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Whitworth Park

A family day out

Just 10 miles from Crich there is a lovely �hidden� place for a family outing � Whitworth Park at Darley Dale on the A6.

  • Large open grass areas for ball game and picnics.
  • Young children�s safe contained play area with play equipment.
  • Area with older children�s play equipment.
  • Skateboard area.
  • Wide level paths for cycling (or learning to cycle)
  • Tree sculptures
  • Toilets
  • Best of all - usually very quiet!

Opposite is a small General Store selling ice-creams and snacks. On the park site is the Whitworth Hotel bar and restaurant. Nearby attractions which could be included in the visit are:

  • Peak village shopping outlet at Rowsley which has over 26 outlets and Toys of Yesteryear Museum and Toyshop 01629 732111
  • Peak Rail steam train which runs from Rowsley to Matlock 01629 580381 (
  • Both Haddon Hall and Chatsworth are close by.

Whitworth Park provides over ten acres of superbly landscaped grounds with pleasant walks along tranquil tree-lined avenues and a picturesque shallow lake, water features with an ornamental rustic wooden bridge, and an abundance of rare and mature trees which stand stately and proud beside the pathways throughout the park.

It provides for a wealth of sporting activities with soccer and cricket pitches, a Bowling Green for Crown Green Bowls and now also provides a new state-of-the-art, purpose-built Skateboard Arena, built following consultation with local skateboarding clubs and experts, and the only one of it's kind in Derbyshire.

An innovative and extensive new children's play area has been provided with an exciting array of modern and traditional equipment, and with special attention given to safety features including user-friendly partitions and special seating areas for supervising adults.

The park is designed with practicality in mind but is aesthetically pleasing too - a veritable oasis of peace and tranquility beside the busy A6 - and the children's play area combines a series of wood sculptures with themed play equipment, whilst the amazing wood-carving talents of artist Andrew Frost can be seen throughout the park, with sculptures of birds, squirrels and foxes superbly worked into the trunks of trees and adding a final artistic touch to the restoration and subsequent renaissance of the fine Victorian Park which graces the very heart of Darley Dale alongside the Joseph Whitworth Centre.

image of Joseph WhitworthJoseph Whitworth (1804-1887), was an engineer and inventor. His first job was as an apprentice mechanic in his uncle's cotton mill at Ambergate. Despite derision from many manufacturers, he was determined to improve on the shoddy technology of the day. 'You tell me it can't be done' he told them, But I give you these three words, 'Let us try', which became his motto.

His big breakthrough was the famous Whitworth thread to standardised nuts and bolts across the globe. Machinery made in one country could now be repaired in another.

Whitworth's factories expanded producing everything from nuts and bolts to guns. When he died in 1887 at the age of 83 he left an estate worth �150 million by today's standard. In his will he bequeathed most of his fortune to provide educational and community facilities.

The Whitworth Institute was built and opened in 1890, three years after his death, mainly through the efforts of his second wife Louisa. It contained Britain�s first heated indoor swimming pool, an Assembly Hall, library, various reading and committee rooms, a museum of natural history, and a landscaped park complete with recreational areas and a conservatory. Louisa was also responsible for the Whitworth Hospital.

Whitworth Park: A Small Boy at War by greenaway

WW2 Peoples War BBC Site

My first experience of what I thought of as a real soldiers came immediately after the fall of Dunkirk. In the centre of Darley Dale there is the Whitworth Institute, given to the village by Lady Whitworth in memory of her husband Sir Joseph, the eminent Victorian engineer. It is a large stone building incorporating a Hotel and set in an extensive park. A large contingent of the British Expeditionary Force camped out here after the evacuation. Badly shocked, they wandered around the area at something of a loss and my grandfather invited four of them to come in for a cup of tea. This was the first of daily visits for something like the next six weeks or so. Apparently they readily admitted to being frightened to death by the Stuka dive bombers and one of them, who rarely spoke, was suffering from what today we would call post traumatic stress disorder.

The Whitworth Institute became a driver training school for the Royal Army Service Corps. Initially new recruits were confined to the park where they did untold damage to the trees & walls despite the white lines painted down the �roads�. Later, they took to the public roads. The narrow Derbyshire lanes were for ever crowded with slow moving convoys going absolutely nowhere. I was greatly intrigued by some of the trucks that had dual control - presumably for the more erratic pupils. The commanding officer at the Institute earned national notoriety for requiring soldiers to address officers with the greeting �Hi di Hi� to which the reply was �Ho di Ho�. Once it reached the tabloid press, this nonsense was rapidly banned.