Six locks saw us reach the CRT services at the Shireoaks Marina. There are another another 23 locks to the top pound including two double and two triple staircase locks. The entire flight is very attractive.
Many of these locks are only 3-5ft deep which might make people wonder why they didn’t build fewer, but deeper locks. Paul Balmer (Waterway Routes) informed us the canal builders were being paid by the lock so consequentially built as many as they could.
Albert’s Dock is located just before Dog Kennel Bridge.
It was here in the 1840’s that stone was conveyed from the nearby Anston Quarry and loaded into wooden narrowboats. Each boat was pulled by horse the thirty miles down to Stockwith on the River Trent. There was a busy inland harbour at Stockwith where the stone was transhipped into Humber Sloops. These sailed down the Trent to Hull before entering the North Sea and down the coast to the Thames Estuary. Eventually the vessels docked at Westminster where the stone was used to build the Houses of Parliament. Now that’s something I didn’t know about the Chesterfield Canal!
Several hundred metres beyond Dog Kennel Bridge the canal becomes unnavigable, however it’s still possible to walk the towpath to Norwood Tunnel Portal. The original tunnel was just over 2½ kilometres long but has partially collapsed and is now derelict. The bricked up eastern postal can be partially seen through the vegetation.
I decided to walk part of the tunnel route and was rather surprised to see the old tunnel alignment didn’t seem to be very deep. I do wonder why the planned restoration doesn’t include taking the top off the tunnel.
You may be able to see the black and white sign in the above photo. If not…….
The restoration plan involves a shorter tunnel exiting near Kiveton Waters which is currently a fishing area. The ponds will be turned into a marina.
The following extract from the Waterway Routes map of the canal shows the location of the eastern tunnel portal and the proposed marina.
Time to start heading back to the Trent. Thank you to our local readers who have left informative comments about the Chesterfield Canal.