Derby - Darley Abbey Part 1
w/e 13 April 2008
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

This is the first of three parts following a walk around the Darley Fields/Darley Abbey area of Derby. Information about the area is available in leaflets and on the internet detailing similar but slightly different walks from various starting points around the area but for our part we'll start and finish at the Derby Rugby Club on Haslam's Lane and use paths on both sides of the River Derwent.

Rugby Pitches

Our route first of all takes us out of the Rugby Club and down Folly Road to the Folly Road bridge where there is a good view back to the rugby pitches.
Folly Road Footbridge

The name "Folly" came about because a water mill was built in the late seventeenth century to the right of this view of the bridge. Unfortunately the Boar's Head Mill further upstream had first call on the water and there was insufficient flow here to operate the mill. The owner sold the building to the proprietor of the Boar's Head Mill, a Mr. Thomas Evans, who converted it into three dwellings for his workers. A wooden footbridge shown on old maps was replaced with a concrete and steel one but erosion affected the foundations and caused its closure. This more recent construction leads to the Darley Playing Fields from Folly Road.
Avenue of Trees

River Bank PathThe path now follows an avenue of Alder and Sycamore trees at the side of the River Derwent on its journey south and we follow it as far as a totem pole-like structure (left) where we take the right hand footpath away from the trees to continue along the river bank. The last time I featured Darley Playing Fields (to the left of this picture) on this site was in May 2006 and at that time the trees were in full leaf. I commented then that the avenue looked "so different but I can only assume that is because all of my previous visits were during the winter months." This picture above, although we are approaching it from the opposite end, is much more like the mental picture I recalled in 2006.
The Opposite Bank

There are plenty of pleasant views across the river to the parkland that is Darley Abbey Park on the other bank but this is perhaps one of the most striking where a balustrade has been erected as a safety feature following (I believe) the installation of an overflow pipe a few years ago. Before proceeding to the next picture below you may like to refer back to the previous page about Darley (click here) for our route passes many of the features seen there including the tennis courts, bowling green, wooded area and cricket ground at Parker's Piece.
Derby Rowing Club

Handyside's BridgeThe path eventually reaches the southernmost point of our walk just beyond the cricket ground at Handyside's Bridge (left). This was built in 1878 by Andrew Handyside at the nearby Britannia Foundry and it carried the Great Northern Railway branch line from Nottingham Victoria to Egginton Junction until its closure in 1968. It is but a short walk south from here on the western side of the Derwent into the city centre but our route is in the opposite direction. And it is looking to the north from the bridge that we see the building on the left that is the home of the Derby Rowing Club.

Back in 2006 I wrote that I saw neither rowers nor cricketers but on this occasion, groundsmen were preparing the cricket pitch for the forthcoming season and a couple of rowers pulled out from the Rowing Club and headed off upstream. With the benefit of the zoom lens this image was also captured from Handyside's Bridge.
Leaving The Bridge

As we leave the bridge, a signpost indicates the way to the city centre and the path ahead forks to the left and right. As already indicated our route is to the right where we will follow a track known as Darley Grove.
Darley Grove

A notice at the end of Darley Grove states that it is unsuitable for motor vehicles but a number of garages are built into the hillside which suggests that at least some vehicles travel along here.
Forward to Part 02

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