Derbyshire County Council, in conjunction with Whaley Bride Town Council, will start work early in January to create a ‘greenway’ on the Shallcross Incline, one of Whaley Bridge’s most significant historical sites. It will open up a safe route for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and children walking to school.
Shallcross Incline, running from New Road and Cromford Court to the Elnor Lane/Shallcross Road area, was once part of the Cromford and High Peak Railway, one of the earliest in the High Peak.
The narrow incline has been abandoned for many years, though back in the 70s it was tidied up and used occasionally by walkers. Now it is heavily overgrown.
In a letter to local houseowners, Wayne Bexton, greenways and countryside officer at the county council, says the improvement work will start early in the new year. There will be a stone surface, creating ‘an excellent local facility’.
Whaley Bridge Town Council instigated the £40,000 project, which is part of a wider vision, eventually linking up a route for cyclists and walkers the entire distance between Whaley Bridge and Cromford, near Matlock.
Town clerk Stephanie Raybould said: “We are very pleased the project is going ahead. We hope to have information boards telling some of the railway history.”
The dream of the canal developers in the early 19th century was to link the North West and the Midlands – the canal basin at Whaley Bridge and the cotton mills at Cromford. The original hope was to continue a waterway over the Peak, at the 1,00ft contour. Lack of water, then money ended that dream. The Cromford and High Peak Railway became the option. It used a series of stationary steam engines to haul wagons up and down the inclined planes, including the other incline, just beyond the canal basin and now a public footpath. The company was incorporated in 1825.