|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Little Eaton (SK363400)|
|Distance:||10.3 miles (16.6 km)|
|Meets:||A38, A61, A38, A609, B6441, B6016, A38, A61|
|Route outline (key)|
The B6179 is a medium-length road in east Derbyshire. It was originally the mainline of the A61 before that road was bypassed by a dual carriageway and renumbered A38 all the way to Mansfield. The A61 is now split into two parts, with a small section heading into Derby.
The road starts at a large at-grade roundabout junction with the A38 and the A61 some 4 km north of Derby city centre. At first the road closely parallels the A38 to our right, but soon veers a little to the left to enter the village of Little Eaton. The journey through the village doesn't take too long, and we are soon in open countryside again. The road here shows off its former glory – it used to be three lanes wide at this point, but is now just two lanes with a cycle lane in each direction and a hatched central section. This still proves useful for overtaking, as slower vehicles will move left into the cycle lane, allowing faster vehicles to pass over the hatched area. Progress along here is therefore rapid, as we chase the A38 – which is again only a matter of a few dozen metres away to our right. A right turn provides a route to Coxbench underneath the dual carriageway.
Direct connections to the A38 are rare on our trip, but one beckons here. It is a very asymmetrical junction, given that the two roads are going in the same direction – first we meet the off-slip from the northbound road to our right, then the northbound off-slip peels away to our left at a triangular island. Passing under the A38, another triangular island to our right provides access to the southbound route, while the off-slip joins us on the left. Shortly after this tangle of slip roads, we reach the village of Denby, where we meet the A609 – this is what the sliproads were intended for, as there is no room to provide one for the A609 directly. Crossing over the junction (the traffic lights may hold you up), we leave the village behind, and pass by the Denby Pottery factory and its shopping village on the right, and the road returns to a wider, two-lane road.
The road passes through a varied scenery here – one minute rolling fields or woods, the next a factory building or two, the next a village – in this case Marehay village. In fairness, it's not really a village any more, more like a suburb of Ripley, which we enter properly after crossing a mini-roundabout. Since we left the A38 at the start of the route, we have always been on Derby Road. Now we are on the High Street, with the Co-op and various other shops and businesses lining the road.
As we reach a set of traffic lights in the centre of town, things get a little confusing as we enter a one-way system. The B6441 (formerly the A610) joins us from the right, before turning left as we turn right along the loop. Although the first node of the rectangular loop was controlled by traffic lights, the other three have triangular islands with zebra crossings radiating from each one. These can cause the occasional hold ups as pedestrians cross, but they are helpful in regulating the flow of traffic onto the loop itself. At the third node, we leave the loop and continue north along Chapel Street, then Butterley Hill. Now we descend gradually out of the town, and pass underneath the A610 Ripley Bypass, which towers overhead.
After passing some factories on the right, we reach the Butterley Reservoir and the terminus of the Butterley Railway on our left. We pass over the railway and follow the reservoir's edge for a little while, before climbing again up Swanwick Hill, and a short stretch of antique dual carriageway! This dies out as we enter Swanwick village and cross the B6016 at some traffic lights. The road through Swanwick forms a large curve, effectively bypassing the centre of the village (a legacy of when the road was the A61). Some more dual carriageway follows on leaving Swanwick, and we reach a roundabout with a large industrial estate, which includes a service station and Thorntons Chocolate Factory (!). There is one small bit of dual carriageway remaining, as we reach the end of the route at a large grade-separated roundabout with the A38. If you carry straight on, the road reverts to its former A61 designation and on towards Alfreton, Chesterfield, and beyond.