One of Derbyshire Dales premium tourist attractions is the preserved railway line which operates steam and heritage diesel transport on the former main line north from Matlock over three and a half miles of track to just south of Rowsley.
Running alongside this track is a footpath used by many walkers. From Matlock it first runs alongside the west bank of the River Derwent and then through countryside to the west of the A6, past The Whitworth Institute and Darley Dale to the site of the former Rowsley railway station.
During the recent Covid epidemic which had such devastating consequences for all of us this footpath was a constant haven for many local walkers and families looking for easy and quick exercise away from built-up areas throughout the changing seasons.
Amongst the many taking advantage of the footpath were members and friends of Matlock Rotary. Comparing notes it became apparent that along its length there was no seat or resting place anywhere along its length. From this point we held discussions with Derbyshire County Council and Peak Rail, who were both in agreement with our suggestion that we could provide a seat approximately halfway along the path.
The base of a former trackside hut was identified as a suitable site, where with a seat people could rest and take in the beauty of the countryside.
Discussions were held with TDP of Wirksworth, who manufacture outdoor furniture from recycled plastic waste, generated entirely from the United Kingdom and a suitable seat was ordered.
Having ordered the seat the next problem was its siting, there was no access for vehicle delivery, the seat was too heavy and awkward to be carried, even taking the seat close to the site by rail was problematical in that lifting the seat from a flatbed rail cart, over a fence, brought its own problems. Peak Rail came up with the solution where the seat was lifted onto the flatbed by a pneumatic crane with a six metre jib extension which allowed it to be sited from the rail track.
The seat is now in place and in use. A plaque on the seat reads: "This seat is dedicated to those affected by Covid-19”.
Thanks to all those that helped us in the provision of this seat – if you would like further information on this project or Matlock Rotary please contact us through: terry. matlockrotary@gmail. com