Derbyshire (/ˈdɑːrbiʃɪər, -ʃər/ DAR-bee-sheer, -⁠shər)[3] is a ceremonial county in the East Midlands of England. It borders Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, and South Yorkshire to the north, Nottinghamshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south-east, Staffordshire to the south and west, and Cheshire to the west. Derby is the largest settlement, and Matlock is the county town.


Ceremonial Derbyshire within England

Historic Derbyshire in the British Isles
Coordinates: 53°11′N 1°37′W / 53.18°N 1.61°W / 53.18; -1.61
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionEast Midlands
Time zoneUTC+0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
UK ParliamentList of MPs
PoliceDerbyshire Constabulary
Ceremonial county
Lord LieutenantElizabeth Fothergill
High SheriffTheresa Peltier
Area2,625 km2 (1,014 sq mi)
 • Rank21st of 48
 • Rank21st of 48
Density406/km2 (1,050/sq mi)
  • 96.3% White
  • 1.5% Asian
  • 1.4% Mixed
  • 0.5% Black
  • 0.3% Other
Non-metropolitan county
County councilDerbyshire County Council
Admin HQMatlock
Area2,547 km2 (983 sq mi)
 • Rank13th of 21
 • Rank12th of 21
Density315/km2 (820/sq mi)
ISO 3166-2GB-DBY
GSS codeE10000007

Districts of Derbyshire
Unitary County council area

The county has an area of 2,625 km2 (1,014 sq mi) and a population of 1,053,316. The east of the county is more densely populated than the west, and contains the county's largest settlements: Derby (261,400), Chesterfield (88,483), and Swadlincote (45,000). For local government purposes Derbyshire comprises a non-metropolitan county, with eight districts, and the Derby unitary authority area. The East Midlands Combined County Authority includes Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council.

The north of Derbyshire is hilly and contains the southern end of the Pennines, most of which are part of the Peak District National Park. They include Kinder Scout, at 636 m (2,087 ft) the highest point in the county. The River Derwent is the longest in the county, at 66 mi (106 km), and flows south until it meets the River Trent just south of Derby. Church Flatts Farm at Coton in the Elms, near Swadlincote, is the furthest point from the sea in the UK.[4]



The area that is now Derbyshire was first visited, probably briefly, by humans 200,000 years ago during the Aveley interglacial, as shown by a Middle Paleolithic Acheulean hand axe found near Hopton.[5] Further occupation came with the Upper Paleolithic and Neolithic periods of the Stone Age when Mesolithic hunter-gatherers roamed the hilly tundra.[6] Evidence of these nomadic tribes has been found in limestone caves located on the Nottinghamshire border. Deposits left in the caves date the occupancy at around 12,000 to 7,000 BCE.[7]

The henge monument at Arbor Low

Burial mounds of Neolithic settlers are also situated throughout the county. These chambered tombs were designed for collective burial and are mostly located in the central Derbyshire region.[7] There are tombs at Minninglow and Five Wells that date back to between 2000 and 2500 BCE.[8] Three miles west of Youlgreave lies the Neolithic henge monument of Arbor Low, which has been dated to 2500 BCE. It is not until the Bronze Age that real signs of agriculture and settlement are found in the county. In the moors of the Peak District signs of clearance, arable fields and hut circles were found after archaeological investigation. However this area and another settlement at Swarkestone are all that have been found.[9]

Hand-drawn map of Derbyshire by Christopher Saxton in 1577

During the Roman conquest of Britain, the invaders were attracted to Derbyshire for its lead ore in the limestone hills of the area. They settled throughout the county, with forts built near Brough in the Hope Valley and near Glossop. Later they settled round Buxton, famed for its warm springs, and set up a fort near modern-day Derby in an area now known as Little Chester.[9]

Several kings of Mercia are buried in the Repton area.[10]

