Ambergate is a village in Derbyshire, England, situated where the River Amber joins the River Derwent, and where the A610 road from Ripley and Nottingham joins the A6 that runs along the Derwent valley between Derby to the south and Matlock to the north. Sawmills and Ridgeway are neighbouring hamlets, and Alderwasley, Heage, Nether Heage and Crich are other significant neighbouring settlements. The village forms part of the Heage and Ambergate ward of Ripley Town Council with a population of 5,013 at the 2011 Census.[1] Ambergate is within the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage site, and has historical connections with George Stephenson; Ambergate is notable for its railway heritage and telephone exchange. Ambergate has an active community life, particularly centred on the school, pubs, churches, sports clubs; and annual village carnival which is relatively large and consistent locally, with popular associated events in carnival week and throughout the year. The carnival is organised by a voluntary committee. Shining Cliff woods, Thacker's woods and Crich Chase border the village.

It is about 6 miles (9.7 km) south of Matlock at the junction of the A6 trunk road and the A610 to Ripley. A mile east of Ambergate is Heage with its recently restored 18th century windmill.

Until the early nineteenth century it was known as Toadmoor, from the Derbyshire dialect "t'owd moor"[2] (the old moor) with no more than a few artisans' cottages. The southerly half of the present village is still shown as such on the Ordnance Survey's maps. The name Amber Gate was originally applied to the tollgate for the Nottingham turnpike, but adopted by the North Midland Railway for Ambergate railway station which is located on the Derby-Matlock Derwent Valley Line.

The turnpike to Matlock was opened in 1818. Until then the main road from Belper northwards had been through Wirksworth and such traffic as there was, would have been mainly cotton from Arkwright's Mill at Cromford. However, the Cromford Canal, opened in 1794, also passes the village. In 1818 the turnpike to Nottingham was opened with a toll house at the junction.

The canal towpath can be followed from here to Cromford Wharf, passing High Peak Junction, which is the start of the High Peak Trail). This 6-mile (10 km) section is listed as a Biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI),[3] and also forms part of the Derwent Valley Heritage Way.

In 1840 the North Midland Railway opened with a station at 'Amber Gate' which brought trade for 'omnibus and posting conveyance' to Matlock, which was becoming a fashionable spa town. By 1867 there was a through line from London St.Pancras to Manchester, as well as to Leeds. Ambergate became an important interchange and, in 1876, Francis Hurt built the 'Hurt Arms' to replace the former 'Thatched House Tavern and Posting House' which the Midland Railway had converted into three cottages (now Midland Place). The main railway line runs through the elliptical Toadmoor Tunnel designed by George Stephenson.

In 1791 Benjamin Outram and Samuel Beresford had built kilns at nearby Bullbridge to process limestone from their quarry at Crich. George Stephenson had discovered deposits of coal at Clay Cross and realised that burning lime would provide a use for the slack which otherwise would go to waste. He leased Cliff Quarry at Crich, and built eight limekilns beside the railway. Within a year they had grown to twenty. They were connected by another wagonway known as "The Steep", a 550-yard (500 m) self-acting incline at a slope of 1 in 5.

By 1851 the tiny hamlet had grown to a population of 206. In 1876 Richard Johnson and Nephew opened the wireworks by the river. In 1931 the population had reached 901, rising to 1,794 in 1951.

The quarry and the wagonway closed in 1957 but the limeworks carried on until 1965 and the passage of the Clean Air Act. The kilns were demolished the following year to build a storage facility and processing plant for natural gas.

In 1966 the first fully operational electronic telephone exchange in Europe opened in Ambergate. This was also the first small to medium electronic exchange in the world and the first of many TXE2 type exchanges.[4]

Across the valley - - 784901

Ambergate from the west
Ambergate is located in Derbyshire
Location within Derbyshire
Population5,013 (Heage and Ambergate Ward of Ripley, Derbyshire 2011)
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townBELPER
Postcode districtDE56
Dialling code01773
AmbulanceEast Midlands
EU ParliamentEast Midlands
UK Parliament

Public houses

Ambergate 1880
The Hurt Arms in 1880

Ambergate has two pubs: The Hurt Arms on the A6 and The Excavator on the A610 at Bucklands Hollow.


