This article will be added to regularly. The most recent photos will be at the top, older ones will be shown chronologically further down.

So far, the Trust has spent well over £180,000 on this project.
About £90,000 of this has come in donations.
If you would like to donate to our Restoration Appeal, please click here.

If you would like to help us to ensure that we are not blocked by HS2, please respond to the latest consultation, click here.

November 18th. The guys were digging out the towpath next to the railway abutment walls by hand.

The abutment walls are standing on clay, so they will dig out below, in small sections, and then reinforce it with concrete.

The boards were to stop spoil dropping between the block wall and the L-shapes. Note the pattern on the right.

This is where they have cut into the original wall. The new wall will blend in here.

Meanwhile, Mick was on brick cleaning duties. Hundreds, if not thousands of engineering bricks have come out of the walls. When the mortar has been removed, they can be reused.

He wasn’t on his own – Ralph and Ken were also on the job.

A load of blocks had been delivered a few days earlier, ready for the next stage.

November 6th. The first few rows of blocks are already in. (Photo by Dave France)

November 2nd. Ten of the L-shaped retainers have been installed on the new concrete pad (see October 25th below).

Soon our Work Party will start building a block wall on them.

As you can see the last one is directly against the existing wall, but this will eventually be blended in. There will not be a sharp corner.

October 25th. A glorious day. The mineral line bridge space had been pumped clear of rainwater.

Everything was ready for the concrete pour. This will be the foundation for the next set of L-shaped retainers, see October 11th below.

The Work Party had all the necessary equipment ready.

The concrete pump arrived …..

….. and unfolded its arm, ready to go.

Clive and Bromley were not relaxing, they were on the lookout for …..

….. the first delivery.

Whilst this first truck was still getting into position …..

….. the second one arrived, met by Clive again.

The pumping was soon underway, you can see the concrete in the bottom left corner.

The Work Party was itching to get going.

The Trans-Pennine Trail looked blocked, but users could still get past, carefully supervised.

Nearly full.

Note how the front of the pump truck is jacked up to keep it level.

Malcolm was putting the vibrator in. This got rid of any trapped air. Note the square pattern in the concrete.

Dave was tamping it level. Note the difference between the raw concrete at the far end and the finished article at this end.

The square pattern above was made by reinforcing sheets. Here Dave and Malcolm were adding another.

The pump arm folding up made a dramatic shot.

Pumping finished, but there seemed to be a problem.

More concrete was needed. Dave was thinking of a solution …..

….. when Bromley, Mick and Clive come up with it.

The pump always has lots of concrete left in it that usually gets dumped after cleaning. There were several barrow loads that they brought down.

Malcolm finished off the vibrating. Note the reinforcing sheets at the back. Note also the mark on the wall.

This was to show where the last L-shape will sit. There will then be blockwork blending into the existing wall, hence the kink. Meanwhile Dave was checking his measurements.

All finished, but there was a lot of clearing away to be done.

Dave rang up to report a job well done.

October 11th. There are now supporting bars across the lock to ensure that the Heras fencing does not collapse inwards.

The canal bed is slowly drying out.

The Work Party has been excavating right up to the mineral line bridge in order to put in some more L-shapes and wall.

They will do the bit of wall that will meet up with the existing towpath wall beyond the current Trans Pennine Trail. They will then move the trail onto the new bit, build a new ramp to meet the existing trail beyond where the L-shapes are currently lying and then fill in the gap with the last of the L-shapes.

By the way, you might be interested to watch this video, produced by Chesterfield Borough Council, of a vision of the Staveley Corridor Regeneration Site. It starts at Dixon’s Lock and shows the St Gobain development, Chatsworth Estate’s new village, Hollingwood Hub, the new marina across the road from the Hub, the HS2 IMD and the proposed Talgo site, but the canal stops at Staveley Town Basin!

September 21st. The bund in front of the lock has been replaced.

There is fencing round the lock again. This can only mean one thing.

Hartington Harbour was drained yesterday.

The view under Eckington Road bridge.

Hartington Harbour.

The Loop Road bridge.

You can see the penstock valve, which lets the water out, now shut again, and the pipe beneath it to drain the pound completely. It only took four hours to drain it yesterday.

Staveley Town Lock is a new lock (no. 5A). It is necessary because the mineral railway line 300 metres east is lower than when the canal was last operational. Thus the canal has to drop to get under it. 