Following the Norman Conquest, much of the county was subject to the forest laws. To the northwest was the Forest of High Peak under the custodianship of William Peverel and his descendants. The rest of the county was bestowed upon Henry de Ferrers, a part of it becoming Duffield Frith. In time the whole area was given to the Duchy of Lancaster. Meanwhile, the Forest of East Derbyshire covered the whole county to the east of the River Derwent from the reign of Henry II to that of Edward I.[11]


Interactive map of Derbyshire and its districts

The terrain of Derbyshire mostly consists of uplands to the north and centre of the county, and lowlands to the south and east. The southern foothills and uplands of the Pennines extend from the north of the Trent Valley[12] throughout the Peak District and into the north of the county, reaching the county's highest point at Kinder Scout.[13] The terrain is relatively low-lying across the lower Dove Valley, from the Trent Valley and southwards, and near its eastern borders with Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. The main rivers in the county are the River Derwent and the River Dove which both join the River Trent in the south. The River Derwent rises in the moorland of Bleaklow and flows throughout the Peak District and county for the majority of its course, while the River Dove rises in Axe Edge Moor and forms a boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire for most of its length.

Landscape character


The varied landscapes within Derbyshire have been formed mainly as a consequence of the underlying geology, but also by the way the land has been managed and shaped by human activity. The county contains 11 discrete landscape types, known as National Character Areas, which have been described in detail by Natural England[14] and further refined, mapped and described by Derbyshire County Council[15] and the Peak District National Park.[16]

The 11 National Character Areas found within Derbyshire are:



Derbyshire's solid geology can be split into two very different halves. The oldest rocks occur in the northern, more upland half of the county, and are mostly of Carboniferous age, comprising limestones, gritstones, sandstones and shales. In its north-east corner to the east of Bolsover, there are also Magnesian Limestone rocks of Permian age. In contrast, the southern and more lowland half of Derbyshire contains much softer rocks, mainly mudstones and sandstones of Permo-Triassic age, which create gentler, more rolling landscapes with few rock outcrops. Across both regions can be found drift deposits of Quaternary age – mainly terrace and river gravel deposits and boulder clays. Landslip features are found on unstable layers of sandstones and shales, with Mam Tor and Alport Castles being the best-known. Cemented screes and tufa deposits occur very rarely in the limestone dales and rivers, whilst cave systems have been created naturally in the limestone since Pleistocene times. A recently discovered cave chamber near Castleton, named Titan, is the deepest shaft and biggest chamber of any cave in Britain.[17]

The oldest rocks are Lower Carboniferous limestones of Dinantian age, which form the core of the White Peak within the Peak District National Park. Because northern Derbyshire is effectively an uplifted dome of rock layers that have subsequently eroded to expose older rocks in the centre of the Derbyshire Dome, these are encircled by progressively younger limestone rocks, until they in turn give way on three sides to Upper Carboniferous shales, gritstones and sandstones of Namurian age.

A cross-section of northern Derbyshire, from west to east, showing the approximate structure of an eroded dome, with younger Coal Measure rocks to the east, and older limestone exposed in the centre

Younger still are the sandstones, shales and coal deposits found on the eastern flank of Derbyshire, forming the coal measures, which are of Westphalian age. All these rock layers disappear south of a line drawn between Ashbourne and Derby under layers of clays and sandstones (Mercia Mudstone Group and Sherwood Sandstones) of Permo-Triassic age. Small amounts of carboniferous limestones, gritstones and coal measures reappear in the far south of Derbyshire from Ticknall (limestone) to Swadlincote (coal measures).[18]

Some areas of the White Peak exhibit contemporaneous basalt flows (e.g. Ravens Tor at Millers Dale), as well as subsequent dolerite sill intrusion at a much later stage (e.g. near Tideswell Dale),[19] whilst mineralisation of the carboniferous limestone in a subsequent period created extensive lead and fluorite deposits which have formed a significant part of Derbyshire's economy, as did coal mining. Lead mining has been important here since Roman Times.[20] The more recent river gravels of the Trent valley remain a significant extractive industry today in south Derbyshire, as does the mining of limestone rock in central and northern parts of the county.[21] Coarse sandstones were once extensively quarried both for local building materials and for the production of gritstone grinding wheels for use in mills, and both former industries have left their mark on the Derbyshire landscape.

