River Access

Access at Matlock
The Club regularly uses a popular stretch of the River Derwent, south of Matlock Town. This half mile section, runs from the pay and display car park known locally as Artist’s Corner Matlock (north) OS ref SK 296594, to a footbridge crossing the river below the cable cars at Matlock Bath (south)
OS ref SK 296585.

Description of this stretch on the River Derwent
At Artist’s Corner, steps lead down to the water’s edge (river right), here there is a small playful surf wave (grade 2) with a large return eddy (river left). The next ¼ of a mile contains one rapid (grade 1-2) after a sweeping left bend. 400m after this rapid you approach the permanent slalom site located between the two foot bridges.
The course itself is usually graded as 2 but is regarded as almost 3 in high water however, break-outs can be scarce at high levels.
The central rock, visible in all but high water, is named ‘Killer’, not thankfully, for any historical reason, but it is still worth treating with respect from low water to a medium high water level. In very high water ‘killer’ presents no problem as it becomes completely covered, its location is usually marked by a standing wave.
The chains across the river supporting the second footbridge (below the slalom course) are also worth an inspection in very high water.

Access and egress at the slalom course is possible by means of steps down to the water’s edge from the grassed area (river right), up stream of the course, or by the steps (river right) at the bottom of the slalom site. In low to medium water, it is possible for an experienced paddler to paddle from the bottom of the slalom course all the way back up to Artist’s Corner.

Other than the pay and display car parking at Artist’s Corner, there is free parking in the lay-by adjacent to the slalom site, limited parking on the main road (A6) and fee pay parking in the Matlock Bath Station car park.

Further Information on Access (Rivers Publishing 2012)
In order to provide some guidance regarding other stretches of local rivers this is our understanding of the opinions and situation at present;

In England and Wales the law is complex and often misunderstood.
Non tidal rivers are normally covered by common law which goes back to the Magna Carter. The most thorough legal interpretation of recent times is by the Rev, Douglas Caffyn PhD, his two theses Master of Laws & Doctor of Philosophy (2004 & 2010) claim that ‘there is a right of navigation on all unregulated rivers which are physically useable’ www.caffynonrivers.co.uk

Just as most paddlers are ignorant of the law, so also are many landowners and anglers – they may occasionally dispute your right to a presence on a waterway as they believe that they ‘own’ the river and so you are ‘trespassing’. Some paddlers reproduce the back cover of the Rev, Caffyn’s booklet and carry it on them to help understanding.

To date we are not aware of any legal challenge to Rev Caffyn’s opinion.


Canoe England provides up to date information on local rivers with expert advice;

The following web sites may well be helpful too

Other useful Information
Local Attractions
Matlock ARC Leisure Centre, High Tor, Cable Car Rides, Heights of Abraham Visitors Centre and Mines, Gulliver’s Kingdom, Matlock Bath and Matlock Bath Illuminations (between the end August to the end of October), Village of Crich (TV’s “Peak Practice” Country), Crich Stand and Tramway Museum, Peak Railway, Whistlestop Countryside Centre, Masson Shopping village, Rowsley Peak village and Cromford Mill (World Heritage Site).

Camping and Caravanning Sites
• Lickpenny Caravan Site, Lickpenny Lane, Tansley, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 5GF. Tel: 01629 583040

• Packhorse Farm. Tansley Matlock DE4 5LF 01629 580950

• Square and Compass Camping and B&B Station Road Darley Bridge, Matlock Derbyshire. DE4 2EQ 01629 733255

• Birchwood Farm Caravan and Camping Site, Whatstandwell, Derbyshire.DE45 5HS 10629 822280

• Venture Centre, Cromford Mill (01629) 823256

Bed & Breakfast
There is plenty of local Bed & Breakfast accommodation in the area. Check the websites below
Or visit Matlock tourist information centre.