is assumed to cost £500,000.
For the current draft route of 19.5 miles including the need for 4 new bridges, the total budget is thus estimated at £7 million.
- 9. Where will the funding come from?07.12.15More
The Group are investigating various sources for grants including the European Union, the Local Enterprise Partnership and the local councils. Other sources may also be helpful such as Sports England and Landfill Levy distributors.
As the majority of the route is within Derbyshire, the support of the Derbyshire County Council is key and it is likely that funds from various bodies (e.g. the LEP) would be channelled through the Derbyshire County Council accounts.
- 10. Are there any examples of cycleways like the one you propose in any other part of the UK or Europe?07.12.15More
The route along either side of the Danube is different because the river is wider and is navigable so people can cycle and stay overnight on a boat which then moves along to their destination for the next night 30 or 40 km further down. However the similarities are that much of it is a dedicated route off road across fields and where it combines with a lightly trafficked road, the separation is clearly marked and very safe. Along the route there are teashops and cafés and bars and artisan workshops in small museums as well as the odd baroque church and Gothic castle to visit. So it is not all cycling but is partly sightseeing. The comparison with the Derwent Valley Mills world Heritage site is not difficult to make.
- 11. Is the plan that the cycleway will always be close to the Derwent?07.12.15More
The plan is to keep the cycleway on the valley floor to avoid hills so that it is easy for people of all abilities to use. Hence it will never be far away from the river.
Problems with access to the preferred route due to, for example, wildlife considerations or legal land access issues, may require consideration of alternative routes and these may require diversion from the River Derwent. However, the design goal is to have the route follow the course of the river as closely as possible. This has scenic benefits as well as providing for a flat route.
- 12. Have you estimated how many cyclists – along with walkers and wheelchair users – could use the cycleway in a typical day?07.12.15More
Estimating user numbers for a facility that currently does not exist is a difficult exercise. However, figures have been estimated based on existing commuter traffic, expected increases arising from the provision of an attractive route, and comparisons with similar routes elsewhere in Derbyshire. These figures are incorporated into the "Value for Money" study which can be seen here.
In addition, we have received support from many people saying that, although they currently do not cycle into Derby or up the valley, they would use this facility were it to exist. Also that this route would give them the confidence to take their children out on a family outing which currently they do not feel would be a safe activity.
- 13. Will the cycleway be made accessible to horse riders.07.12.15More
Wherever possible the cycleway is to be multi-user, allowing pedestrians, disabled people and those on horseback to use it. Generally the surface which is most suitable for cycles is not suitable for horse riders so the long-term intent would be to identify a Derwent Valley bridleway which would probably not stay close to the valley floor but utilise the ability for horses to ride both up and down hill easily to gain views across the valley.
The Derwent Valley Trust is in the early stages of identifying a possible route for horseriders to complement the existing walking and planning cycling routes.
The Derwent Valley Heritage Way which has already been established by the Derwent Valley Trust is suitable for walkers and may at times coincide with the cycleway but generally provides more interest for the slower movement of walkers by taking a less direct route.
- 14. Once complete, how long will it take to cycle the whole way, and from Belper to Derby?07.12.15More
The time it takes is dependent upon the fitness of the cyclists and the type of bike that they cycle on. The fastest way would still be to cycle down the A6 which sporting cyclists would probably still choose to do within the hour! But we would anticipate that a family with children would take a whole day and probably use the train to return to where they started.
Groups on holiday might take two or three days because they will be visiting the various attractions on the route including Darley Abbey, Milford, Belper, possibly even Crich Tramway Museum, Cromford Mills, Matlock Bath, the Heights of Abraham, and Matlock.
- 15. Are there any plans to establish cycle hire provision at Cromford Mills and/or in Derby so that visitors/tourists can use the cycleway?07.12.15More
There will be cycle hire provision at the Park Bikeworks in Derby, possibly at the Wireworks at Ambergate, certainly at Cromford Mills, and possibly at the station in Matlock.
- 16. Is it the intention to have the cycleway clearly marked as main road cycle routes already are?07.12.15More
The cycleway will mostly be a separate dedicated route either in tarmac or in water bound gravel. For the very short sections (across bridges) where it follows a road it will be clearly marked if not protected by a barrier. It will be clearly signposted at every junction along the route and also include health and safety signs regarding good conduct in the presence of pedestrians and horses.
It is expected that it will form part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.
- 17. Where can I get more information?07.12.15More
Interested people can sign up for the newsletter by visiting the website and completing their details (follow the link to "interested in the project").