Green belts

Green belts in Derbyshire and beyond.
Clockwise from top left:
North West Green Belt
South and West Yorkshire Green Belt
Nottingham and Derby Green Belt
Burton upon Trent and Swadlincote Green Belt
West Midlands Green Belt
Stoke-on-Trent Green Belt

As well as the protections afforded to the Peak District area under national and local policies, there are several green belts within the county, aimed at preserving the landscape surrounding main urban areas. There are four such areas,[22] the first three being portions of much larger green belts that extend outside the county and surround large conurbations:

Derbyshire green belt area Part of the larger Communities contained within Communities on the outskirts
North West Derbyshire Green Belt North West Green Belt for Manchester Glossop, Hadfield, Charlesworth, Furness Vale, New Mills Hayfield, Chinley, Whaley Bridge
North East Derbyshire Green Belt South and West Yorkshire Green Belt for Sheffield Dronfield, Eckington, Killamarsh, High Lane/Ridgeway, Holymoorside Chesterfield, Staveley, Barlborough
South East Derbyshire Green Belt Nottingham and Derby Green Belt for Derby/Nottingham Ilkeston, Long Eaton, Heanor, Ripley, Borrowash, Duffield, West Hallam Belper, Derby
South Derbyshire Green Belt Burton upon Trent and Swadlincote Green Belt Stanhope Bretby, Stanton Burton-upon-Trent, Swadlincote



Because of its central location in England and altitude range from 27 metres in the south to 636 metres in the north,[23]: 1  Derbyshire contains many species at the edge of their UK distribution ranges. Some species with a predominantly northern British distribution are at the southern limit of their range, whilst others with a more southern distribution are at their northern limit in Derbyshire. As climate change progresses, a number of sensitive species are now being seen to be either expanding or contracting their range as a result.[23]: 314  For the purposes of protecting and recording the county's most important habitats, Derbyshire has been split into two regions, each with its own Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), based around National Character Areas. The Peak District BAP includes all of Derbyshire's uplands of the Dark Peak, South-West Peak and White Peak, including an area of limestone beyond the national park boundary.[24] The remaining areas are monitored and recorded in the Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Action Plan, which subdivides the landscape into eight smaller Action Areas.[25]

The Derbyshire Biological Records Centre was formerly based at Derby Museum and Art Gallery, but since 2011 has been managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.[26] Two of Englands 48 Local Nature Partnerships (LNP) also cover Derbyshire; these are the Peak District LNP and the Lowland Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire LNP.[27]



Since 2002, the county flower for Derbyshire has been Jacob's-ladder (Polemonium caeruleum), a relatively rare species, and characteristic of certain limestone dales in the White Peak.[23]: 187  Derbyshire is known to have contained 1,919 separate taxa of vascular plants (including species, hybrids and micro-species) since modern recording began,[23]: 409  of which 1,133 are known to be either native or archaeophyte, the remainder being non-native species. These comprise 336 established species, 433 casuals and 17 unassigned. It is known that 34 species of plants once native here have been lost from Derbyshire (i.e. become locally extinct) since modern plant recording began in the 17th century.[23]: 410  Derbyshire contains two endemic vascular plants, found nowhere else in the world: Rubus durescens, a bramble occurring in central Derbyshire,[23]: 89  and Derby hawkweed (Hieracium naviense), still known only from Winnats Pass.[23]: 263  One endemic species of moss, Derbyshire Feather Moss, occurs in one small 3-metre patch in just one Derbyshire limestone dale, its sole world location intentionally kept confidential.[28]

The distribution and status of vascular plants in Derbyshire have been recorded over the last 120 years in a series of four major botanical works, each by different authors between 1889 and 2015, all entitled The Flora of Derbyshire. Plant recording is mainly undertaken locally by volunteers from the Derbyshire Flora Group,[23]: 406  and by staff at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and the Peak District National Park.

