Council and canal trust join to undertake canal restoration

Published: Wednesday, 05 April 2023

A DISUSED section of the Chesterfield Canal is to be restored by Derbyshire County Council and Chesterfield Canal Trust for the benefit of local residents, visitors and wildlife, we are informed.

The mile long section in Renishaw, which lies close to the original canal alignment, is land-locked and virtually empty of water.

Renishaw2020Make structure watertight

Work is needed, subject to planning permission, to make the structure watertight and rebuild the overflow-weir so it is ready to connect to further sections of the canal when they are restored. A temporary pumping system would need to be installed to supply water from the Rother to the canal and the towpath resurfaced to make it suitable for pedestrians and cyclists.

Further work is also proposed to resurface a further length of towpath to provide a circular surfaced route incorporating the Trans-Pennine Trail. And new picnic benches, signage and cycle stands would also be installed.

The original canal was completed in 1777 and stretched 46 miles in total, providing navigation between the Rother at Chesterfield and the Trent at West Stockwith in Nottinghamshire. The section in Renishaw was rerouted in the 19th century with the building of railways.

Wider ambition

This latest project—which is being carried out by the council and the Trust as part of the Chesterfield Canal Partnershipis part of a wider ambition to make the whole route from Chesterfield to Kiveton navigable with nine miles yet to be restored.

Councillor Carolyn Renwick, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Environment, explained:

“The Chesterfield Canal is an important part of our county’s industrial heritage, built as a trade route at the dawn of the industrial revolution.

“As well as improving the area visually, restoring the Renishaw link will bring opportunities for recreation as well as improving biodiversity. And it will take us one step closer to opening up the whole route to canal boats which would bring further economic benefits from the increase in tourism.”

Cost around £400,000

The restoration is expected to cost around £400,000 with the council contributing £200,000, the trust providing £150,000 and the remaining £50,000 being funded by the Inland Waterways Association. The work will be done by volunteers from the trust.

Peter Hardy, Chair of the Chesterfield Canal Trust, remarked:

“We know that local residents are keen to see the re-watering of the canal around Renishaw and this project has been made possible thanks to the close cooperation between the trust and Derbyshire County Council. It’s also thanks to the enthusiasm of local people who will join with us to create an area they will be proud of for walking, cycling, fishing and water sports.

“The improvement in biodiversity and an increased sense of wellbeing will undoubtedly follow the completion of the works, which we anticipate will start this summer.”