Staveley Town Lock is at the bottom left, just above the basin. Hartington Harbour is where the boat is pictured between the two road bridges.
Plan courtesy Derbyshire County Council.

The initial work on the lock, laying the base pad and building Staveley Town Bridge (no. 12A), were done as part of the construction of Staveley Town Basin in 2011. Click here to see the story of this work.

The design work for the lock has been done by engineers from Derbyshire County Council, which owns the site and the canal.

One of DCC’s drawings.

Our volunteer Work Party, aided on occasions by the Waterway Recovery Group (known as WRGies), will do much of the work to construct the lock. This article will be added to regularly to keep you up to date with how the work is progressing.

 

This is a map of the area in 1892. There was no Staveley Town Basin and the railway line was new.

19th February 2010.  The site a year before construction of the basin had started.

June 6th 2011.  The first concrete was poured for the base of the lock.

Three days later and the next lot arrived.

A further four days and there’s more.

A close up of the above pour.

We’re up to June 17th now.

A week later and one side of the bridge was poured.

The last day of June and the bridge deck was being prepared.

July, and the WRGies started the lock forebay.

This is what it was like when they had finished.
The syphon pipe will lead off the gap on the left of the entrance wall.
Note that the contractors had finished the bridge deck.

In December 2011 the contractors inserted stop planks.
Note the clay bund just in front of the lock.

The basin was flooded in January 2012. The bund kept the water away.

However in July 2012, the bund leaked …..

….. which required the lock to be pumped out.

Since the flooding of the basin in January 2012, not much had been done on the site, because our Work Party were building the abutments for Constitution Hill Bridge.

They started on the lock at our Festival in June 2013.

A few weeks later.

The first day of the Waterway Recovery Group camp in mid-August.

Four days later – see how much has been done already.

One group of WRGies was building the entrance to the lock.

Meanwhile, our Work Party was concentrating on the inner walls of the lock. The outer walls were built by the WRGies. The gaps between the walls, where the steelwork is sticking up, will be filled with concrete. We will need hundreds of cubic metres, hence the appeal above.
The recess in the left inner wall is for the lock ladder; the recess further back is for the bottom lock gate.

The other section of work that the WRGies did, was to start a washwall from the Loop Road bridge going back towards the lock. Here the foundations have been dug out.

Now the concrete is being poured.

Here the WRGies have started to lay blocks.

We had a second WRGie camp in September and they continued with the work.

December 9th. We had our first big pour of concrete.
For the full story, click here.

We filled the two outer chambers, the lock itself is in the middle.

Altogether 98 cubic metres was poured. It took a long time …..

….. which meant a floodlit Work Party.

December 22nd 2013.  Our Work Party had to pump lots of water away before starting work. For the full story, click here.

February 23rd 2014.  The inside lock walls are now being faced in brick.

April 8th. Concrete pour for the wing wall apron. For the full story, click here.

April 17th. Offside wing wall shuttering ready for concrete …..

….. whilst towpath side steelwork is being erected.

May 27th. The bridge wing walls are done. Contractors are putting in a diversionary path along the canal bed so that they can put in the nearside wall by the towpath.

June 10th. There was a flood following massive rainfall yesterday.

July 29th.  The Work Party have started to build the walls below the lock.

To build the curve, they had to slice the blocks into wedges.

They’ve kept the offcuts to fill in when doing the counter curve at the other end.

August 13th. This is Week 2 of an incredible Waterway Recovery Group Camp. Click here for the full story.

September 1st. The brickwork for the towpath below the bridge is now complete. Eventually, there will be coping stones on top.

The groove is for the stop planks.

September 22nd. Work continues at a rapid pace.

The towpath comes under the bridge and goes round the corner.

Looking under the bridge, you can see the last three steps.

Here’s another view. The higher steps will go round to the right. The wall ahead is for the quadrant where the gate balance beam will be pushed open and closed.

You will note that the rebar steelwork is narrower here. That is because the next bit of wall will be narrower, only 1m thick. The final section will be about 600mm.

October 5th. This view from the bridge shows the quadrant really well.

Here’s a close up of the curved quadrant wall.

This shows the recesses which will house the bottom gates when they are open.
We hope that you will agree that the workmanship is superb. Our Work Party may be volunteers, but they certainly know what they are doing.