Map of Derbyshire boundaries with Peak District also shown. Black=modern Geographic boundary, Red=Vice-county boundary (VC57) where this differs from modern; Dotted Blue=Peak District boundary

The Dark Peak is marked by heathlands, bogs, gritstone edges and acid grasslands containing relatively few species, with plants such as heather (Calluna vulgaris), crowberry (Empetrum nigrum), bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and hare's-tail cotton grass (Eriophorum vaginatum) being dominant on the high moors.[23]: 6  The dales of the White Peak are known for habitats such as calcareous grassland, ash woodlands and rock outcrops in all of which a much greater richness of lime-loving species occurs than elsewhere in the county.[23]: 4  These include various orchids (such as early purple orchid (Orchis mascula), dark-red helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens) and fly orchid (Ophrys insectifera)), common rockrose (Helianthemum nummularium), spring cinquefoil (Helianthemum nummularium) and grass of parnassus (Parnassia palustris). Specialised communities of plants occur on former lead workings, where typical metallophyte species include spring sandwort (Minuartia verna), alpine penny-cress (Thlaspi caerulescens) (both known locally in Derbyshire as Leadwort), as well as mountain pansy (Viola lutea) and moonwort (Botrychium lunaria).[23]: 6 [29]

In 2015, Derbyshire contained 304 vascular plant species now designated as of international, national or local conservation concern, for their rarity or recent declines, and collectively listed as Derbyshire Red Data plants.[23]: 418  Work on recording and publishing a bryophyte flora for Derbyshire still continues: by 2012 a total of 518 bryophyte species had been recorded for the county.[30][31]

Botanical recording in the UK predominantly uses the unchanging vice-county boundary system, which results in a slightly different map of Derbyshire from the modern geographic county.[23]: 20 



A number of specialist organisations protect, promote and monitor records of individual animal groups across Derbyshire. The main ones are Derbyshire Ornithological Society; Derbyshire Mammal Group; Derbyshire Bat Group, Derbyshire Amphibian and Reptile Group, and the Derbyshire & Nottingham Entomological Society. All maintain databases of wildlife sightings, whilst some such as the Derbyshire Ornithological Society provide alerts of rare sightings on their websites or social media pages and also publish major works describing the status and distribution of species.[32]


The rugged moorland edge of the southern Pennines at Kinder Downfall

Derbyshire has a mixture of a rural economy in the west, with a former coal-mining economy in the north-east (Bolsover district), the Erewash Valley around Ilkeston and in the south around Swadlincote. The rural landscape varies from arable farmland in the flatlands to the south of Derby, to upland pasture and moorland in the high gritstone uplands of the southern Pennines.

Derbyshire is rich in natural mineral resources such as lead, iron, coal, and limestone, which have been exploited over a long period. Lead, for example, has been mined since Roman times. The limestone outcrops in the central area led to the establishment of large quarries to supply the industries of surrounding towns with lime for building and steelmaking, and latterly in the 20th-century cement manufacture. The Industrial Revolution also increased demand for building stone, and in the late 19th and early 20th-century, the arrival of the railways led to a large number of stone quarries being established. This industry has left its mark on the countryside, but is still a major industry: a lot of the stone is supplied as crushed stone for road building and concrete manufacture, and is moved by rail.

The ruins of the Magpie Mine near Sheldon

Derbyshire's relative remoteness in the late 18th century and an abundance of fast-flowing streams led to a proliferation of the use of hydropower at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, following the mills pioneered by Richard Arkwright. Derbyshire has been said to be the home of the Industrial Revolution, and part of the Derwent Valley has been given World Heritage status in acknowledgement of this historic importance.

