Riverside Path

Updated: July 2023

UPDATE July 2023 Work has started in the area of Goodman logistic park with wooden edging being installed and some sections resurfaced with good quality smooth tarmac. It is understood that the upgrading of the whole section that is currently without a tarmac surface is to be undertaken during FY23-24. Excellent news!

Good tarmac on the section completed in July 2023

The Riverside path is probably Derby’s most popular cycleway and provides an important link from the City Centre to the east of the City. It forms part of Sustrans’ National Cycle Network Route 6. The parts of the path nearer to the city are surfaced with tarmac whilst those sections between the Refuse Site on Raynesway and Borrowash are surfaced with crushed stone.

The crushed stone sections have had problems for years with an inconsistent surface that allows puddles to form with, in rainy weather, these growing across the full width and meaning that users of the path (both walkers and cyclists) need to expect to get wet and muddy – not an encouragement to use the path for commuting.

During the winter of 2019-2020 the extensive rainfall led to the River Derwent flooding sections of the Riverside path and destroying portions of it. The path is constructed of a fabric membrane covered by the crushed stone and, in places, the fabric has been exposed and damaged and large amounts of the crushed stone have been moved and washed away. The sum effect is that, during the summer of 2020, parts of the path were not fit for use and could be dangerous for less experienced cyclists and families.

Some members of DCG worked with Sustrans locally and discussed the puddle situation with the Council (back in 2018) with the agreement that a maintenance plan would be put in place. Due to funding issues this was never delivered.

With the added destruction in 2019-20 winter, the issue was raised again with the Council without success. DCG members Ian Dent, Ian Cooper and Dave Clasby have progressed the problem further and identified that the worst of the problems are within the area owned by Goodman (the logistics company by Fernhook Avenue). After many , many years of negotiation, the City Council has agreed to take on a 99 year lease for the land and have also made an agreement with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust to manage the area (Derwent Meadows Nature Reserve).

After lobbying of Goodman by DCG, the company fixed the problems on their land in November 2020. The fix seems to consist of adding some new gravel / sand / crushed stone mix and rolling the surface. This removes the problems of the large loose stones but leads to a bumpy surface which may wear and improve?

Thus the worst of the flood damage has been fixed but the ongoing maintenance and puddle issues remain. The fixes aren’t complete rebuilds of the path (which is what is needed on the worst sections) but brings the flood damaged sections up to a quality (poor) of the rest of the non tarmacked sections of the path.

Update Feb 2021: Floods at the end of January 2021 have undone all the repair work on the Goodman owned land. Goodman confirm that they are aware of the problems and say they “will arrange repairs once the worst of the winter is over and the flood risk has receded but in the meantime we will ensure that the area is safe”. They are considering options for a more permanent solution to avoid this recurring every time the river rises.

The non-Goodman sections are still subject to extensive puddles preventing use of parts of the path and we still await any news from Derby City Council as to how the issues will be addressed.

Update June 2021: Goodman have, once again, repaired their section which was damaged by the winter floods but have, again, used loose stone. A better job seems to have been done than that in 2020 (some smaller materials and better rolling) but the route is still susceptible to the stone being washed away once the next flood event occurs. Only part of the Goodman section has been repaired and no action has been taken on any of the Derby City owned sections. So, the non tarmac sections of the route remain as “poor”.

Update February 2023. Once again there has been some attention to the route. The worst sections have been refilled with a stone mix and rolled – an apparently better job than previous years. Also, the whole of the non tarmacked parts of the route seem to have been “scraped” to remove the worst of the holes and puddles.

When inspected it was during a period of dry weather but the impression is that the previous puddle issues will recur once there is some rainy weather. The early 2023 fixes have again used a non sealed surface (stone mix which is rolled) which is not resistant to water. As soon as there are floods again and the River Derwent rises onto the path, all the repairs will, once again, be washed away.

A good quality long term solution is still required which is likely to mean a sealed surface for the path (e.g. tarmac possibly with a coloured or chip surface to reduce the “urban” effect).

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