Ken Brockway, Footpath Inspector
This article is from Signpost 62, Spring 2020
The Derby Nomad Way is a circular walk of 50 miles around the City of Derby. It was created in 2010 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Derby Nomad Ramblers Club see http://derbynomads.co.uk/dnway.html. A gpx file of the route can be found at https://walkingenglishman.com/ldp/derbynomadway.html
It's great to get out on the wild hills but how to get there? While PNFS do their bit to access the countryside by train starting walks at the station. Others take the easy option of the car and are forced to start and end at a car park. The Derby Nomad Way is well planned for linear sections with a good choice of bus services radiating from the city centre. The least frequent service is one an hour and the best every ten minutes so it might be advantageous to walk some sections in reverse.
Our walks at the end of 2019 were during or after some very heavy rain. There was a lot of mud. Now this is not a complaint to the route planners it's a gripe to 'the powers that be'. On the east side especially the paths are very heavily used and I was reminded of music festivals where the grass is lost in a sea of mud. In days gone by, road users had to tolerate similar conditions but for motor vehicles things have improved. We are frequently being urged to walk for health and to save car journeys but this muddy morass is unlikely to encourage a change. The walk is well waymarked, for the guide book clockwise direction, it would would have been a simple addition to add waymarks in the opposite direction.
Where Derbyshire County Council have installed a bridge it is of a very high standard and generally water courses are bridged. Public funds well spent but where DCC fall down to my mind is there failure to encourage or require a higher standard of boundary crossing. I very much like the traditional squeeze stiles but even these may need maintenance where ground movement leans the stones so that even the legs of Lowry people would not pass through with convenience. Stiles to climb are another failing with little evidence that H&S is a high priority, dare I say more claims for falls might change things.
Submit a report about a cross field path in autumn and you are taken to be a crank. But study the HA sec.134, reinstatement starts here, making good the surface to the minimum width and indicating the line on the ground. It's not the task of path users to tramp a line across the field. Finally, for now at least. Study of the map shows that in places the Nomads had no choice to wander freely. The A38 south of Derby is like the Berlin Wall for walkers. Paths meet the road with no provision for safe access to paths on the opposite side, barriers for the protection of motorists prevent convenient and safe crossing if one were brave enough to find a gap in the endless traffic.
Having had a moan I admire the Derby Nomads for creating this walk which I enjoyed and accomplished by bus from home. I especially enjoyed the more remote and neglected west section.
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