I have been to Derby many times over the years that I’ve lived in England. However, I’ve only really been to the city centre for shopping, and, obviously, the railway station to change trains many times. I had a look on Google Maps to see what else there is to explore in Derby, and I planned a trip that would take me past Derby County’s Pride Park Stadium, a walk by the riverside, and then on to Derby Arboretum.
Derby railway station has two exits, one to the city centre and another one on the opposite side of the station which leads to Pride Park, an industrial and leisure park developed in the 1990s on a former derelict industrial site which was cleaned up. I had a walk past Pride Park Stadium, the home of local English Football League Championship club Derby County since 1997, when they moved from The Baseball Ground. There is a statue of Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, the management team who led Derby County and fierce rivals Nottingham Forest to unprecedented success in the 1970s and 80s.
I walked on to the path by the riverside which leads to Alvaston Park. The park was opened to the public in 1913, a gift to the city of Derby from William Curzon of Breedon Hall. There is a giant lake in the middle of the park which has a perimeter path around it and also is popular with anglers. It’s a pleasant open space, with a children’s play area and a café, which is still open for business in these times of the you-know-what virus.
I’ve always meant to visit Derby Arboretum, but never got around to it. While I was planning this trip, I found that it was about a half-hour walk from Alvaston Park.
Derby Arboretum is regarded as the world’s first public park. It was opened in 1840 and donated to the city by Joseph Strutt, who was a businessman and the son of Jedediah Strutt, who built cotton mills in Belper. It’s thought that elements of the park were incorporated into the design of Central Park by Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed the iconic New York park.
For some reason, possibly because it’s not the summer season any more, a lot of the arboretum’s gates were locked, and only a small part of the park was available to look around. The fountain in the pictures was installed in 1846 and designed by Andrew Handyside, who also designed and built the Friargate Bridge elsewhere in the city. The fountain was apparently restored recently, but it looks like it needs restoring again. It wasn’t working, and there is a lot of green water in there, along with litter.
The park has many facilities including a children’s play area, a café and sports pitches. From the Arboretum, I walked into the city centre for some shopping, before walking back to Derby station and catching the train back to Burton.
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