Nationally famous companies in Derbyshire include Rolls-Royce, one of the world's leading aerospace companies, based since before World War I in Derby, Thorntons just south of Alfreton and Toyota, who have one of the UK's largest car manufacturing plants at Burnaston. Ashbourne Water used to be bottled in Buxton by Nestlé Waters UK until 2006 and Buxton Water still is.

Derbyshire is one of only three counties permitted to make cheese that is labelled as Stilton cheese. The others are Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. The smallest of six companies making this product is Hartington Creamery at Pikehall. As of March 2021, Hartington Stilton was marketing within the UK but also exporting to the US, EU and Canada. The company director told the BBC that they had "a surge in interest and consumer sales from the US".[33][34]


Derbyshire parliamentary constituencies 2019 election result

The county is divided into eleven constituencies for the election of members of parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons. As of December 2019, nine constituencies are represented by Conservative MPs, whilst the remaining two are represented by Labour MPs.[35]

The results of the 2019 United Kingdom general election in Derbyshire (including the city of Derby) are as follows:

Party Conser­vative Labour Liberal Democrats Brexit Green Others
Votes 277,723 (52.3%)
184,295 (34.7%)
38,253 (7.2%)
14,487 (2.7%)
13,658 (2.6%)
2,711 (0.5%)
Seats won 9
County Hall, Matlock

Derbyshire has a three-tier local government since the local government reorganisation in 1974. It has a county council based in Matlock and eight district councils and since 1997, a unitary authority area of the City of Derby. Derby remains part of Derbyshire only for ceremonial purposes.

Derbyshire has become fractionally smaller during government reorganisation over the years. The Sheffield suburbs Woodseats, Beauchief, Handsworth, Woodhouse, Norton, Mosborough, Totley, Bradway and Dore were previously parts of the county, but were lost to Sheffield between 1900 and 1933; Mosborough was transferred in 1967. However, Derbyshire gained part of the Longdendale valley and Tintwistle from Cheshire in 1974. The current area of the geographic/ceremonial county of Derbyshire is only 4.7 square kilometres less than it was over 100 years ago.[23]: 1 [23]: 20 

At the third tier are the parish councils, which do not cover all areas. The eight district councils in Derbyshire and the unitary authority of Derby are shown in the map above.

These district councils are responsible for local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection and recycling, cemeteries and crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism.[36] Education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, policing and fire services, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning are the responsibility of the County Council.[36]

One of many Victorian village schools in Derbyshire

Although Derbyshire is in the East Midlands, some parts, such as High Peak (which incorporated former areas of Cheshire after boundary changes in 1974), are closer to the northern cities of Manchester and Sheffield and these receive services more affiliated with northern England; for example, the North West Ambulance Service, Granada Television and United Utilities.Outside the main city of Derby, the largest town in the county is Chesterfield.

Derbyshire is also part of multiple combined authorities. The Erewash, Amber Valley and Derby districts are part of the D2N2 partnership with neighbouring Nottinghamshire. The Derbyshire Dales, Bolsover, North East Derbyshire and Chesterfield districts are part of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (as non constituent members).



The Derbyshire school system is comprehensive with no selective schools. The independent sector includes Repton School, Trent College and The Elms School.



There are several towns in the county, with Derby the largest and most populous. At the time of the 2011 census, a population of 770,600 lived in the county with 248,752 (32%) living in Derby. The table below shows all towns with over 10,000 inhabitants.

