Derbyshire aims to be the UK’s most connected cycling county but the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Derbyshire (and in the East Midlands) has totally inadequate cycling provision
England has only 18 sites inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Derbyshire is honoured to be the location of one of them, the Derwent Valley Mills, which is recognised for the birth of the factory system and as the first location worldwide to see large scale industrial activity in a rural landscape.
The Derwent Valley Mills Heritage Site is 15 miles from end to end and cycling would offer an excellent and sustainable way for visitors to travel between the various attractions. However, uniquely amongst the English World Heritage Sites, the facilities for cycling are totally inadequate.
The Derbyshire Cycle Plan, supported by Derbyshire County Council, declares that they want Derbyshire to be the “most connected cycling county in England”. Until there is cycle access throughout the only World Heritage Site in the East Midlands that goal is unachievable.
The National Cycle Network has good connections to Derby at the southern end of the Heritage Site, the High Peak Trail (NCN 54) terminates near Cromford and there is a new route north from Matlock (NCN 680). However, apart from Darley Park at the southern end, there is no National Cycle Network within the World Heritage Site.
The Derwent Valley Trust is calling for a high quality traffic free cycleway to be built through the World Heritage Site to enable Derbyshire to deliver on its “most connected cycling county” goal and for all the commuting and tourism benefits that the route would provide. The economic case for the route is already established and shows a Very Good 4.8:1 return on investment.
Surely the UK Government would want to demonstrate their commitment to cycle travel by providing good quality access to, and through, all the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country? And, surely Derbyshire won’t be able to claim to be the most connected cycling county when the only English World Heritage Site without good cycling provision is within Derbyshire?
The Derby Telegraph report on an analysis of accident statistics collected by the Dept for Transport in 2017 and just released. This shows that the A6 has the most accidents across all the roads in the county of Derbyshire (including motorways).
The paper also reports on the sad death of a motorcyclist as a result of a collision on the A6 between Allestree and Duffield this week.
Surely cyclists shouldn’t have to ride on the “most dangerous road in Derbyshire” in order to get around the Derwent Valley? Let’s see the off road Derwent Valley Cycleway prioritised and built as soon as possible.
The Government is currently collecting feedback on how they should replace the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments to farmers. This is a great opportunity to press for incentives to allow better access to farmland and the creation of cycleways, etc.
Providing these incentives would have a great impact on the ease of creating the Derwent Valley Cycleway and you’re encouraged to add your support to the Cycling UK demands.
For more information and to add your support see here
Derby City Council commissioned a study (by Amion) on the benefits of the Derby to Matlock Derwent Valley Cycleway which concludes that investment in the cycleway would provide “Very High” 4.8:1 benefits from any investment. The majority of the returns would be from the impact of the cycleway on commuting journey quality although there would also be other economic benefits from health improvements and employment. The study uses modelling approaches as recommended by the DfT.
The full study can be downloaded here. This includes the conclusion that “… represents “Very High” value for money, and fits well with recently-approved D2N2 cycling projects.”
Derbyshire County Council are currently reviewing their proposed key cycle network and deciding on priorities for investment. This report is a very powerful argument for including the Derwent Valley Cycleway as a high priority project within this plan.
The Derby City Planning Control Committee have approved the plans for the multi-user path from Derby Rowing club to Darley Abbey (The Abbey pub) by 6 votes to 3.
Excellent news for the Derwent Valley Cycleway as this new path will link with the Cycleway and provide sustainable travel access into the park. It will also create an superb facility for youngsters, scooter riders, old people, people with disabilities, etc. to do circular tours along both sides of the Derwent (through Darley Fields, through the mill, and back through Darley Park and over Handyside Bridge).
Well done to all those who supported the proposals and made their views known to the decision makers. Also well done for the City Councillors on the planning committee who could see the huge benefits that the path will provide.