The view coming under the tailbridge. There will be room to turn and to moor in the small pool below the lock.

October 27th. The inside blockwork is now up to full height.

The n-shaped reinforcing bars are ready for the next concrete pour. Unlike previous pours (see below), there will not be an outer block wall; instead wooden shuttering will be used. This will happen when the brickwork is complete.

This view shows that some blocks have been laid on end to be anchors for when the concrete is poured.

November 19th. This is the latest addition to the Work Party’s kit – Denis the Digger.

We bought Denis thanks to a very generous donation from one of our supporters.
To see a video of it being unloaded, click here.

January 18th 2015. A lovely winter’s day. Denis the Digger was in action.

Here is our heroic volunteer Work Party, whom we must thank for doing all this building.

2nd March.  The brickwork on the offside lock wall is now complete.

Impressive by any standards, this was done by volunteers with materials paid for by donations.
You can help by clicking here.

Then there will be more concrete poured behind the walls.

Our block layers have also been cracking on with the offside washwall below the lock.

April 25th.  We are now thinking of the next phase, leading on to Eckington Road Bridge.
Firstly, all this spoil had to be removed. This meant that Denis the Digger …..

….. and Benford the Dumper had a huge job. (Above two photos by David Kiddy)

The brickwork on the lock walls is now complete. Note the WRGies who have come to help this weekend.
Yes, they are shrink wrapped blocks on the left. They are to support the shuttering for the next concrete pour.

May 15th. The brickwork on the offside wall below the lock is almost complete.

This is at water level.

As you go under the Loop Road Bridge …..

….. you come to the winding hole.

This is currently being dug out with the kind help of Colin and Tina Hobbs from the Waterway Recovery Group.
The weir and spillway will be on the right, just this side of the bridge, where you can see the loop in the towpath.

June 12th. Here is a 360 degree panorama from the top of Mount Staveley.

This view from the top shows the compound, the concrete pump ready to pour (click here) and some extra equipment that has been brought in for the Waterway Recovery Group training weekend.

The brickwork on the offside wall is finished – note the stop plank groove.

The view inside the lock. Once the water is in, only the brickwork will be visible.

28th July. Another Waterway Recovery Group Camp. You can see how much more muck has been removed from the winding hole. (The lock is top left – this was taken from Eckington Road Bridge.)

This is under Eckington Road Bridge. The little yellow mark will be the water level. The concrete pad beyond was poured last night. The WRGies will be building a block wall here.

These L-shaped blocks will go all along the right hand side in the top photo as a retaining wall to hold the towpath in place. A block wall will be laid on them and the gap filled with concrete.

This hole has been dug by the onsite contractors. It is visible top left in the photo three above. The spilll weir will be here.

Some of the WRGies are putting in the shuttering for the final concrete pour on the lock.

Meanwhile, the contractors are digging a hole for the foundations for the upper wing walls.

July 31st. It is only three days since the set of photos above was taken, but lots has happened.
The WRGies have started to build the latest block washwall.

Much of the last pour of concrete on the lock offside has been done. Only the coping stones remain to be laid.
The pipes are for the bywash, which will be installed by the contractors.

The contractors have cast the foundations for the bridge towpath side top wingwall.

This is the offside paddle culvert. The paddle gear will go above the top hole. It will connect to a paddle that will cover the hole in the recess. When raised, this will let water go through to fill the lock. The water will come out into the lock via the hole that you can just see on the bottom left. The top lock gate will be resting against the shoulder on the left.

This is our newest bit of equipment. Nev the Lev – a laser level.

Dave is using the business end to set levels.

August 4th. Still things are moving apace, even from a few days ago (see above).
The foundations for the washwall backing up to the Loop Road Bridge were poured yesterday.

Dave and Dave are supervising the installation of the first L-shaped retainer.

Under Eckington Road Bridge, the original canal wall has been exposed …..

….. as has the floor of the canal.

August 6th. The contractors have started work on the spill weir.

This is the track to the top of Mount Staveley.

The contractors are making a new pad to hold our containers (seen in the background) , because they need to dig where they are presently located in order to install the bywash.

Dr Geraint Coles came to see the remains of the original (1770s) Eckington Road Bridge.
We had a dig to find out more. Click here for the story.