  1. ^ "Ward population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  2. ^ Farmer. A, (2015) Derwent Valley Mills Through Time, Stroud: Amberley Publishing
  3. ^ "Cromford Canal: Site of Special Scientific Interest, Natural England".
  4. ^ "Events in Telecommunications History". BT Archives.
  • Jewell, R., (1995) Images of Belper & Ambergate, Derby: Breedon Books
  • The North Midland Railway Guide, (1842) Republished 1973, Leeds: Turntable Enterprises
  • Cooper, B., (1983) Transformation of a Valley: The Derbyshire Derwent, Heinneman, republished 1991 Cromford: Scarthin Books

External links

2014 Amber Valley Borough Council election

The 2014 Amber Valley Borough Council election took place on 22 May 2014 to elect members of Amber Valley Borough Council in England. This was on the same day as other local elections.

2019 Amber Valley Borough Council election

Elections to Amber Valley Borough Council in Derbyshire, England took place on Thursday 2 May 2019. One third of the council seats were up for election. The Labour Party gained overall control of the council, taking a total of 5 seats from the Conservatives. Meanwhile, the Green Party also gained representation for the first time. After the election, the composition of the council was:-

Labour 25

Conservative 18

Green 1

Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway

The Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway was an early British railway company, which opened in 1850.

The original aim was to link to the proposed Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midlands Junction Railway at Ambergate to link Manchester with Boston and the East Coast. It would proceed eastwards north of Ripley and Eastwood to a proposed Midland Railway line from Bulwell to Nottingham. There it would join the latter's Lincoln line as far as Colwick where there would be a junction. Proceeding to Grantham and Spalding, there would be two branches, one to Sleaford, the other to BostonNot only were subscriptions minimal, some investors reneged on their pledges - a common state of affairs in early railway history. In the event it only opened from Nottingham to Grantham. The line is still in use.

The Ambergate, Nottingham and Boston and Eastern Junction Railway Act received Parliamentary approval on 16 July 1846, and the engineer was John Underwood, an associate of John Urpeth Rastrick.For all that it crossed a number of river valleys, the terrain was favourable. The major engineering work was the viaduct at Radcliffe over the River Trent. The Trent Navigation Company insisted on a clear span of at least 100 ft and so a 110 ft cast iron arch was constructed on the northwest side, with three masonry arches on the approach.

Ambergate, Western Australia

Ambergate is a town in the South West region of Western Australia. It is located 238 km south south west of Perth and the closest populated town is Busselton.

Bushfires threatened homes in the town in 2013 when a blaze started under suspicious circumstances. The fire claimed 40 hectares (99 acres) of nearby bushland before being contained.

Ambergate railway station

Ambergate railway station is a railway station owned by Network Rail and managed by East Midlands Trains (EMT) train operating company (TOC). It serves the village of Ambergate in Derbyshire, England. The station is located on the Derwent Valley Line from Derby to Matlock, which diverges from the Midland Main Line just south of the station at Ambergate Junction.

Ambergate–Pye Bridge line

The Ambergate–Pye Bridge line is a partially disused, partially restored, and partially developed for other uses railway line in Derbyshire, England. It was a short east–west line linking the Midland Main Line with the Erewash Valley line. The line was opened by the Midland Railway to freight on 1 February 1875, and to passenger trains on 1 May 1875. The Midland was grouped into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) in 1923.

Butterley railway station

Butterley railway station is a preserved railway station on the Heritage Midland Railway - Butterley in Derbyshire.

Cromford Canal

The Cromford Canal ran 14.5 miles (23.3 kilometres) from Cromford to the Erewash Canal in Derbyshire, England with a branch to Pinxton. Built by William Jessop with the assistance of Benjamin Outram, its alignment included four tunnels and 14 locks.From Cromford it ran south following the 275-foot (84 m) contour line along the east side of the valley of the Derwent to Ambergate, where it turned eastwards along the Amber valley. It turned sharply to cross the valley, crossing the river and the Ambergate to Nottingham road, by means of an aqueduct at Bullbridge, before turning towards Ripley. From there the Butterley Tunnel took it through to the Erewash Valley.

