The Derwent flows through a landscape offering unrivalled beauty and variety. Rising in high moorland it tumbles along a steep sided valley dropping a thousand feet in six miles to reach a series of reservoirs in conifer-clad valleys. There follows a limestone gorge at Matlock, with some of the most spectacular scenery in Britain which Byron compared this with “anything as fair in Greece or Switzerland”. The lower valley runs, thickly wooded, to the outskirts of Derby and then flows slowly over a broad flood plain to join the River Trent.
The Derwent hosts a diverse range of flora and fauna, sensitively captured by the artist. The place of the river in the history of industry is remembered too – World Heritage Status has been proposed for one of the stretches, where its waters have driven various types of mill for centuries.
The paintings show many different points along the river including the aqueduct at Cromford canal, the Belper Mills, and St. Mary’s bridge. They are accompanied by the author’s observations of the surrounding area including notes on local history.
This book records not only the wonderful landscape and wildlife but also illustrates people enjoying the countryside through the varying seasons and weather conditions. It is thus a record of the changing year, the inhabitants and the flora and fauna of a region, as well as a picture of one of the most beautiful and interesting parts of Europe.