Living in Belper
What is life like in Belper?
Belper is a peaceful and attractive market town positioned in the heart of the Derwent Valley in Derbyshire. It is about eight miles north of the city of Derby and is close to both the River Derwent and the main A6 trunk road, making travelling in the region easy.
There is plenty of high-quality housing available, making the town a popular choice among all types of people.
The famous East Mill, originally constructed in 1912, dominates Belper’s skyline. This seven-storey structure is made from red brick and is a popular local landmark.
Just below the mill is the River Derwent and a magnificent stone bridge that dates back to 1795, providing an insight into the beauty of the town in past centuries. The river is even known to form a crescent-shaped waterfall in this area.
For a peaceful way of life within easy reach of the stunning Peak District and Pennines, there are few options as attractive as living in Belper.
It is widely believed that the town of Belper is named after the word Beaurepaire, which means ‘beautiful retreat’. There is evidence of this name being given to a hunting lodge in the area as early as 1231.
From the 13th century, iron works became a major industry in Belper and nearby Duffield, with forges known to be in operation in both areas.
Belper was a particularly prosperous town by the time of the arrival of the North Midland Railway in 1840, and soon became the first place in the UK to be fitted with gas lighting. The Belper Gas and Coke Company was formed in 1850 and a works site was set up in Goods Road.
The town was also renowned for its expertise in the textile and hosiery sector, and this remained the case well into the 20th century. There were plenty of companies based in the area, ensuring ample employment opportunities.
Entertainment, sport and days out
Belper is home to a number of attractions that are sure to catch the eye of all those who live there. The town is steeped in history and this is displayed in places such as at the Heage Windmill, Strutt’s North Mill and the Belper River Gardens.
People who like nothing more than enjoying a long walk in the countryside will be spoilt for choice, as in addition to riverside strolls in Belper, they can get out into the Peak District and experience its stunning landscapes.
Sports fans can head to Christchurch Meadow, the home stadium of Belper Town FC. The club plays in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, and is nicknamed The Nailers in reference to the historic industry of nail manufacturing in the town.
Belper Leisure Centre is the ideal destination for those who prefer to play rather than watch, as the centre hosts a range of facilities including a 25-metre swimming pool.
Those looking a little further afield can head to the city of Nottingham for its wide selection of shops, restaurants, bars and attractions - such as the iconic Nottingham Castle.
Although it is only a relatively small town, Belper has a wide range of restaurants for people to enjoy. These include venues such as Angelos Restaurant at the New Inn, Elaichi and Café Nonno’s, all of which are highly rated.
There are also plenty of great pubs for people to enjoy with their friends and family. From the Black Swan to the Greyhound Inn and the Queen’s Head, Belper residents are blessed with a great choice when it comes to choosing a spot for a quiet drink.
Shoppers will find all they are looking for and more in the area around Bridge Street and close to the station. A vast selection of stores are available in this part of the town and their presence means no retail enthusiast will go home disappointed.
What’s more, central Belper features a mix of small, independent shops and larger chains, ensuring the perfect shopping experience is on offer.
Schools & healthcare
In total, there are seven primary schools in Belper, and these feed into one secondary school. Parents will have a choice of Holbrook, St Elizabeth’s, St John’s, Pottery, Ambergate, Long Row and Herbert Strutt primary institutions, before their youngsters head to Belper School and Sixth Form Centre, where there are about 1,400 pupils in attendance.
Babington Hospital and Belper Clinic ensure there are excellent medical facilities within the town, allowing local people to get the treatment they require. Making the journey to Derby will also put individuals in a position to utilise services at each of the city’s two hospitals.
Excellent transport links are on offer in and around Belper, with the A6 running through the centre of the town. This means there is access to a wide network of routes throughout the region for motorists and ensures Belper is a hit with commuters.
Belper train station is positioned on the Midland Main Line, with regular services running between Derby and Matlock. There is also an excellent local bus service, with buses to Derby and other towns available, as well as longer routes to London and Manchester.