3rd May 2014
On Saturday 3rd May, Chesterfield Canal Trust volunteers and local residents got together to clean up the canal at Renishaw.
Last summer there were complaints about the state of this isolated stretch of canal. The water level was right down, it was full of rushes and there was lots of rubbish.
This short section was restored in 2009 after the old ironworks was demolished and a new housing estate was built. It is not connected to the rest of the restored canal and, at present, there is no supply of water to keep it topped up.
In April, Derbyshire County Council, which owns this part of the canal, engaged a contractor to dig out the channel and clear the rushes. A few volunteers moved the frogspawn first. However, after the contractor had finished, there were still a few rushes left, plus lots of beer cans and other litter; hence the need for the work party.
On a lovely warm day, ten volunteers turned up. They were supported by Paul Bown from the Derbyshire Countryside Service, who brought lots of equipment, including waders.
Some daring souls climbed down into the canal bed to get at the rushes. They dug out the really long roots, which are called rhizomes. This was hard work, not least because there was always the risk of getting their wellies stuck in the soggy clay. Luckily, no one fell in!
Others went along the towpath collecting litter and the rhizomes that were being thrown up, out of the canal. These were collected in wheelbarrows and dumped.
Altogether there were about twenty barrowloads of rhizomes and a dozen bags of litter.
The group stopped halfway through, because a couple of local residents, Faye and Chris, were kind enough to bring them some refreshing lemonade and homemade cakes.
A few rushes had to be left because the water was too deep, and others could not be disturbed because a moorhen was nesting in them.
Despite much of the water being only a few inches deep, it is teeming with fish, so must be reasonably healthy.
It is hoped that the canal will very soon be refilled from the River Rother. Derbyshire County Council has plans to extend the section and to let a local stream feed into it to keep the water level up.
The volunteers with a couple of barrowloads of rhizomes.
In the canal digging out the rhizomes.
Collecting them on the towpath.
Litter picking in waders.
Packing up with some of the bags of litter.
A letter in the Derbyshire Times last August.
To see the report of our last Renishaw Clean Up, click here.
To see some photos of the canal being restored at Renishaw, click here.