August 7th. The Waterway Recovery Group finished their second week-long camp today. What an incredible job they have done. Amongst other work, they have laid 2040 blocks in this washwall.

The onsite contrators have poured the foundations for the offside, upper wing wall for the tailbridge.

The rest of the concrete for the offside lock wall has been poured. All that remains is for the coping stones to be fitted.

August 9th. The latest find is the towpath going under the mineral line railway bridge.

It would have been at the bottom left corner of this photo.

This 1973 photo by L. B. Cooper, would have been taken from virtually the spot just uncovered.

August 16th. Mike Patterson brought his drone today and got some amazing shots.
This is the lock.

This is the new winding hole. Note all the L-shaped pieces in the middle.

These will all go along the towpath side of the winding hole.

This shows the way ahead. The orange fencing top centre is the start of the railway bridge – see above.

August 17th. The onsite contractors have been installing the twin 750 mm pipes that will carry the bywash.

This is the top end.

The above photo is of the hole on the top right. There will be a bend to get the pipes to the bywash inlet in the lock mouth wall.

August 23rd. A concrete pad has been laid, bottom right.

This is to take the first few of 91 L-shaped sections to act as retainers for the towpath. Denis (the Digger) is lowering one into position, guided by Ralph, Phil and Dave.

Once fitted, Ralph clears up ready for the next section.
You can see a video of the next section being fitted by clicking here.
Later, a block wall will be laid on the horizontal parts and the gap filled with concrete.

September 4th. Denis the Digger is being serviced by an engineer from T.C.Harrison JCB. We are very grateful to them for offering this invaluable support.

Meanwhile, the contractors are installing more of the pipes for the bywash. As you can see, they have installed a chamber at the angle.

They will soon reach the outfall at the lock forebay.

This is another chamber at the bottom end.The bywash will empty out via the gap in the washwall.

They have also started to prepare for the upper wingwalls for the bridge …..

….. and for the base of the spill weir.

The recent heavy rain has made life very difficult for those building the washwall at Hartington Harbour.

Worse, we can not install any more L-shaped pieces.

Unless we get some dry weather, this could prove to be a very real problem. This is about half the distance that has to be done with the L-shapes – 92 in all.

September 15th. The contractors were doing the first concrete pour for the upper offside wing wall. As there was not a lot needed, they did not order a pump.

Instead, they used this hopper. The excavator swung it over to be filled from the wagon …..

….. and then took it to the guys doing the pouring. One of them pulled a rope which released the concrete.

The upper joint chamber for the bywash now has channels inserted.

They are setting up the chamber for the intake to the bywash from the lock forebay.

The lower bywash chamber is done, but not yet connected to the outfall back into the canal.

The base of the spill weir has been cast.

September 24th. The contractors were putting the waterproof paint on the concrete laid so far for the upper wing walls.

They are preparing for the second pour.

Our Work Party are up to the top level of blocks at Hartington Harbour, which will be just below water level, so the walls are being finished in brick.

October 2nd. This view from Mount Staveley shows the tailbridge. Eventually, it will be clad in brick.

The contractors are preparing for the final concrete pour on the towpath side upper wingwall.

The steelwork is a real work of art.

A pair of 4½ ton blocks that were lowered into place this morning. They are for the bywash outflow …..

….. as you can see on the left.

Our volunteers have installed some more L-shaped reinforcing panels, pinned them to the foundations with metal rods set in epoxy resin and laid the first course of blocks …..

….. so it was now time to pour the concrete for the next section of foundations.

Before the pour had finished, our heroes were already raking it.

Here they are using the generator-powered vibrator that brings an amazing amount of air to the surface and flattens it out.

Afterwards, it is essential that the driver washes out the truck really well or it would get concreted up!

5th October. The photos above were taken on a really hot Friday. Back to reality with a wet Monday.

Since that Friday, i.e. in two days, sixteen more L-shaped units have been installed and pinned, including a bend; that’s all those to the left of the red writing. An incredible feat.

October 22nd.  Amazing progress has been made with the walls on the towpath side of Hartington Harbour – the winding (turning) hole below the lock.

The block wall, built on the L-shaped pieces is shooting up.

The gap will be filled with concrete. Note the ties at the back, built into the block wall.

The offside wall near the Loop Road bridge is almost finished, just the coping stones to be fitted.

