The Millennium Meadows – Duffield
Monday morning, the weather looked pretty good. The Fireman had suggested we go on a train trip somewhere. Seemed like a good idea to me, we’ve not been on the train for a while. So we headed to Long Eaton train station. It’s probably less than 15min on the train to Derby, so I thought we’d go a bit further. I picked Duffield, about a 30min trip.
We packed sandwiches, the cupboards were a bit bare so it was strawberry jam and some odd bits of fruit left in the fridge drawer. It costs £6 for a return ticket, not too bad, although when the boys get to ticket paying age, sadly I don’t think i’ll ride the train very often. Once at Duffield we noticed an old engine and carriage on a rail line to the side of the main station. Turns out this is the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. I’ve heard of it, but never realised it went from Duffield. We went to explore the station a little more and a railway staff, probably a dedicated volunteer, asked if the boys would like to have a sit in the driver’s cabin. Would they ever!!!???
In they hopped and started grabbing hold of every lever in site, the kind gentlemen didn’t seem to mind in the slightest. What a treat for them! After the excitement of trains we headed for our planned destination of the Millenium Meadows, an initiative led by Duffield community to create a woodland and re-introduce wildflowers. Although we arrived by train there is a car park with plenty of spaces right next to the entrance to the reserve. Our walk from the station was very easy as the kind railway gentlemen showed us a sneaky shortcut through the Ecclesbourne Valley Station, the walk is not that far otherwise, but maybe a bit far for pre-school aged children. As we walked towards the reserve the weather deteriorated rapidly and as soon as we arrived onto the site we ran under trees for shelter. The boys didn’t seem to mind, they set to work on building a house. In between the showers we wandered along the nicely mown grassy paths down towards the River Derwent. The rain began again, it was at this point when I really wished I had the car!
Back into the trees for more house building. We managed to spend an hour or so here and I would definitely like to take the boys there again (although I was slightly put off by the amount of dog poop) preferably on a drier day and with the car! Knowing a large amount of the site has been seeded with wildlflowers I would have thought a sunny August day would be ideal. We walked into the main town and picked up essentials for my ravenous crew to chomp through on our return journey (crisps, more sandwiches, the jam ones were obviously not enough and juice). Turns out train journeys are fun, but VERY exhausting.
You’ll also find info and be able to share you experiences of Millenium Meadows on The Woodland Trust’s VisitWoods website.