Derbyshire's slim hopes of avoiding relegation were over by lunchtime on Thursday and a crushing innings-and-168-run defeat to Warwickshire rubbed salt deep into open wounds.
Keith Barker took his first five-wicket haul of the season to help rout Derbyshire for 103 in their first innings, from which the absence of any batting points sealed their fate.
With the Derby crowd resigned to disappointment in the LV= County Championship Division One clash, they then saw the home team skittled for 120 in their second innings to compound the misery.
A return to Division Two just over a year after they were promoted as champions was confirmed on the stroke of noon when Tony Palladino was forced to retire hurt at the end of the first innings.
Derbyshire began the day knowing they needed a miraculous turnaround, and for the match at Trent Bridge between Nottinghamshire and Somerset to end in a decisive result, to have any chance of staying in Division One.
They resumed their first innings on 44 for five, still 347 runs behind, and showed little resilience.
Everything rested on Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the first innings and the West Indies Test star looked in the mood to play one of his trademark rearguard innings when he reeled off four boundaries in five balls against Barker to reach a half-century.
With Tom Poynton providing stout resistance at the other end, Derbyshire batted through the first 55 minutes of the morning without loss but Barker then struck a crucial blow when he trapped Chanderpaul lbw half-forward for 52.
David Wainwright gave wicketkeeper Stuart Poynter the first of six catches in the day when he aimed a loose drive at Barker and, after Poynton fell for 19 trying to fend off former Derbyshire fast bowler Boyd Rankin, Tim Groenewald was superbly taken low down off Maurice Chambers.
The innings ended on a note of anti-climax when Rankin rapped Palladino on the glove and, despite treatment, he was unable to continue.
It was no surprise when Warwickshire enforced the follow-on and the prospect of Derbyshire taking the game into a fourth day vanished after lunch as four wickets fell in seven overs.
Woakes had skipper Wayne Madsen taken at third slip and Paul Borrington at second either side of Chanderpaul being caught down the leg side off Barker.
Richard Johnson then fell to a diving catch at fourth slip by Jeetan Patel to give Woakes his third victim, and only some defiant strokes by Poynton saved Derbyshire from a fourth double-figure total of the season before Patel struck twice in successive overs to complete a miserable day for the home side.
Derbyshire coach Karl Krikken admitted his team had paid the price for a poor start to the season.
He told Sky Sports News: "We got it right with six or seven games to go but unfortunately it was too late.
"We changed personnel, got a few of the youngsters in and added to the senior guys and we started to compete. Unfortunately early doors we got blown away."
Krikken is confident Derbyshire have the squad to seek an immediate return to the top flight, adding: "We'll have a few weeks off and then plan an assault on the second division.
"The same personnel who got us up last time are still with us. We'll plan and go again."