Rank Town Population Borough/District Notes
1 Derby 248,752 (2011)[37] City of Derby
2 Chesterfield 103,788 (2011)[38] Chesterfield
3 Long Eaton 45,000 Erewash
4 Ilkeston 38,640 (2011) Erewash
5 Swadlincote 36,000 (2004) South Derbyshire
6 Belper 21,823 (2011)[39] Amber Valley Figure is for Belper civil parish, which includes Milford and Blackbrook
7 Dronfield 21,261 (2011)[40] North East Derbyshire Figure is for Dronfield civil parish, which includes Dronfield Woodhouse and Coal Aston
8 Buxton 20,836 (2001) High Peak
9 Ripley 20,807 (2011)[41] Amber Valley Figure is for Ripley civil parish, which includes Heage, Ambergate and Waingroves
10 Staveley 18,247 (2011)[42] Chesterfield Figure is for Staveley civil parish, which includes Mastin Moor, Duckmanton, Inkersall Green and Hollingwood
11 Glossop 17,576 (2011)[43][44][45][46][47] High Peak Figure is for the electoral wards of Howard Town, Old Glossop, Dinting, Simmondley and Whitfield.
12 Heanor 17,251 (2011)[48] Amber Valley Figure is for Heanor and Loscoe civil parish, which includes Loscoe but excludes Heanor Gate
13 Bolsover 11,673 (2011)[49] Bolsover Figure is for Old Bolsover civil parish, which includes Shuttlewood, Stanfree and Whaley, but excludes part of Hillstown.
14 Eckington 11,855 (2011)[50] North East Derbyshire Figure is for Eckington civil parish, which includes Renishaw, Spinkhill, Marsh Lane and Ridgeway.

Historic areas


Some settlements which were historically part of the county now fall under the counties of Greater Manchester, Leicestershire, South Yorkshire, and Staffordshire:

Cheshire/Greater Manchester Marple Bridge (historically part of Marple)
Leicestershire Measham
South Yorkshire Mosborough, Totley, Dore
Staffordshire Burton-upon-Trent (part)



Because of the size of the county, southern parts of Derbyshire such as Derby, Matlock, Ashbourne and Bakewell are covered by BBC East Midlands and ITV Central in Nottingham, broadcast from Waltham. [51] Northeast Derbyshire, Chesterfield, the eastern High Peak (Hope Valley) and northern area of the Derbyshire Dales (Tideswell and Hathersage) are covered by ITV Yorkshire and BBC Yorkshire from Emley Moor, with their ITV News Calendar and Look North programmes, both from Leeds. [52] The western area of the High Peak (Buxton, Glossop, New Miils and Chapel-en-le-Frith) is covered by BBC North West from Winter Hill and ITV Granada, both based in Salford. [53][54]

BBC Local Radio for the county is provided by BBC Radio Derby, BBC Radio Sheffield (covering Chesterfield and Bolsover) and BBC Radio Manchester (covering Glossop, New Miils and Chapel-en-le-Frith).

County-wide commercial radio stations are Capital Midlands, Hits Radio East Midlands, Gold, Greatest Hits Radio East Midlands and Greatest Hits Radio Yorkshire (for Chesterfield, Matlock and Bakewell).



Derbyshire has two Football League teams, Derby County, which plays in the EFL Championship, the second tier of English football. The next highest-placed team is Chesterfield, which participates in EFL League Two, the fourth tier of English football. There are also many non-league teams playing throughout the county, most notably Alfreton Town, which plays in the National League North.[55] The county is currently home to the world's oldest football club, Sheffield F.C., which plays in Dronfield in north-east Derbyshire.[56] Glossop was the smallest town in the country to have a football team in the top tier of English football, Glossop North End.[57]

County Cricket Ground, in Derby

Derbyshire has a cricket team based at the County Cricket Ground. Derbyshire County Cricket Club currently plays in Division Two of the County Championship. There are also rugby league clubs based in the north of the county, the North Derbyshire Chargers and in Derby (Derby City RLFC). The county has numerous rugby union clubs, including Derby, Chesterfield Panthers, Matlock, Ilkeston, Ashbourne, Bakewell and Amber Valley.

The county is a popular area for a variety of recreational sports such as rock climbing, hill walking, hang gliding, caving, sailing on its many reservoirs, and cycling along the many miles of disused rail tracks that have been turned into cycle trails, such as the Monsal Trail and High Peak Trail.

