Belper River Gardens

Welcome to the Green Flag Award winning Belper River Gardens. The gardens are small but provide visitors with a beautiful, tranquil setting where they can relax and enjoy themselves.

When is it open?

The park is open daily from 8.00am and closes at dusk.

History of the site

In 1905 the Belper Town and Trade Association put forward the suggestion that a boating association be formed as a recreation amenity for the town. George Herbert Strutt, local benefactor offered his support.

George Herbert Strutt agreed to develop an old osier bed by the River Derwent and within four months the boating stage and iron boathouse were erected.

The success of the boating led to George Herbert Strutt appointing an experienced boat keeper from the Isle of Skye. He was, John McArthur, the great-great-grandfather of the famous yachtswoman Dame Ellen McArthur.

Ownership transferred to Amber Valley Borough Council in 1974 and over the next 30 years the gardens were well maintained but the fabric aged. The tea rooms became derelict and the wooden promenade began to sink into the river.

In 2007 Amber Valley Borough Council embarked on a major restoration project to bring the gardens back to their former glory. £750,000 was invested by the Borough Council and Friends Group and following the restoration English Heritage upgraded the park to Grade II*.


Play Area - the park has a well-equipped play area suitable for all ages and has information about the history of the site, the play equipment reflects the historical industry in the area to help children understand heritage in a fun way.

Bandstand - a dodecahedron bandstand with a timber balustrade and copper roof, built in 1906 is a central feature of the gardens, and is Grade II listed.

Boating – this has been an important feature of the gardens since 1905. Boating on the river is available from mid-May until mid-September from 12noon Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays only, for a small fee. Find out prices and opening times...

Toilets - are available on site daily throughout the summer months from the end of March through to the end of October. For the remainder of the year the toilets will be open when the park keeper is in attendance.

Former Tea Rooms - currently derelict, but are scheduled for refurbishment in the future.

Poetry Trail - There is a poetry trail around Belper, which uses a piece of artwork to depict the chosen poem, there are 22 altogether, 3 of which are situated in the River Gardens.

Access / location

The park can be accessed from Matlock Road, Belper. There is a small pay & display car park at the entrance to the park.


The bandstand is used regularly throughout the summer for band concerts. Belper Well Dressings are also held in the park on a yearly basis, up to date information can be found on the Belper Town Council website and the Friends group website

The park is available for events. For more information please contact Landscape Services on 01773 841542.

Larks in the Park
June - 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, July - 2nd, 9th,16th, 23rd,30th August - 6th,13th,20th,27th and September - 3rd, Sundays from 2pm to 4pm.
Free event organised by Belper Town Council offering a variety of musical concerts, plus occasional children’s activities. For further information of the activities taking place during each date please view the following event leaflet. Open Leaflet...

Site management

The park is owned by Amber Valley Borough Council and is managed by the Landscape Services Department.

There is an active Friends Group who carries out improvement projects and support events in the gardens, they are always looking for grants and volunteers, please check out their website for further details of action days and contact details

Responsible use of the site

The Borough Council are always keen to promote positive use of the site and a good park user guide is visible at all entrances to the park.


Belper River Gardens 1

Belper River Gardens 2

Belper River Gardens 3

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Do you need further information?

If for some reason you are unable to find the information which you require on our website, you can contact us by the following methods.

address logoAmber Valley Borough Council, Town Hall, Ripley, Derbyshire, DE5 3BT
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