From the tunnel it continued to Ironville, the junction for the branch to Pinxton, and then descended through fourteen locks to meet the Erewash Canal at Langley Mill. The Pinxton Branch became important as a route for Nottinghamshire coal, via the Erewash, to the River Trent and Leicester and was a terminus of the Mansfield and Pinxton Railway.

A 6-mile (9.7 km) long section of the Cromford canal between Cromford and Ambergate is listed as a Biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Local Nature Reserve.In addition to purely canal traffic, there was a lively freight interchange with the Cromford and High Peak Railway, which traversed the plateau of the Peak District from Whaley Bridge in the north west, and which descended to the canal at High Peak Junction by means of an inclined plane.

Derbyshire and Staffordshire extension

The Great Northern Railway's Derbyshire and Staffordshire extension, locally known as the Derby Friargate line is a now-closed railway line that linked Nottingham and Grantham to the east of the East Midlands counties to Burton upon Trent to the southwest of the area. It was an extension of the Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway which had been acquired by the Great Northern Railway. The route cut a direct line through the midlands industrial city of Derby whereupon an impressive warehouse, large sidings, and the pretty Derby Friargate Station were constructed. The line had such an impact on Derby, Friargate, and the surrounding areas that it became known as the Derby Friargate line.

The GNR later acquired the Stafford and Uttoxeter Railway in July 1881, gaining a through route from Grantham to Wales via the Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway.

Derwent Valley line

The Derwent Valley line is a railway line from Derby to Matlock in Derbyshire.

The line follows the Midland Main Line as far as Ambergate Junction, which is just south of Ambergate railway station, continuing to Matlock, following the course of the River Derwent.



Former branch line diverges to Wirksworth. This route has been sold and is disconnected from the mainline, but has reopened as the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway heritage railway.



Route diverges away from the Midland Main Line just to the south of Ambergate station.



Matlock Bath

MatlockLocal passenger services are operated by East Midlands Trains from Nottingham via Derby to Matlock. Services are approximately hourly Monday to Saturday (with a two-hourly service on Sundays). Two trains per day start/terminate at Derby rather than Nottingham.

The line is operated as one single line block section from Ambergate, using the No Signalman Key Token system under the supervision of Derby PSB. The driver of each train heading for Matlock must collect a token from the machine at Ambergate station before proceeding, and return it prior to leaving the branch.

In addition to the local passenger services, the line between Derby and Ambergate Junction is also used by East Midlands Trains and CrossCountry fast services along with freight services operated by various companies.

The Matlock branch lost its through services to London St Pancras in 2004 when (the former mainline operator) Midland Mainline replaced its Class 170 Turbostar diesel units with Class 222 Meridian sets. The Meridians are not yet cleared to work on the branch.

Grantham Ambergate Yard railway station

Grantham Ambergate Yard railway station was first opened by the Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway in 1850 between Grantham and Nottingham as its first terminus.

In some literature it is referred to as "Old Wharf". However, that may have been its location adjacent to the Grantham Canal.When the Great Northern Railway arrived in 1852, the ANB&EJR acquired running rights into its station.

The station closed on 1 August 1852.

Hammersmith railway station

Hammersmith railway station is a heritage railway station on the Midland Railway - Butterley in Derbyshire.

There was no station at this point originally, being situated on the Ambergate to Pye Bridge Line. However, when the line was reopened, the A38 road prevented any further westward extension.

Hammersmith is used as terminus with a run-around loop. Trains normally proceed from here eastwards without stopping at Butterley railway station which they left a few minutes previously. The location of the terminus allows passengers to cross the causeway over Butterley Reservoir.

There is no public access at this point; passengers are instead advised to use Butterley railway station.

The signal box at Hammersmith was originally at Kilby Bridge in Leicestershire. Built in 1900, it was closed by British Rail on 29 June 1986 and moved to the Centre in August 1986. It was re-erected at Hammersmith in 1987 and commissioned in September 1989. It is a standard Midland Railway type 3B 'box.

There has been some discussion that the line could be extended westwards under the A38 and onto Sawmills as finances allow.

Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway

The Manchester, Buxton, Matlock and Midland Junction Railway ran from a junction with the Midland Railway at Ambergate to Rowsley north of Matlock and thence to Buxton.

In time it would become part of the Midland Railway's main line between London and Manchester, but it was initially planned as a route from Manchester to the East of England, via the proposed Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway which would meet it a little further north along the North Midland line at Ambergate. The Act for a line from just south of Stockport to Ambergate was passed in 1846.