The town of Ashbourne in Derbyshire is known for its Royal Shrovetide Football, described as a "medieval football game", played annually on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.

Derbyshire is host to one of the only community Muggle quidditch teams in the country, known as Derby Union Quidditch Club. The Club recruits players from the age of 16 upwards from all over Derby, and has representatives from most local sixth forms and the University of Derby. The team has competed against both the Leeds Griffins and the Leicester Lovegoods in the past and is part of the vibrant UK quidditch scene. It is also an official International Quidditch Association team.

Local attractions

The 'twisted spire' on Chesterfield parish church

The county of Derbyshire has many attractions for tourists and local people. It offers Peak District scenery such as Mam Tor and Kinder Scout, and more urban attractions such as Bakewell, Buxton and Derby. Such places include Bolsover Castle, Castleton, Chatsworth House, National Tramway Museum at Crich, Peak Rail steam railway, Midland Railway steam railway, Dovedale, Haddon Hall, the Heights of Abraham and Matlock Bath.[58]

In the north of the county, three large reservoirs, Howden, Derwent and Ladybower, were built in the early part of the 20th century to supply the rapidly growing populations of Sheffield, Derby and Leicester with drinking water. The moorland catchment area around these is part of the Peak District National Park and extensively used for leisure pursuits such as walking and cycling.

There are many properties and lands in the care of the National Trust that are open to the public, such as Calke Abbey, Hardwick Hall, High Peak Estate, Ilam Park, Kedleston Hall, Longshaw Estate near Hathersage, and Sudbury Hall on the Staffordshire border.

Notable gardens in Derbyshire include the formal ones in 17th–18th-century French style at Melbourne Hall south of Derby, the listed garden at Renishaw Hall near Eckington, Lea Rhododendron Gardens near Matlock, the Royal Horticultural Society recommended Bluebell Arboretum near Swadlincote, and the extensive gardens at Chatsworth House.

Ardotalia, also known as Melandra, or Melandra Castle, is an ancient Roman fort built in the north-west of the county. The ruins and foundations are open free of charge to the public.

County emblems

The flag of the historic county of Derbyshire

As part of a 2002 marketing campaign, the plant conservation charity Plantlife chose the Jacob's-ladder as the county flower.

In September 2006, a proposal for a county flag was introduced, largely on the initiative of BBC Radio Derby.[59] It consists of a white-bordered dark green cross encompassing a golden Tudor rose (a historical symbol of the county) all set in a blue field. The blue field represents the many waters of the county, its rivers and reservoirs, while the cross is green to mark the great areas of countryside. The flag was subsequently registered with the Flag Institute in September 2008.[60]

In 2015, BBC Radio Derby commissioned a Derbyshire anthem entitled "Our Derbyshire", including lyrics suggested by its listeners. It received its first performance on 17 September 2015 at Derby Cathedral.


Derbyshire Compared
UK Census 2011 Derby[37] Derbyshire[61] East Midlands England
Total population 248,752 769,686 4,533,222 53,012,456
Foreign born (outside Europe) 9.3% 1.4% 6.4% 9.3%
White 80.2% 97.5% 89.3% 85.5%
Asian 12.6% 1.1% 6.4% 7.7%
Black 3.0% 0.4% 1.7% 3.4%
Christian 52.7% 63.6% 58.8% 59.4%
Muslim 7.6% 0.3% 3.1% 5.0%
Hindu 0.9% 0.2% 2.0% 1.5%
No religion 27.6% 28.0% 27.5% 24.7%
Over 65 15.1% 18.6% 17.1% 16.3%
Unemployed 5.2% 3.9% 4.2% 4.4%

In 1801 the population was 147,481[62][63] According to the UK Census 2001 there were 956,301 people spread over the county's 254,615 hectares.[64] This was estimated to have risen to 990,400 in 2006.[65]