This is Rex, the latest addition to our plant. It is a 9 ton dumper, Dave Kiddy’s new best friend. (It’s not on hire, we have bought it.)

The upper wingwalls for the tailbridge, built by the contractors, are now complete.

They have also cast the top of the lower bywash inspection chamber …..

….. and have connected the chamber up to the outfall pipes.

They have also cast the top of the upper bywash inspection chamber (top centre) and are working on the bywash inflow (bottom right).

October 29th.  There should have been a concrete pour today, but yesterday’s heavy rain has wreaked havoc.

The pour was to have been for the last of the footings in this section, but, as you can see, there has been a bank collapse right next to the Trans Pennine Trail.

November 10th. Despite dreadful weather, work continues. What’s this?

Guys from Hargreaves Lock Gates were installing the quoins.

These are the curved corner pieces that hold the gates in place.

Originally made from carved stone, these are cast iron and bolted in using resin and stainless steel bolts. The quoins at Dixon’s Lock, built in 1994/5 have the same sort of quoins.
Today the contractors were putting a mortar grout down the hole behind them. Eventually there will be a block of carved stone covering them.

At the bottom lies a cup. When the gates are fitted, they will have pins on the bottom which fit into these cups. (Photo by Dave France)

They were fitted yesterday with help from Denis. (Photo by Dave Kiddy)

Before they finish, Hargreaves will also fit ladders in the corners of the basin.

This is the inflow for the bywash that has been built by the contractors working for Derbyshire County Council.

Before they left, they put channels into the top bend.

This is the bywash outlet (left of photo). Fred Cameron has built the arch.

November 12th. The concrete pour for the footings by the towpath, that had been postponed because of foul weather, finally took place.

There was no chance of taking a truck down into the canal (as seen further down), so it had to be pumped from the Loop Road.

Denis (the Digger) was holding up the pipe. Note the reinforcing bar (rebar) in the trench.

As each truck pulled out, the next one was ready. Note that it left the road clean and there was plastic sheeting down by the pump to avoid spillages.

Meanwhile, the second batch was going in. Adrian Shackshaft and Ken Cummings are pulling the pipe along. This is not easy, remember that it is full of concrete.

After each batch, Dave France tamped it down to ensure that it was dead level. The yellow V points to a steel bar that he had driven into the bank at the exact height. He had checked these levels, and those of the shuttering, endlessly with Nev the Lev (see further down).

As the pour got further to the end, less piping was needed because it is nearer to the road. Here a section has been removed.

Terry Berridge, Ken and Adrian took it to a flood on the other side to wash it down.

This photo …..

….. and this one demonstrate wonderfully how these volunteers work. There is lots of joking around whilst waiting between loads, but when the pumping restarts, everyone just gets on with it. At the top in blue is Pete Alvey. He crews several times a week on the John Varley and Madeline, but now that they have a couple of weeks off before our Santa Specials start, he came to help. Next to him is Mick Croft. Remember they are raking concrete – it’s not easy! Malcolm Ashton is operating the vibrator that removes excess air.
To see a video of this, click here.

Later the glorious blue sky had disappeared; the weather remembered that it was November.
When the trench was full, there was a bit left …..

….. so they poured it into our latest dumper, Rex.

Denis then dug the concrete out of Rex …..

….. and poured it between the L-shaped reinforcers and the block wall.
This took some serious operating skills …..

….. so Dave deserved to be pleased.

Ralph O’Gorman was happy with the result. Usually the Work Party volunteers fill these gaps using a cement mixer and 10-litre emulsion buckets, so this saved very many hours of work.

Note the ties and rebar that make sure that it all holds together.

November 15th. More of the L-shaped units were being installed. Note the two volunteers in the background.

Adrian was not asleep, he was drilling holes – a bone-shaking job.

These metal bars are put in the holes with resin. This is extra reinforcement to bind the units to the concrete footings.

Terry was laying blocks. Here he is hitting it with a rubber mallet to get it level.

Denis the Digger got a clean up from Ken and Dave. (Photo by Dave France)

Meanwhile, Fred’s arch over the bywash outlet is finished. What a great job.

These are the ladders in the basin installed by Hargreaves, see above.

The following morning (16th). 22 units had been installed since Thursday’s pour of the concrete footings (see below). All those to the left of the end of the block wall.