Midland Main Line

The Midland Main Line is a major railway line in England from London to Sheffield in the north of England. The line is under the Network Rail description of Route 19; it comprises the lines from London's St Pancras station via Leicester, Derby/Nottingham and Chesterfield in the East Midlands.

Express passenger services on the line are operated by East Midlands Trains. The section between St Pancras and Bedford is electrified and forms the northern half of Thameslink, with a semi-fast service to Brighton and other suburban services.

A northern part of the route, between Derby and Chesterfield, also forms part of the Cross Country Route operated by CrossCountry. Tracks from Nottingham to Leeds via Barnsley and Sheffield are shared with Northern. East Midlands Local also operates regional and local services using parts of the line.

Oakhurst House

Oakhurst House is a building in Shining Cliff Woods above the village of Ambergate in Derbyshire. The house was built in 1848 by Francis Hurt behind his iron forge in Ambergate. It was owned by the Johnson family of industrialists for many years who were benefactors in the local area, building the parish church of St. Anne at Ambergate.

River Derwent, Derbyshire

The Derwent is a river in Derbyshire, England. It is 66 miles (106 km) long and is a tributary of the River Trent, which it joins south of Derby. Throughout its course, the river mostly flows through the Peak District and its foothills.

Much of the river's route, with the exception of the city of Derby, is rural. However the river has also seen many human uses, and between Matlock and Derby was one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution, providing power to the first industrial scale cotton mills. Today it provides a water supply to several surrounding cities, and its steeply sided valley is an important communications corridor through the uplands of the Peak District.Because of its scenic qualities, the valley of the River Derwent sees many tourist visitors. The upper reaches pass through the Peak District National Park, whilst the middle reaches around the old spa town of Matlock Bath which attracts tourists because of its souvenir shops and amusement arcades, together with attractions such as the Heights of Abraham and its cable car.

Sedgebrook railway station

Sedgebrook railway station was on the Nottingham to Grantham line in the North Midlands of England.

Shining Cliff Woods, Derbyshire

Shining Cliff Woods are on the west bank of the River Derwent near to Ambergate Derbyshire.

In medieval times "Schymynde-cliffe" was one of the seven royal parks within Duffield Frith and, as such, belonged to Edmund Crouchback, Earl of Lancaster. It was an estate within the manor of Alderwasley and in 1284 was given to William Foun who was given the job of maintaining the boundaries between the Pendleton and Peatpits Brooks.

They passed to Thomas Lowe by marriage in 1471 and in 1514 he was granted by Henry VIII the right to "empark and empale" his estate and enjoy "free warren" within it.The woods include an SSSI. Some of the woodland is owned by Grith Fyrd Pioneers, but the Eastern part is (like Alport Height some 2 km to the west), in the ownership of the National Trust, and part of their South Peak Estate. This woodland is on long lease to the Forestry Commission.

The woods contain a popular residential centre, once managed by the Youth Hostels Association but managed independently since 2009. The hostel stands in the lee of the Shining Cliff itself, a low gritstone rockface (grid reference SK333523).

To the east of Shining Cliff Wood stands Oakhurst House, a 19th-century Jacobean-Arts & Crafts country home which has fallen into partial ruin. It was built by Francis Hurt, landowner and resident of local Alderwasley Hall. The house is in private ownership and not accessible to the public.

Stretton railway station

Stretton railway station was a railway station at Stretton, Derbyshire, England built by the North Midland Railway.

Stretton station was first opened in 1841 as Smithy Moor, a year after the line opened, but renamed in 1843. It is also called "Shelton" in the Railway Guide.It was situated at the Derbyshire summit and the highest point of the line, after the stations at Ambergate and Wingfield, and just before the Clay Cross Tunnel.

A station on the Ashover Light Railway (1 ft 11 1⁄2 in (597 mm) narrow gauge) from Ashover to Clay Cross was built adjoining it, and its passenger services were timed to connect with those on the North Midland.

This was mainly used to carry limestone and fluorspar to the Clay Cross Company works, but also supplied around 400 tons of ballast per week to the railway until the quarry closed in 1950.The station closed on 11 September 1961. There are no visible remains.

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