During 2011, a series of interpretation boards were erected around the Rowsley site to provide a heritage trail and to give visitors information about the various features of the site.
A large number of people visit the site each year and the trust identified that there was the need to improve historical information for visitors to the site. It was felt that the project would enable visitors to better understand the history, and the present use of the Rowsley site.
Information of general interest for visitors about the history of the area and its wildlife, as well as information for visitors with a more specialist interest in aspects of railway heritage, is included. This project aimed to considerably enhance the quality of visitors’ experience, by providing information that supported informal learning, opening up areas of the site that were not explained unless there were volunteers available to respond to specific questions.
The interpretation boards provide a visitor trail around the site of the former Midland Railway Rowsley Locomotive depot.
By providing this visitor trail, we want to actively encourage visitors to go beyond the passenger station and explore areas of the site that most visitors currently do not get to see.
In addition, the trail links up with the Heritage Shunters Trust, which is developing a visitor facility and display of their locomotives, and with the LMS Carriage Association, who also have a small visitor facility associated with their carriage restoration shed. Both of these organisations are based at the Rowsley site.
Boards are positioned:
- Site entrance - This welcomes visitors and gives an outline of the history of the site;
- Turntable - This board gives a history of the original and restored turntable;
- Picnic areas – This includes information about wildlife on the site and along the railway;
- Engine shed – The engine shed was built on the exact site of the former Midland Railway shed. The board gives a short history of the Rowsley yard and the up to date uses of the site;
- The fifth board is sited on Darley Dale Station and gives a short explanation of the history on this site.