The Route

A series of booklets detailing “Walks on a Railway Theme” has been produced by the ALRS, and can be purchased by following the links on the right hand pane of this screen to the merchandise sections.

It is important to note that most of the former ALR trackbed is now private land without public rights of way, unlike other former rail routes in Derbyshire such as the Monsal, Five Pits, Tissington and High Peak Trails.

The first section of the route is from Clay Cross & Egstow station.  The area around the station was, in its heyday, a major industrial site, home of the world renowned Clay Cross Company.  However, there has been (and continues to be) massive redevelopment of this area, making it practically impossible to visualise how this part of Clay Cross looked in ALR days.

From the station the ALR followed a gradually rising embankment towards Chesterfield Road, now the A61 trunk road.  The whole of the embankment, and the surrounding fields, were the subject of open cast coal extraction and no trace of the railway remains.

This view shows what the route from Clay Cross & Egstow was like, with the Pirelli Bridge visible in the background. It is just possible to make out Chesterfield Rd station, with the wooden walkway leading up from road level.

It is a different story, however, on the other side of the A61 as the original abutment of the Pirelli bridge still stands, together with the embankment on which the railway ran.

Recently, there were proposals for further coal extraction on the western side of the A61 involving the former railway trackbed. The ALRS was involved in discussions with the proposers of this development with a view to post mining remediation, but planning permission was refused in early 2018.

The ALRS has looked at possibilities of reinstating a short section of the old line  between the former Chesterfield Road bridge (Clay Cross) and Stretton/Ogston.

However, the trackbed to the west of Clay Cross is surprisingly complete offering the tantalising prospect of a journey through Holmgate, Clay Lane and Stretton to the southern end of the Ogston reservoir.

The possible site of a new terminus. (click to enlarge)

The view of Ogston Reservoir from close to a possible terminus site. (click to enlarge)

The track-bed between Woolley and Dalebank. (click to enlarge)

Between Dalebank and Woolley looking towards the latter. (click to enlarge)

The approach to Dale Bank Lane is very scenic. (click to enlarge)

Upon leaving Woolley Moor the line ran in a north westerly direction with the River Amber immediately on the left, and then within the space of a quarter mile, crossed the river twice and then parallel it as far as Dale Bank Lane where there was a halt.

After leaving Dalebank the railway swings gently westwards, crossing the Amber twice more, and proceeds to Milltown where there was a station adjacent Miners Arms Inn on Oakstedge Lane. A handy stop for thirsty travellers!

The site of Milltown station looking in the direction of Woolley. (click to enlarge)

The gate on the left marks the point where the ALR crossed Oakstedge Lane at Milltown. (click to enlarge)

Looking towards Fallgate and Ashover from Milltown.

Beyond Milltown the old line reached Fallgate, where the original station building still survives.

Fallgate station building, as seen in August 2006. (click to enlarge)

A closer view of Fallgate station. (click to enlarge)

Since the closure of Fallgate Quarries, much of the land in this area has been landscaped and sadly most traces of the old industry have disappeared. However, the land owners have retained the old Fallgate station building and have even laid a short length of track on front of it (see picture above left); such is their appreciation of the railway!

Jetting Street at Fallgate. (click to enlarge)

The Fallgate quarry offices before renovation started in 2006. (click to enlarge)

After leaving Fallgate the line  passed Demonsdale Farm and the Fall Mill, and continued on a low embankment above the River Amber floodplain to the site of Salter Lane station.

The formation of the railway is clearly visible from Hockley Lane. (click to enlarge)

The track-bed is very clear between Fallgate and Salter Lane. (click to enlarge)

The site of Salter Lane station. (click to enlarge)

Salter Lane was the last station before reaching Ashover (Butts) and was basically a halt, although it did have a shelter. Geographically it was closer to Ashover village than Ashover (Butts) station, but access could only be gained by ascending or descending the steep path known as Hollow Lane.

From Salter Lane it is just a short trip to Ashover (Butts) where the line  terminated.

The old track-bed from Ashover (Butts) to Salter Lane is now used as a farm track. (click to enlarge)

The approximate site of Ashover (Butts) station. (click to enlarge)

This hillock on the Butts Pasture was once home to the˜Where the Rainbow End Cafe. (click to enlarge)

Re-instatement of the Pirelli bridge over the A61 road would be a major obstacle!

Please note: The track-bed of the old Ashover Light Railway is entirely owned by private individuals and trespassing is strictly prohibited.

The “Walks on a Railway Theme” booklets published by the ALRS offer the chance to explore much of the old railway from public rights of way.