Region: East Midlands

Disabled Facilities: Yes

Category: Day Trip Destinations

Address: Wirksworth Station Coldwell Street, Wirksworth, Derbyshire DE4 4FB

Contact: 01629 823 076 (please quote UKST regarding group discount)



The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway travels through nine miles of beautiful unspoilt countryside from Duffield, just north of Derby to Wirksworth, the Gem of the Peak. The line features great views of the countryside from the comfort of one of our 1950s diesel trains. These trains are popular with young and old alike as you get a brilliant panoramic view and you can see the driver whilst he is driving.

The line features several stations along the route, with Wirksworth sporting on site facilities perfect for educational visits including a museum coach, interpretation boards and a large car park perfect for coaches. The historic town centre is just a stone’s throw away too.

Why is this venue great for School Trips and Educational Visits?

The Ecclesbourne Valley and Wirksworth Station in particular is steeped in history. The line served the many quarries of the area until 1989 and many of the features remain intact. There is a large tunnel where stone trains used to come under the town and there is a very steep line up to the quarries of Ravenstor where stone trains would start their journeys.

Should engineering be the subject, there is nothing more appropriate than railways. The design, the noise and the size of the trains, the rails and the infrastructure that carries the railway is a fascinating subject. Tours of the yard and maintenance area can give pupils a fascinating insight into rail technology from times gone by.

What does a typical school trip or educational visit include?

A popular visit is to arrive at Duffield Station for the 11:15 service to Wirksworth. Many school visits choose to arrive at Duffield by main line train from Derby (around 7 minutes journey time) or drop the coach off in the nearby village.

Our train will depart Duffield at 11:15 and saunter through the valley to Wirksworth, taking around 30 minutes. En route, our officer will explain various features of the route and what can be seen in the valley. This can be tailored to the class age group and the subject area being studied.

On arrival at Wirksworth we can provide interior accommodation in the form of a railway coach for a class to sit and eat a packed lunch, or we can provide a packed lunch which must be ordered when making a booking. If it is a dry day, there’s plenty of seating outside on the platform too.

From there our officer can take the group on to look at some of the features we have. A presentation can be given in our Training Room facility about either the railway or the local history and this can be combined with a visit to our Museum Coach, which includes many artifacts associated with the railway and its history. Many groups then combine this with a trip on the Wirksworth Narrow Gauge Railway, which shows the aforementioned tunnel that came through the town for stone trains and also a waterfall. The maximum group size for this is around 20 so many groups split this up, with half the class taking lunch and half doing this and then swapping over.

As an alternative, some classes have decided to go into Wirksworth town and take a look at the historic features such as the church and quirky streets.

Following a toilet stop and a visit to the Booking Office’s shop, it is popular to take the 14:15 train back to Duffield which will again last around 30 minutes. This train arrives at Duffield at 14:45, which is a convenient time to get back to school for the end of the day.

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This venue has the following accreditation:

The railway prides itself on providing visitors with a great time. We have won the TripAdvisor Star Performer award for two years in a row.

What size groups do they cater for?

We can seat around 100 pupils on the train, although the interior capacity for lunch is limited to 80.

What can they provide you with to support your school trip or educational visit?

An activity pack can be provided at a cost of £40 per class which includes activity sheets linked with what our officer is telling them, photographs and follow up material for teachers to take back to school following the visit. We can provide a sample of this should an organiser wish.

Can you take photos, video or audio? Are there any copyright restrictions?

Children may take as many photographs, video and sound clips as they wish and there is no copyright.

How do you arrange a risk assessment?

We can provide a risk assessment as part of the booking to allow hassle free piece of mind. Our Education Officer has an enhanced DBS/CRB certificate also.

What are the contact details for their education officer?

Our Education Officer is Eric Hills and he can be contacted on the same number. He may not be involved in taking your booking but he can help to answer any specific questions you may have. His contact details will be provided upon confirmation of a booking.

What does it cost?

There are two examples. One is where the group travel in their own reserved area of a public train, for example a coach to themselves. This requires the visit to be on a day when the service is running. You can give us a call to find out this information or visit our website, where the dates are clearly marked. This is the most cost effective option as the charge is just £5.00 per child. There will be one free member of staff per 10 pupils. There is a £40.00 charge per class for the educational pack.

The alternative is to visit on a date when public trains are not running. This will mean that the train is operating just for your group only. The cost of this is £10.00 per child, with one free member of staff per 10 pupils. There is a £40.00 charge per class for the educational pack. The minimum group size for this is 20 pupils.

Is specific clothing required?

No specific clothing required for the trip though appropriate outdoor clothing is recommended.

Do you have first aid on site?

Train crew are qualified first aiders.

What facilities do they have for school trips and educational visits?

Wirksworth Station has two gift shops, a buffet car with seating capacity for 80. Prices vary in the shops depending on the item but many items are below £3.00. School parties receive 15% off in the Booking Office shop.

Are there disabled facilities?

There are disabled toilets at Wirksworth and Duffield Station’s. Wheelchair passengers are accommodated in the Guards area of the train and access to the train is via portable ramps which the train crew assist with.

What are your opening days and hours?

Full details of opening days and train times are on our website. Generally, in the winter is it is weekends and Tuesdays. We don’t operate in January and until February half term due to essential maintenance work, however it may be possible to organise for your group to visit, so please give us a call.

Towards summer we can operate up to 5 days a week so check the timetable for details.

Is there anything else that you feel is important and want to include in your information?

All visits can be tailored to your specific needs so please give us a call.

Age of Children / Pupils: Pre-school 5 – 7 years 8 – 10 years 11 – 13 years 14 – 16 years College University

Type of Visit: Heritage Railways Historical Heritage Museums Outdoor Education

Curriculum Topics Covered: Engineering Environmental Studies Geography History Leisure & Tourism

Months Open: March April May June July August September October November December