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The Great River Derwent Clean Up!

Paddle Peak, a community group of Derbyshire paddlesport businesses, clubs and professionals have been out in canoes and kayaks all of last week cleaning the River Derwent and its banks.

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On Tuesday the group were joined by the entire staff from Peak UK Kayaking Co and members of Matlock Bath’s local community. The local clean up was also part of the Surfers Against Sewage Autumn Beach Clean week.

The intrepid team cleaned the entire river over a twenty mile stretch from Rowsley to Milford. The mammoth effort took five full days and the Paddle Peak volunteers shifted five truck loads of rubbish from the river totalling several tons. The waste collected included a TV, wheelie bin, wheelbarrow minus the wheel, shopping trolley, road barrier, garden furniture set including parasol, poly bags, plastic bottles, chip trays, polystyrene cups, a broken kayak from the 80’s, a bike and more. Road cones and wet wipes being the most common.

River Clean organiser and Paddle Peak founder Pete Astles, said: "It was really great to clean sections of river that we’ve already done a few months ago. 

"There was far less waste there and instead of pulling big items out that have been there for years we could really work on cleaning out the nitty gritty of plastic bags and wet wipes that are entangled in the trees.

“At the top of the valley we were pulling out agricultural plastic waste, that was stuck in the trees. As we meandered our way down the valley and into the towns, we pulled out bigger items that had clearly just been thrown in and fly tipped. Downstream of Matlock Bath there’s always a load of drinks and food waste that’s been discarded over the fence or blown in off the pavement.”

“The River Derwent is the life blood of our valley. It used to be the power that drove the mills. Cleaning the river preserves the valley and protect its wildlife. Cleaning plastic from the river saves it washing out to sea therefore protecting our wonderful environment for everyone to enjoy.”

– Pete Astles, Founder of Peak Paddles

"Thanks to all of the volunteers from the community of Matlock Bath, Peak UK, Peaks and Paddles, Rapid Horizons, Escape UK, Peak Paddlers, Acclimbatize, Abworx and more for making this huge undertaking possible.

"Further thanks must go to The Square and Compass - Darley Dale, Mason Mills, Willersley Castle Hotel, Cromford Mills, The Family Tree - Whatstandwell, White Peak Distillery, Litchfield Group, and The Hurt Arms - Ambergate for helping Paddle Peak access the river.

"And last but not least our friends at Darley Dale, Belper and Matlock Town Councils for believing in our project, and Derbyshire Dales District Council and Amber Valley Borough Council for their amazing support and collecting all of the rubbish!"

Paddle Peak’s future goals include inspiring local businesses, especially fast food outlets to go plastic free. Attempt to eliminate plastic bags of flour being thrown into the our beautiful River Derwent during the Boxing Day Raft Race, and to provide more rubbish bins and recycling in key areas along the riverside.

If you want to find out more about Paddle Peak’s work and vision for the Derwent Valley checkout there website www.paddlepeak.org