Woodside Festival


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Waking up the Whistlestop

Wednesday 5th July 2017

If you’ve ever visited Matlock Bath by train or car, you will no doubt be familiar with the iconic and beautiful Grade II listed station building which stands in the car park at the side of the railway line.

The old booking hall has been standing empty for some years now but Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has just given it a new lease of life and is re-opening its doors to the public this month.

Relaunched as the Whistlestop Discovery Centre, the building is to be a multi-functional visitor hub which will be used to highlight the work of the Trust, provide information about the local area and create a community space. The initial refurbishment has focussed on stripping back to the original Victorian interior and opening up the windows to reveal a light and airy space.

The new centre provides a flexible space which local entrepreneurs and the community can use to try out new business ventures or run events. There is also a small shop selling refreshments, gifts and a great range of wildlife inspired products, including Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s own beef boxes from their conservation farm at Woodside near Ilkeston. There are also picnic benches and a wildlife garden for visitors to feast their eyes on while enjoying a cuppa or an ice cream.

Leading the project, Ellen Fineran from Derbyshire Wildlife said “It’s been fantastic to see this wonderful place come back to life. It was a real voyage of discovery as the plaster boards came down and this beautiful building was revealed. It’s also been really inspiring to talk to visitors, local businesses and residents of the village about our plans – they are as excited as we are to see the building open again. This is really just the start of an exciting new journey for the Whistlestop as we still have lots of plans for further developing the site into a really inspiring and inspirational space for everyone to enjoy.

As a registered charity, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is entirely dependent upon donations, legacies, grant funding and the support of its 14,000 members. Volunteers are also a vital part of the Trust’s work and Ellen says that the Whistlestop offers lots of volunteering opportunities “We need more volunteers in all areas of the project: from looking after our wildlife garden, helping to build our model railway or helping out in the shop and café. If you fancy making new friends and being part of something really special in the heart of the community please get in touch with us!

The Whistlestop Discovery Centre in Matlock Bath, DE4 3PT opens to the public on weekends from Saturday 1st July and then on selected Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays over the summer school holidays from Saturday 22nd July. Opening hours are 11.00am til 4.00pm