Tracking Our Heritage

In 2018/19 the trust successfully secured funding for an oral history project which focused on the railway between Matlock and Rowsley. There were many successful outcomes from the project and the trust continues to promote the sound recordings, transcripts, booklet and exhibition which were just some of the products from the year-long work.

Having successfully secured a national lottery grant the trust invited people to record their memories of the Matlock, Darley Dale and Rowsley section of the former Midland railway line.

“Tracking our Heritage” was launched on Monday 16 April 2018 by the President of Peak Rail, Pete Waterman. He unveiled the full details of the project at a press briefing which took place at Darley Dale station.

He commented, “It’s important we don’t lose our history. The spoken word is one of the best ways to record events. People’s memories are fantastic and you find out stuff they would have never written down.”

The Derwent & Wye Valley Railway Trust project has received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with additional financial support from the Peak Railway Association, Darley Dale Town Council, Matlock Town Council, private individuals and DWVRT itself.

The research explored and recorded the oral histories of:

  • former emplyees of the railway;
  • people who used the railway for all sorts of purposes
  • volunteers who have worked on Peak Rail since it was developed as a heritage line over 40 years ago.

“Tracking our Heritage” trained volunteers in how to conduct interviews, research historical documents and record information. Interviews and researched work was used to produce an exhibition, a booklet and a digital archive. Recordings and transcripts were deposited at the Derbyshire Record Office, the East Midlands Oral History Archive at the University of Leicester, and in the archives of the Peak Railway Association.

“Tracking our Heritage” engaged the local communities of Matlock, Darley Dale and Rowsley in uncovering local heritage based around the section of the former mainline railway, by working with people of many ages. Young people, schools and volunteers produced a “timeline” history of the heritage railway operation and the former mainline railway reproduced in the booklet. To get people involved the trust held “show and tell” events where people brought along memorabilia, shared stories and exchanged memories.

The booklet and exhibition banners can be viewed in the pdf files below:

Tracking Our Heritage Booklet

Tracking Our Heritage Exhibition Banner

Groups can always contact us if they want someone to talk to them about this project. If you would like us to loan you the pull-up exhibition banners, please contact us at

Sound Clips