- 18. Do you have support from the local councils?22.05.16More
Contact has been made with all the local government bodies responsible for the areas that the planned route will cross or run close to. This includes the Derby and Derbyshire councils, Borough Councils on the route and all the interested Parish Councils. Most of the bodies contacted have already provided expressions of support with the remainder in the process of considering their position and likely to provide support in the near future.
The Working Group driving the creation of the cycleway are working closely with Derby City Council and the local D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) on facilitating an initial phase of the Derwent Valley Cycleway between the city centre and A38 as part of the Our City Our River flood alleviation initiative. This initial phase (called Super Connected Cycling) is part of a wider LEP programme of projects seeking to improve the attractiveness of Derby for cyclists and provide direct routes through the city connecting the Derby travel to work area (which includes Belper and Duffield) to Infinity Park Derby, one of the LEP’s primary employment projects.
- 19. Who is involved in making this happen?07.12.15More
A Derwent Valley Cycleway Working Group has been set up by the Derwent Valley Trust (A charitable trust that established the Heritage Way walking route along the whole length of the Derwent Valley).
The Group, amongst others, includes representatives of:
- local councils
- Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site
- local cycling organisations
- local businesses
In addition, a great effort has been made to keep interested organisations informed of progress and to gain their support for the project.
- 20. Will the cycleway be made accessible to wheelchair users07.12.15More
Wherever possible the cycleway is to be multi-user, allowing pedestrians, and disabled people to use it.
Accordingly, the infrastructure (e.g. gateways) will be designed to be accessible to all types of users including wheelchair users.
- 21. How does the Cycleway integrate with the railways22.05.16More
The route of the cycleway links with a number of railways including the Midland Mainline between Derby and Sheffield, the branch line service from Derby to Matlock, the Ecclesbourne railway between Duffield and Wirksworth, and the Peak Rail service from Matlock.
It is envisaged that there will be scope for the railway companies to offer combined cycle/train tickets (e.g. cycle one way and return by train) and discussions with Ecclesbourne Valley Railway have been very positive.
Midland Mainline are working on a programme of cycle hire centres at their stations and the route will allow for easy travel between the stations along the valley.
A further benefit of the cycleway is that it will link to existing National Rail and private train networks and will allow for combined cycle/train journeys to be undertaken in preference to use of cars. Our proposal will provide much needed cycle accessibility improvements linking directly to the proposals to implement HS2 through the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire region.
- 22. Why put a Cycleway in the Derwent Valley07.12.15More
- 23. What about using the Cycleway for commuting22.05.16More
Belper lies just beyond 10km from Derby which is an attractive distance for a regular commute.
The cycleway will provide an alternative route to the currently heavily used A6 which, in many places is not suitable for cycling and is particularly unattractive for family and less confident cyclists. The design goal for the cycleway is for it to be suitable for use by an 8 year old. Providing such a route would greatly increase cycle and walking traffic as well as taking the existing traffic away from the busy roads and thus reducing injuries and fatalities.
- 24. How does the Cycleway link with the Peak District national park23.05.16More
The cycleway would allow cycling to be a popular alternative method of accessing the Peak District thereby reducing the motor traffic into the Peak District. In addition, the cycleway, and the links to existing cycle routes, would provide for the growth of cycle tourism and the associated commercial activity (accommodation, cycle hire, cafes).
The route encompasses part of the White Peak Loop which links Buxton, Bakewell, Matlock and Cromford. Creation of the Derwent Valley Cycleway would allow for trips from Derby to Buxton and other points in the Peak District.
- 25. What about the Derbyshire Cycling Plan23.05.16More
The Derbyshire Cycling Plan (http://www.derbyshiresport.co.uk/derbyshirecyclingplan) includes the ambition for Derbyshire to be the “most connected and integrated county for cycling in England, recognised as a world class cycling destination for all. More people of all ages and abilities will be cycling regularly for leisure, active travel, commuting and sport.” Four strategic aims are identified in the plan including “Infrastructure Connectivity: High quality connected routes, in all cycling environments, supporting all forms of cycling, creating and supporting economic growth.” The Derwent Valley Cycleway is key to successful delivery of the plan.
In early 2018, Derbyshire County Council initiated a review of the Key Cycle Network for Derbyshire which considered possible routes and set priorities for implementation. A large amount of detail demonstrating the importance of the Derwent Valley Cycleway has been provided to this exercise. A summary report can be seen here.