November 13th.  Today the Work Party fitted 12 of the L-shaped units, including 2 bends. Note that to fit them on a bend means that the unit has to be cut with a stone saw. Just look at the size of them! (Photo by Dave France)

They started to the left of the red writing.
There are 23 units to go to get to the spill weir; all in a straight line. The another 10 units to get under Eckington Road Bridge (which is to the right) and 25 units below the lock where the ramp is.

December 23rd. The recent vile weather has made conditions worse than ever at Hartington Harbour.

Fred Cameron has been fitting the blockwork into the steelwork of Eckington Road Bridge. He has been carrying the blocks one by one through the ankle deep mud.

Meanwhile the bywash intake is looking good. Note the grooves for the stop planks.

This is the stop plank holder. Concrete lintels will go on top of the blockwork and the whole thing will then be encased in concrete because it is loadbearing. Note the reinforcing bars at the bottom.

Dave has added to the steps that go under the tailbridge.

See how well they fit into the curve of the wall.
Please note that there will be full disabled access round the bridge. This section is too steep for a ramp.

Denis arrived back from its makeover. For the full story, click here.

This was Hartington Harbour on January 15th 2016.

We are often asked how it got this name. The reason is perfectly simple – it is in Hartington. This sign is just before Eckington Road Bridge.

On January 24th, they were clearing out the slab for the spill weir.

The spill weir is on the left. Our volunteers will build a block wall to join up with the L-shaped reinforcers that they have installed all the way back to Eckington Road Bridge. (see further down.)

Meanwhile, Paul Otley’s first job on his first day was to clear out the stop plank holder.

This is the stop plank holder. It will eventually be encased in reinforced concrete because it is load bearing. Lorries will drive over the completed bridge.

The opening for the stop plank holder is on the left. On the right, you can see some steps.

These were finished by Dave France on January 27th. (Photo by Dave France) 

This view shows how they curl down to go under the bridge. There will be disabled access around the bridge.

February 4th. A load of blocks were delivered today.

This is one of the things for which Denis and the dumpers are really useful.

Denis can load 96 blocks onto Benford, take them to their destination and unload them in a few minutes. This would take hours for several volunteers taking six at a time in wheelbarrows – if they could get through the mud.

They are going to the spill weir. A block wall will be built on the right. Note Ken and Mick laying blocks. Fred is laying bricks right in the distance by Eckington Road Bridge.

Meanwhile Dave was fitting a drain at the top of his steps.

February 7th. A lovely sunny day, with 15 volunteers turning out. Terry was not fit to work, but demonstrated the depth of mud.

Mick and Andy were laying blocks …..

….. as was Helen, with Ken who had gone for this shot.

Mandy and Adrian were mixing mortar for four lots of people laying blocks. Not surprisingly, they ran out of cement …..

Which meant that Dave went to fetch some in Denis.

However, much to the dismay of Bromley and Paul, he stopped halfway.

This was because previously, Dave (no not that Dave, the other Dave, keep up!) had cleared a path through the mud with Denis and did not want to have to do it again.

Despite their bemusement at this news, the arrival of Dave (don’t start!) meant that the three of them could set off with the barrow.

However, even the barrow became impossible after a bit …..

….. so the bags had to be carried for the last few yards …..

….. to where Mandy and Adrian had set up the mixer on top of the offside wall.

Then everyone got to mixing again to backfill behind the wall.

Meanwhile, Dave and Ralph had started on the spill weir wall.

February 13th. This is the spill weir at Hartington Harbour. You’ll need to concentrate for the next bit.

The spill weir is the grey bit.
These drawings were photographed in the snap cabin (volunteer welfare facilities) and are working drawings, so we apologise for the presentation.

This is a plan at base level. The canal is at the bottom. The hatched grey bits will be block walls. The gap in the middle is for a culvert in case the canal has to be emptied because this will be the lowest part of this section. The recess will hold a paddle, which will be raised to let the water out, just like lock paddles. The front infill will be concrete, as shown, but the back infill will be hardcore, not concrete. The water will go over the weir into the back chamber and out through the sump chamber, i.e. a pipe that will take it to a drain that leads back to the River Rother.

This is a front view from the canal. You can see the culvert to drain the canal. In normal conditions, the water will drain out under the towpath, which is at the top. This is carried over the weir by precast concrete culverts which will be fitted on top of the block walls. There will be wooden weir boards that can be adjusted to get exact water levels.

