Monument record MDR4821 - Private Railway, Duffield Bank, Duffield

Type and Period (3)

  • (Victorian to First World War - 1874 AD to 1916 AD)
  • (Victorian to First World War - 1874 AD to 1916 AD)
  • (Victorian to First World War - 1874 AD to 1916 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • World Heritage Site
  • World Heritage Site Buffer Zone

Full Description

The Duffield Bank Railway was built and run by Sir Arthur Percival Heywood between 1874 and 1916 in the grounds of his mansion on Duffield Bank. It was constructed in an attempt to demonstrate the utility of a 'minimum gauge railway' for military, estate and pleasure purposes. Heywood used a 15 inch gauge and developed engines and rolling stock to run on it. Given the incline of the land and the existence of old quarries, the railway needed tunnels, viaducts, stations and signalling, all of which were developed. Much of the track-bed as well as the tunnels is intact, but the associated buildings are gone - the majority having been wooden and sold off or dismantled during the 1st World War. (1, 2, 3) Nothing of the 1 in 12 test track can be seen from behind The Laurels to behind the plantation in field 2310. From here to the northernmost point the line of the track can be followed along paths and driveway. As the line turns south the cutting for the track can be seen under the bushes and followed as a cutting to the quarry where the timber viaduct carried the line. The line can be followed to the tunnel under 'Loner's Lair'. The tunnel was apparently built and covered, as with the next tunnel past the 'tennis ground station'. Both are in reasonable condition. The site of 'tennis ground station' and of the three road carriage sheds can be readily identified. Much of the remaining line is overgrown, but can be followed and the southern bend and tunnel are set in a quite impressive, deep cutting. The tunnel runs through solid geology. The location of the short trestle bridge can also be identified, and the 'underbridge' near 'tennis ground station' is largely intact. (4) In August 2010 a topographic and photographic survey of an area of land around Loner' Lair, a 20th century bungalow with detached garage, was carried out prior to its demolition and the construction of a new house further south. It was found that much of the course of the track-bed could still be traced, although the rails and sleepers have long been removed. Generally it shows as relatively long flatter strips of land where the ground slopes; its line is also seen in some places by stone-lined or low-walled edges. Modern quarrying has removed a long stretch of track-bed just north of the bungalow, including the site of the viaduct; only a picture of this wooden structure now survives. The three tunnels remain intact. That affected directly by the development is the longest, being about 24m long, 2.14m high and 1.52m across. It had been partly filled with rubbish; when removed, a clay base was revealed, without sign of any flooring or indications of former track. The side walls are stone-built and cambered, with the upper semi-circular walling built from brick. No buildings remain today, having been largely timber-built and dismantled in the early 20th century. However, various low stone walls can be traced running along or down the slope, despite heavy vegetation in some places. (5)

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: M. Smithers. 1995. Sir Arthur Heywood and the Fifteen Inch Gauge Railway: Plateway Press.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Letter on Parish File: M.Higginson (DAS) to AVBC: 6/10/96.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Letter on Parish File: M. Higginson (DAS)-A. Morrison: 3/11/96.
  • <4> Personal Observation: Myers, A & Morrison, A. 1997. Site visit notes 17/01/1997.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Sheppard, R & Walker, D (TPA). 2010. An Archaeological Survey at Loner's Lair, Duffield Bank, Duffield, Derbyshire, 2010. HER Doc. No. 1397.



Grid reference Centred SK 3526 4309 (240m by 465m) (Approximate)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2885

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Dec 21 2018 9:27AM

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