Belper is a town in the Amber Valley of Derbyshire, 7 miles north of Derby, with a population in 2011 of 21,823. It's been industrial since medieval times, thanks to nearby deposits of ironstone, made into nails and other ironware. It also became a textile town and its mills are part of the UNESCO Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. It's by no means picturesque but it's close to attractive countryside in the Peak District west and north.
Belper is on the mainline between Derby and Chesterfield/Sheffield, although it is only served by one main line train per weekday. It is also served by the Derwent Valley line between Nottingham, Derby and Matlock. Trains run roughly every hour - see www.thetrainline.com for timetable details. The station is unmanned but you must buy tickets from the machine on the Derby bound platform to any destination. (If you join at a station like Derby with a booking office you must buy your ticket beforehand.)
There are regular bus services to Derby, Nottingham, Manchester (a long but beautiful journey on TransPeak) and other local towns. For Ashbourne, change at Derby or take the less frequent direct service; for Nottingham, change at Derby.
By car or cycle
Belper is on the A6 and close to the A38. Major roads lead to Chesterfield, Nottingham, Derby, Matlock and Ashbourne.
Shanksie's pony is fine for the main part of town, but pack an extra bottle of pop if you're pushing a buggy or wheelchair from the river to St John's Chapel (especially if you go up Long Row - it's steep and cobbled). Park in the Derwent Street or Coppice car parks (free), Bridge Street, Field Lane and the River Gardens (all pay and display). Some on-street parking is also available.
- 1 Belper North Mill, Bridgefoot, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. This is one of the oldest surviving cotton mills in the world, a world heritage site and well worth a visit. A walking tour round Belper is sometimes available from here taking you through the Cluster housing, past a nailmaker's workshop, along the jittys (aka gennels, channels, alleys, snickets, passageways) up to St John's Chapel (13th century) and finishing in one of the 30 or so pubs within a short walk. The North Mill website has a printable guide to the walk.
- Beth's Poetry Trail. Installations of poems throughout the town and is a memorial to Beth Fender, the founder of Belper's two poetry groups.
- A number of other walks also exist around the town.
- 2 The River Gardens. Pleasant, especially on Sunday afternoons in summer when free concerts are on.
- 3 Great British Car Journey, Derwent Works, Ambergate, DE56 2HE (3.5 miles North of Belper), ☏ , email@example.com. Adults £15, Children £7.
- 1 The Ritz, 76B King Street, ☏ . An independent one-screen cinema opened in late 2006.
- 2 Belper Meadows Community Sports Centre, Christchurch Meadows DE56 IBA, firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are Iceland, Morrisons and Co-op grocery shops within walking distance of town, and several sandwich and cake shops for a quick snack.
- 1 Fresh Basil, 23 Strutt Street, ☏ . A fantastic deli for breakfast and lunch.
- 2 Bengal Blues, 4 Market Head (near marketplace), ☏ . Good Indian food.
- 3 Maharaja, 17-18 Market Place, ☏ . Good Indian food.
- 4 Elachi, 84 Bridge St (A6 opposite library). Good Indian food.
- 5 River Gardens, 134 Bridge Street (bottom of Long Row), ☏ . Good for Chinese.
- 6 New Ming Court, 22 Campbell Street (up from Morrisons roundabout), ☏ . Good for Chinese.
- 7 George's, 18 Bridge Street (on the A6 next to the garage), ☏ . Excellent fish and chips.
Belper is home to over 30 pubs.
- 1 The Lion Hotel, 24 Bridge Street, ☏ . 22 rooms from around £100 per night.
- 2 Makeney Hall Hotel, Makeney Road, Milford, ☏ . 40 room around £50 pppn.
- 3 Dannah Farm, Bowman's Lane, Shottle, Belper DE56 2DR, ☏ . Upscale B&B with 8 rooms on a farm in the Derbyshire Dales. B&B double £170.
- Lots of self-catering holiday cottages in and around town.
|Routes through Belper|
|Matlock and the Peak District ← Cromford ←||N S||→ Derby|