Welcome to Belper, a key community within the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. It was here that Jedediah Strutt and his sons began their cotton mill business in 1776, and by building and buying homes and facilities for their workers created one of the world’s first industrial communities.
To encourage families to move into Belper and work in their mills, the Strutts built housing for their workers, close to the mills. Nearly all these houses have survived and are still much sought after today. Close by is the mile-long stone-lined railway cutting which has cut through the town since 1838.
The Strutt family were benefactors to Belper and Milford for two centuries, providing for the workers’ needs and there are still many buildings to be seen in the town which were built for the people by the Strutts.
Another great gift to the town was the River Gardens, created and given by George Herbert Strutt in 1906. This water garden by the Derwent still hosts band concerts on alternate Sunday afternoons in the summer. The importance of the Belper mills and their historic industrial neighbours at Cromford, Darley Abbey and Derby was reflected by the World Heritage Site status given to the Derwent Valley Mills in December 2001.
Belper is also within the National Heritage CorridorTM. This leaflet offers a short walk looking at some of the most significant buildings near to the Strutt mills.
The starting point is the Derwent Valley Visitor Centre reception, inside Strutt’s North Mill.
During your walk you will see the interpretation board on the railway bridge in Long Row, which will tell you more about this industrial community, and show you how it has changed in the past two centuries
Map & Directions
On the A6 midway between Buxton to the north and Matlock to the south.