River Derwent in Derbyshire

River Derwent in Derbyshire

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River Licensing Information

Licence Required?

No licence required

Grade: 1-3

The River Derwent in Derbyshire is a beautifully scenic river cutting right through the heart of the Peak District.

It drops down through the World Heritage site of the Derwent Valley, through Matlock and Cromford. From here it flows through to Derby before joining the River Trent further downstream.

There are several sections of this river to take note of. Much of the river running grade 2-3 sections make excellent sections if you’re looking for a peaceful paddle.

Graded Sections and Weirs on the River Derwent

The first section of the River Derwent to take note of is the 7 mile stretch from Bamford to Calver. There are a great set of playwaves here with a grade 3 to finish the run.

Calver Weir and Calver Mill rapid require careful inspection by paddlers before running this section. Especially as the weir tends to gather trees.

The next stretch of significance is the Darley Dale to Matlock stretch. This section, particularly below Matlock towards the slalom course, is a great place for white water novices to practice their skills. It is mainly grade 2 with the odd grade 1 section.

Remnants of the river’s industrial past are evident in the many weirs below Matlock (at Cromford, Whatstandwell, Ambergate, Belper, and Milford). To date, Whatstandwell weir is the only one with a designated portage for paddlers.

Milford to Darley Abbey is the next stretch of the River Derwent at around 7 miles. Again there are several weirs on this section and paddlers must ensure they have checked river levels and inspected weirs before they run this section.

Darley Abbey is a great spot to journey from. Again historic mills and a grand, easy angled weir make for a picturesque spot. From here it is approximately 12 miles to the confluence with the River Trent consisting of easy grade 1 and 2 rapids with weirs. Portages at Raynesway and Borrowash can be tricky. The weir at Derby City also should be portaged.