The county's population grew by 3.0 per cent from 1991 to 2001 which is around 21,100 people. This figure is higher than the national average of 2.65 per cent, but lower than the East Midlands average of 4.0 per cent. The county as a whole has an average population density of 2.9 people per hectare, making it less densely populated than England as a whole.[66] The density varies throughout the county, with the lowest being in the region of Derbyshire Dales at 0.88 per hectare, and the highest outside the main cities in the region of Erewash, which has 10.04 people per hectare.[67]

Population since 1801
Year 1801 1851 1901 1911 1921 1931 1939 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
non-metropolitan county[62]
132,786 223,414 465,896 542,697 565,826 590,470 613,301 637,645 651,284 666,013 687,404 717,935 734,585 769,686
unitary authority[63]
14,695 48,506 118,469 132,188 142,824 154,316 167,321 181,423 199,578 219,558 214,424 225,296 221,716 248,752
as a ceremonial county
147,481 271,920 584,365 674,885 708,650 744,786 780,622 819,068 850,862 885,571 901,828 943,231 956,301 1,018,438

In Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice, Pemberley, the country house of Fitzwilliam Darcy, is in Derbyshire. Chatsworth House in Derbyshire is named as one of the estates Elizabeth Bennet visits before arriving at Pemberley. In the 2005 film adaptation of the novel, Chatsworth House itself represents Pemberley. In one scene characters discuss visits to Matlock and Dovedale.

Sir Walter Scott's 1823 novel Peveril of the Peak is partly set in Derbyshire.

The events of Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia take place in the fictional country house of Sidley Park in Derbyshire.

Georgette Heyer's detective/romance novel The Toll-Gate is set in 1817 around a fictional toll-gate in Derbyshire.

The 1969 film Women in Love by Ken Russell had scenes filmed in and around Elvaston Castle, notably the Greco-Roman wrestling scene, which was filmed in the castle's Great Hall.[68]

The 1986 film Lady Jane by Trevor Nunn, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Cary Elwes, has scenes filmed at Haddon Hall.

The 1987 film The Princess Bride by Rob Reiner, starring Robin Wright and Cary Elwes, was partly filmed in Derbyshire. It included scenes at Haddon Hall and in the White Peak and Dark Peak.

The 1988 film The Lair of the White Worm by Ken Russell, (starring Amanda Donohoe and Hugh Grant) was filmed largely in Derbyshire.[69] Lair's opening title sequence and primary story locations occur in and around Thor's Cave, part of the Peak District, River Manifold valley.[70][71]

The 2008 film The Duchess includes scenes filmed at Chatsworth House and at Kedleston Hall.[72]

The 1993–2002 TV series Peak Practice was set in Crich and Fritchley, except for the twelfth and final series, and originally starred Kevin Whately and Amanda Burton.[73] In 2003 an unrelated and less successful medical TV drama, Sweet Medicine, was mostly filmed in the historic market town of Wirksworth.

Other Derbyshire locations in which British TV scenes have been filmed include:[74]

See also



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Further reading

  • Smith, Roly (1999). Towns & Villages of Britain: Derbyshire. Cheshire: Sigma Press. ISBN 1-85058-622-5.
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus (1953). The Buildings of England: Derbyshire. Middlesex: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-071008-6.
  • Pevsner & Williamson, Elizabeth (1978). The Buildings of England: Derbyshire. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-071008-6.
  • Willmot, Alan; Moyes, Nick (2015). The Flora of Derbyshire. Pisces Publication. ISBN 978-1-874357-65-0.
  • Frost, Roy; Shaw, Steve (2014). The Birds of Derbyshire. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 9781846319563.
  • Alston, Debbie; Mallon, Dave; Whiteley, Derek (2013). The Mammals of Derbyshire. Derbyshire Mammal Group and Sorby Natural History Society. ISBN 9780950039688.
  • Cope, F. Wolverson (1998). Geology Explained in the Peak District. Scarthin Books. ISBN 0907758983.