Per Sapientiam Constantiamque (Triumph through Wisdom and Endeavour) reads the motto of the borough of Erewash – which seems fitting.

This is a borough of contrasts, one which has forged great heritage through its industrial prowess yet offers areas of outstanding beauty.

To the east of the borough can be found some of Derbyshire’s most inhabited settlements – including Ilkeston and Long Eaton (both of which provide bases for Erewash Borough Council) – whilst head further west and you’ll stumble across rural, picturesque villages.

It is a forward-looking south east Derbyshire district which celebrates great diversity, with communities who come together under the umbrella of Erewash, so named after the river which flows down its eastern border and has played such a big part in its success and identity.

‘Erewash is a place where people want to be; either to live, work, visit or invest’ proclaim the Borough Council proudly on their website.

Indeed, Erewash is home to some 115,000 people, covering some 42 square miles of land.

Great British Life: Breadsall Priory Photo: Gary WallisBreadsall Priory Photo: Gary Wallis

Historically, Erewash’s productivity and reputation was built on coal mining, iron working, textiles and railways.

To this day, whilst it has evolved, it remains a hotspot for manufacturing - notably in textiles and furniture, with Long Eaton renowned throughout the UK as a centre for quality furniture making.

However, water continues to play its part. The Erewash Canal stretches just under 12 miles, beginning its journey from the River Trent at Trent Lock before touching many of the borough’s settlements – including Long Eaton, Sandiacre and Ilkeston – finally arriving at Langley Mill, where it joins the Nottingham and Cromford canals respectively.

From a Derbyshire perspective, Erewash, formed as a borough in 1974, shares boundaries with the Amber Valley, Derby City, and South Derbyshire.

The borough contains three towns – Ilkeston, Long Eaton and Sandiacre - with Ilkeston the largest of the three and the fourth most populated in the county.

Erewash is home to 14 parishes – Breadsall; Breaston; Dale Abbey; Draycott and Church Wilne; Hopwell; Little Eaton; Morley; Ockbrook and Borrowash; Risley; Sandiacre; Sawley; Stanley and Stanley Common; Stanton by Dale; and West Hallam.

The Erewash Valley meanwhile – the landscape that so captured the imagination of D.H. Lawrence – has inspired for generations and continues to today, a heady blend of industry alongside natural beauty.

So yes Erewash, in its entirety, is in many ways a part of Derbyshire that is full of contrasts, and it’s all the more interesting, vibrant and enjoyable for it.


Great British Life: Beautiful Sandiacre Photo: Gary WallisBeautiful Sandiacre Photo: Gary Wallis


The third most populated settlement in Erewash, Sandiacre has grown fairly significantly over the years but, according to the local parish council, prides itself on still maintaining ‘a vibrant and friendly community at heart.’

As with many areas of this fabulous borough, Sandiacre has a proud and extensive industrial heritage and the canal that still runs through the town continues to provide a focal point for life here.

The town contains three conservation areas and boasts the visually impressive St Giles’ Church, which dates to the 10th century.

Sandiacre Town Cricket Club, meanwhile, have achieved notable success in recent history – including twice being named champions of the National Cup.


The village of Breadsall, close to the outskirts of Derby, is a lovely place, surrounded by woodland.

Famous for its priory – which dates back to 1266 and is now the esteemed Breadsall Priory Marriott Hotel and Country Club (the oldest Marriott hotel in the world) - the village’s population is fewer than 1,000 although it is bordered by larger settlements, such as Little Eaton and the aforementioned Derby.

For such an old village, there is naturally plenty of history here. Notable physician Erasmus Darwin died here in 1802, while Breadsall made national headlines in 1914 when local suffragettes set the church on fire.

Ockbrook and Borrowash

While these two villages are often coupled together as a parish (the local cricket club, for example, is Ockbrook and Borrowash CC) they are nevertheless different – albeit complementing – in character.

Separated by the A52, Ocbrook lies just to the north of the road, while the adjacent Borrowash is found to the south.

Ockbrook, a mile to the east of Spondon, benefits from its distinctive Moravian Settlement awash with attractive red-brick Georgian buildings which add to the village’s obvious charm.

The Ockbrook and Borrowash War Memorial, unveiled and dedicated in 1922, is a Grade II listed structure which brings the two villages together – it is located in Borrowash, on Victoria Avenue.


The village of Breaston benefits from a location that has it all.

Just seven miles east of Derby and nine west of Nottingham, cities are within easy reach yet, conversely, Breaston benefits from sprawling countryside which can be reached in a matter of minutes from the village.

At the start of the 19th century its population amounted to fewer than 400 inhabitants, however Breaston has grown steadily over the past couple of centuries to close to 5,000 today.

Despite being a much different village these days, community spirit is still at large. Breaston holds an annual May Day fete and is home to a number of sports teams, pubs and shops.

Long Eaton

A stone’s throw from Breadsall, Long Eaton is a larger settlement, only slightly smaller than the borough’s largest town – Ilkeston – and the fifth most populated settlement in the county.

Just north of the River Trent, the town has a Nottinghamshire post code but is very much a Derbyshire town.

There’s plenty to see and do here, notably the Duchess Theatre and Chatsworth Arts Centre – a multi-purpose community arts venue and entertainment centre which acts as a vibrant and important cultural hub.

