The Henmore Dale Light Railway (HDLR) has been built in and around the Derbyshire Peak District gateway town of Ashbourne and also along parts of the valley of the Henmore Brook. Originally constructed in the late 1890s, the line operated as a general carrier up the Henmore Valley as far as the village of Hopton.
Between 1905 and 1910 the line was extended northwards into the heart of the Peak District, so that the vast quantities of limestone there could be transported easily from the many quarries in the area. At the same time a branch line from Park Road Station was built through the centre of Ashbourne to the NSR / LNWR joint station on the other side of the town. Here a new narrow gauge station was built, Ashbourne Exchange, with passenger and goods interchange facilities with the standard gauge railway.
Local companies took advantage of the narrow gauge railway’s expansion: Cockayne & Sons built a sawmill, with a private siding connection to the branch line, which made the transportation of raw materials (large logs) and the finished products (sawn timber) very easy indeed. Continuing towards Exchange, the skyline is dominated by the creamery, processing milk from the Henmore Dale and sending it country wide.