A DERBY couple are determined to continue their mission to spread the word about Darley Abbey’s heritage through their guided tours.
Roy and Sheila Hartle have had 10,000 leaflets printed with information on a series of walks in the area.
The couple, of Abbey Lane, Darley Abbey, first came up with the idea in 2000. Derwent Valley World Heritage site was opened a year later and as a result, interest in the area has grown.
The Hartles have always enjoyed carrying out the walks and Roy feels they are as relevant now as ever.
Roy said: “I am very keen to put Darley Abbey on the map. It is right there in the city but a lot of people don’t know it is there.
“I really enjoy doing it. I created the historical group in 2004 as well.”
One of the walks takes in part of Chester Green, one runs through the mills while another takes in Darley Park. Another route explores the top half of Darley Abbey. Roy said: “Traditionally there was Up Darley and Down Darley and this walk focuses on the old Up Darley area.
“I like all of the walks. We do them because it gives us an opportunity to speak to the people who visit the area and explain a bit about the history behind it.
“The Silk Mill is the oldest known factory in the country, so it should generate a lot of interest.”
In 2001, the idea of a series of interpretation boards for Darley Abbey Mills and village was initiated by Groundwork Erewash Valley, supported by Darley Abbey Community Association and Darley Abbey Society.
Darley Abbey Historical Group was set-up in 2004 to begin creating the boards and leaflets. This was unveiled and made available in 2006.
As the information became more accessible to people in the area and in Belper, with connections made between the Evans family of Darley Abbey and the Strutt family in Belper, demand became higher and more people took an interest in the walks.
Roy and Sheila have just had another 10,000 leaflets printed to keep up with increasing demand.
Sheila hopes to continue to educate people in the area. She said: “It is very, very important because it is right on the doorstep of Derby and people don’t even know it exists.
“There is never anything advertised, apart from the concert in the park. It is a nice spot as well as being historically very interesting.”