Derwent Classic

derwent.jpgThis is a very popular early season Div. B race that provides a long but interesting course. The start is located adjacent to the car park of the Square and Compass at Darley Bridge north of Matlock and finishes down stream immediately below the slalom course at Matlock Bath. The course length is 7 km. The Derwent has unrestricted access from Artist's Corner car park to the bottom of the slalom course (the Derwent Dash course), access for the race section is only granted for the race and other sections have no access.


The start is on flat, moving water and passes below the road bridge and passes over shallows before becoming a sluggish meandering river. The first railway bridge collects debris on the pillars and this can cause serious restrictions and should be inspected, this can be done from the A6 as can all the critical points of the route. After a short while you approach Matlock and the road bridge. There are three arches, the far right is too shallow and should not be taken, the centre arch is possible but is guarded below by rocks, the left arch provides the easiest line. Again debris collects and causes restrictions, inspect before paddling. Immediately below the bridge is a drop before becoming flat and meandering again. The second rail bridge can be taken on either side and the main flow does change so inspect and take your pick.

As you approach Artist's Corner the river speeds up as it falls over a slight shelf in the river bed and dependent upon water levels there is another small drop at the steps of the car park. The current cuts to the right as you sweep around the final main bend and again another slight increase in current speed as it goes over another slight shelf. There are two rocks in the centre of the river and shortly after you approach the steps at the top of the slalom course. The current is mainly right of centre as its speeds up over the first shelf and quickly past "Killer" the main rock in the centre of the river. A short flat section awaits before the next rapids which provides a series of waves, keeping slightly right avoids the worse of these. The finish is at the bottom with steps to exit on the right, on race days the exit is on the opposite side with access through the colour works yard - please don't use this at other times.

From the south - join the A6 and follow signs for Matlock then for Bakewell. On reaching Darley Dale turn left to Darley Bridge immediately after passing the pedestrian crossing. Continue on this road until you see the pub The Square and Compass, the start is in the car park opposite the pub.

From the north - Follow signs for the A6 Matlock and Derby. On reaching Darley Bridge turn right to Darley Bridge immediately before the pedestrian crossing. Continue on this road until you see the pub The Square and Compass, the race start is in the car park opposite the pub.

The finish is located to the south to get there, retrace your steps to the A6 and turn towards Matlock. Enter the town and at the roundabout turn right, this will take you across Matlock Bridge. Continue down the A6, the finish is located at the bottom of the slalom site, parking is available in two lay-bys on the left (please do not obstruct the foot path), on the road on the right or continue into Matlock Bath and there is a car park on the left near to the egress point.
DO NOT under any circumstances park in restricted areas.

Dave Radmore