After a long delay sorting out issues of crossing the Peak Rail railway line, the route from Matlock to Rowsley is now officially open. This is part of the White Peak Loop and will form part of the Matlock to Baslow Derwent Valley Cycleway.
The picture shows the final link over the railway line near the Arc Leisure Centre in Matlock.
Great bit of route well built by Derbyshire County Council.
As part of the response to the Derbyshire Key Cycle Network consultation, we’ve created a document laying out the arguments (and supporting data) for the Derwent Valley Cycleway. This document shows how strong the benefits from creating the cycleway are, and, we believe, makes the overwhelmingly argument for including the Cycleway as a priority in the Key Cycle Network.
Strava is a website and mobile app used to track athletic activity with a particular focus on cycling. Cyclists can make use of various GPS devices (including their smart phones) to track their cycle routes with additional information calculated such as average speed, etc.
The routes recorded by users are uploaded to Strava’s website and are used to compare times for particular routes with other athletes. The app is used by serious athletes and by commuting and leisure cyclists.
With the data available on the Strava website, it is possible to aggregate the routes to explore the most commonly used routes in a particular area. This information has been made freely available here. Lines are drawn to show the number of journeys on each route with red showing the most heavily used roads with blue showing less used routes (zoom in to see detail). The intensity of the red colour gives an indication of the number of cyclists with the most red being the most heavily used routes.
The 2017 release of data (restricted to include cyclists only) has been used to create the map showing how cyclists along the Derwent Valley are forced to use the A6 between Belper and Derby due to the lack of suitable alternatives.It is obvious that north south cycling journeys need to use the A6 with occasional usage of routes such as Duffield Bank/Eaton Bank (which are also unsuitable routes due to their narrowness).
In comparison, the second map shows the excellent Riverside path from Derby past Pride Park to Raynesway and the A6 south of Derby. It can be seen that, with the provision of a suitable route for cyclists, a large amount of the cycle traffic that previously used the road (e.g. A6) can be transferred to the traffic free route (e.g. Riverside path).
It is clear that the provision of a route of similar quality to the Riverside path north of Derby would allow for most of the cycle traffic on the A6 to migrate to the new, much more suitable traffic free route (i.e. the proposed Derwent Valley Cycleway).
Whilst the results are compelling, the actual requirement for the Derwent Valley Cycleway is probably even more clear as the Strava data only includes information on trips actually taken by cyclists using the Strava app. Therefore, no data is collected on cyclists who would have wished to undertake a particular trip by bike but were prevented from doing so by, for instance, the level of traffic on the available routes.
The Strava app tends to be used by more frequent and sporting cyclists so those cyclists making occasional leisure trips may not be represented in the data. Including these riders would further strengthen the message.
Thanks to Steve Adams for the following article about “The Derwent Valley Cycleway”.
We are so lucky to live in the Derwent Valley. We have beautiful scenery on our doorstep, a wealth of fascinating historical features, and excellent public transport. So why do we need a cycleway in the Derwent Valley?
Actually the more appropriate question is: why isn’t there one already? The Derwent Valley is a much used tourist area, close to population centres in all directions. The valley from Cromford southwards is a World Heritage Site incorporating the mills at Cromford, Belper, Milford and Derby, which were of major significance in the birth of the industrial revolution. The valley is wide enough to accommodate the Cromford canal, the railway line from Derby to Matlock, and the A6 trunk road, as well as the river itself, and there is still sufficient space for a cycleway.
The Derwent Valley already attracts cycling clubs and sports cyclists, who can be found speeding along the A6 or enjoying hill climbing on lanes up the valley sides. What the valley does not cater for is the occasional cyclist at one extreme and the commuter cyclist at the other, nor is it a safe or appealing route for cycling families. If the number and range of cyclists could be increased, it would open up all sorts of commercial opportunities to support the tourist demand, like bed and breakfast, cafés, and bike hire. The many tourist attractions would benefit too by increased numbers of visitors and less congestion from motor vehicles.