Whaley Bridge celebrated a day 40 years in coming: the official opening of the Shallcross Incline Greenway. Dorothy Shuker, whose late husband George gifted a piece of land from his farm to allow the completion of the greenway at its summit, cut the ribbons to announce to the world: Come and use the greenway for walking, riding a horse, running, riding a bike, using an invalid scooter, but never, never riding a motorbike or driving a car. The access is designed to stop cars and especially motorbikes.
Derbyshire county council chairman George Wharmby from Glossop, High Peak mayor David Lomax from Whaley Bridge, and Whaley town council chairman Jon Goldfinch were all present to celebrate a ‘green letter’ day. George Wharmby’s wife Jean, also a county councillor and cabinet member for roads and transport, was also present. John Swift, local councillor and churchwarden, who gave the green dream a kickstart in 2011, leading to planning permission for the project, said a prayer at the start of the ceremony.
Even as the speeches were being made and the cameras flashing, a walker came down the incline from the Shallcross estate, unaware of the crowd of VIPs around the entrance.
Jon Goldfinch spoke with great warmth at the successful conclusion to dreams and efforts over the years that changed the decrepit route of the historic Cromford and High Peak railway into the greenway. His speech was a lesson in local history, as well as a celebration.
After the opening, there were refreshments at Cromford Court, sheltered accommodation for many local people, which was built on the site of the original railway and the later goods yard, that only closed in 1965.
An edited version of Jon Goldfinch’s speech can be seen at Link