The town has many listed buildings, including St. Laurence’s Church, 12th century in origin, while the Edwardian West Park offers plenty of both indoor and outdoor leisure pursuits.


Great British Life: The ruins of Dale Abbey Photo: Tom Herbert, FlickrThe ruins of Dale Abbey Photo: Tom Herbert, Flickr

Dale Abbey ruins

Sometimes less is more and that’s certainly the case when visiting the ruins of Dale Abbey.

Found, as you might expect, in the village of Dale Abbey (named after it), near Ilkeston, the ruins of this former religious house – believed to date back to the early 12th century – are by no means extensive.

However, they are nevertheless incredibly striking thanks to the 40-foot-high chancel window which, remarkably, has defiantly remained standing, many centuries after the original structure fell into decline.

For lovers of folklore, Dale Abbey is the recorded site of Allan-A-Dale’s wedding in the third Robin Hood story.

This is also a lovely area to walk – so the perfect opportunity to combine a nice stroll with a bit of history.

Erewash Museum and Gardens

If you’re looking to take in the delights of Erewash and understand more about the area, the multi-award-winning Erewash Museum is probably a good place to start!

This wonderful museum, located just off the Market Place in the Grade II listed Dalby House, Georgian in origin, is free to enter (aside from special events) and its popularity is recognised by the fact that it has won Derbyshire Museum of the Year on four separate occasions since 2011.

Explore the myriad of interesting exhibitions in a property which was once both a family home and school accommodation and enjoy the gardens which offers lovely views across the Erewash Valley.

It’s also a fabulous and engaging hub for social learning too, so take the kids along!

Trent Lock

Trent Lock, found on Lock Lane in Sawley, has the distinction of being the meeting point of four distinct waterways – namely the Upper River Trent; the River Soar; Trent and Mersey Canal; and the Erewash Canal.

If you’re a boat lover, naturally you will be in paradise. However, there’s much more to do here than spot pretty canal boats.

With picturesque walking and cycling routes aplenty, designated running routes (with 2k, 5k and 10k distance options), and plenty of wildlife to spot (you can even download the Canal & River Trust’s free nature spotters guide online) there’s plenty to see.

With a free council-run car park and ample places to eat and drink, why not make it your next day out with the family.

Bennerley Viaduct

The physical embodiment of the area’s rich industrial history and heritage, Bennerley Viaduct – built between May 1876 and November 1877 – has stood imperiously, practically unaltered, ever since.

Built to carry the Great Northern Railway’s line over the Erewash Valley, it is around quarter of a mile in length and towers 60 feet above the valley floor.

This outstanding example of railway architecture – given Grade II listed status in 1974 - was reopened last year, 54 years after it closed. Where trains once sped through, this is now a wonderful spot to enjoy a stroll and take in the views, with plenty of extended routes close by.

Owned by the charity Railway Paths since 2001, it can be found via the postcode DE7 8XP when using a satnav.

Great British Life: Ilkeston Charter Fair returns this October Photo: Richard BradleyIlkeston Charter Fair returns this October Photo: Richard Bradley


Ilkeston's famous Charter fair takes place each October and is one of the oldest and largest street fairs in the whole of Europe.

The fair sees Ilkeston town centre transformed into a huge fairground, with thousands descending on the town.

The Charter was granted by King Henry III in 1252, making the fair older than Nottingham’s famous Goose Fair.

This year's event takes place Wednesday October 18 to Saturday October 21.


The not-for-profit Erewash Partnership was established in 1994 by leaders of the local business community and Erewash Borough Council with the purpose of bringing together those interested in securing a prosperous future for Erewash.

The Partnership now involves over 400 local businesses, the Borough and County Councils, educational and community organisations.

The partnership aims to promote and encourage enterprise, with an emphasis on encouraging both new businesses and the expansion of existing small businesses, alongside activities which promote the economic and social well-being of the area.

In the first few years of the decade, finance and insurance has been the fastest growing sector in Erewash.


According to BuiltPlace, which provides publicly available housing market research (, the average property price in Erewash stands at £217,601.

BuiltPlace’s latest Detailed Price Paid Report suggests house prices in Erewash grew by 9.9% in the 12 months to March 2023.

By comparison, national house prices grew by an average of 5.6% and prices in the East Midlands as a whole grew by 6.8% over the same period.

Erewash house prices are now 62.4% above their previous peak in 2007, compared to +57.2% for the East Midlands and +58.2% across England. Source: OS OpenData; UK House Price Index.


Great British Life: This hermitage, a hidden gem Photo: The Roaming Picture Taker, FlickrThis hermitage, a hidden gem Photo: The Roaming Picture Taker, Flickr

If you’re passing through Dale Abbey, perhaps to view the aforementioned ruins, don’t miss the fairly unassuming but fascinating gem located close by.

Around 250 metres south east of the abbey remains, on the south side of Sow Brook, can be found a rare and original hermitage cut into the rock.

This hermitage would once have been a secluded home centuries ago to a local hermit, dedicating themselves to God.

It still feels secluded now and you get a sense of the deep spirituality once at play here. Head up steep woodland steps to the large cave where you’ll discover the hermitage, well preserved, cut into the rock.

The hermit(s) who lived here will have lived off alms or under the patronage of nobility who would ask them to pray for their souls and that of their families.

Further remains of the structure are believed to still exist beneath the ground surface.