Railway line boss has tourism hopes

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The vice chairman of a railway line is trying to put a historic Dales town on the tourism map.

Neil Ferguson-Lee, of Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, has launched Destination Wirksworth – a campaign to increase the profile of the town to encourage visitors.

Neil has the idea in his head for a number of years and has been in talks with local businesses with regard to it.

“Wirksworth has always been the ‘nearly’ town of the Derbyshire Dales and I think it needs to pull itself up by its boot straps,” he said.

Neil, who has lived in the town for 20 years, said that since the railway linked up to Duffield a year ago, he has seen an increase in his profits of 400 per cent, and he believes that this new link to Wirksworth could prove invaluable when it comes to encouraging visitors to the town.

He continued: “People can walk from the railway station into the centre of town and see what’s there and maybe have something to eat.

“I see this as a campaign to promote the town itself.”

Neil said he saw the campaign as being trader based and has been speaking to businesses in town, as well as Wirksworth Town Council, in order to drum up support for it.

Among his ideas for Wirksworth are a good beer guide, which will point out to people the places they can go to get a good pint, and an eating out guide.

“Wirksworth has always been in the shadow of everywhere else,” he said.

“It is a very attractive town in a good location.

“Let’s start making Wirksworth an attractive place to go and visit.

“I have always said that Wirksworth was the area’s best kept secret.”

The next step for Destination Wirksworth is to for posters advertising the campaign to start going up around the area.

Neil will be displaying them in his trains as well as East Midlands Trains and the town itself.

He also hopes to develop a website in the future.

“I am deliberately taking this slow,” he explained.

“It’s a multi-year campaign and I’m hoping it will build momentum.”