This is a plan at towpath level. You can see where the weir boards will slot in. The front wall, into which they slot, will be higher than the wall behind. You can see the 600mm outlet drain at the top.
Well done, you can relax now!

Dave had finished the top of the steps with the drain.

Fantastic workmanship, but I’ll be in dead trouble because of the muddy footsteps.

March 6th. Fred has almost finished off his beautifully neat sloping wall. See how many bricks had to be cut.

Type 1 agggregate was used to fill the space between the two inner walls of the spill weir. Terry and Walter were just looking on here …..

….. but were soon hard at work.

The red machine is a wacker plate. It vibrates and flattens down the aggregate. By the way, that’s George on the far left, laying blocks.
The space between this block and the canal wall (covered in a blanket) will be filled with concrete.

March 10th. We were joined by a 65 tonne machine today.

It was there to fit the culverts for the spill weir.

After a bit of persuading, the first was soon in place.

It was a tight fit getting under the Loop Road bridge. One of the reasons for having such a big machine was that the arm had to be low to get under the bridge. With a 7 tonne load, Denis would have cantilevered over.

Two bits of wood, cut to size, ensured the right spacing.

Click here to see a video of the third unit being lowered into position. All smiles when it was in place.

A wagon arrived with the last two units.

Note the longer spacers this time.

In goes the fifth and last.

Flushed with success, Dave was astonished to see that Fred had turned the culverts into store cupboards!

Eventually, the towpath will go over the culverts. All the bank carrying the current towpath on the right will go. The water that runs over the weir will go down a ditch on the right into a settling pond and eventually back into the River Rother.

Earlier in the week, the lintels were laid across the top of the stop plank holder. This will eventually be cast in concrete because it is load bearing, hence the reinforcing mesh.

The covers for the bywash inspection chambers were cast in the summer, but were finally fitted by the big machine yesterday. This is the top one …..

….. and this is the bottom one.

Here’s another view of the bottom one.

In 79 days, this bridge will be full of people at our Festival. Click here for a 360° video of the site.

March 20th. A glorious day and a very good turnout. There were at least five people working elsewhere when this shot was taken.

Lots of blocks and bricks were being laid. Fred has got on amazingly with the brick lining to the sump chamber. Dave was laying bricks along the towpath side blockwork and Terry, Helen, Walter and Mick were laying blocks. All these people have to be supported by others making and transporting the mortar, doing the pointing etc.

Another load of bricks is being lowered into place by the digger (Denis), having been brought down in the dumper, (Benford).

The space at the front right will be filled with concrete tomorrow as a foundation for the wall linking the spill weir to the underbridge wall.

The stop plank holder has been shuttered ready for concrete tomorrow.

This manhole cover is all that can be seen of the huge bywash inspection cover (see above).

You can just see the manhole cover over on the right. Note the paddle chamber inspection manhole cover, on the left.

March 21st. Our volunteer Work Party had a new toy piece of equipment today. It was a concrete hopper.

Concrete was poured into it from the delivery wagon …..

….. Denis then swung it over to the required position …..

….. where it was emptied by pulling on the rope.

Ken then used the vibrating poker to remove the air, whilst Graham smoothed it out.

The foundations for the link wall were then poured. Denis had scoopped the concrete out of Rex, the dumper in the background.

More concrete was poured into the front wall of the spill weir. Click here to see a video of this process.

You can see that it has all been neatly smoothed off here. In the background, Denis is doing more pouring.

They are using the left over concrete to fill the gap between the L-shaped reinforcers and the block wall. Graham is scraping out the last little bit.

Today’s quiz – what is this?

It’s the stop plank holder, set into the lower abutment bridge wall. Note also the lower bywash inspection chamber now has a manhole cover.

This is the outside of the stop plank holder. The concrete was poured here as well today. The reinforcing in the above photo was to ensure that it did not collapse with the weight of concrete.

March 25th. Problem. We now have the L-shaped retainers (on the right) to fit in that gap on the left. However the ramp is need because it is the only way to get equipment to the other side of the bridge, until the bridge is open.

Serendipitous solution. A builder was knocking down some houses just up the road. He wanted to get rid of the hardcore; we needed some hardcore, so we helped each other.

Denis came and sorted it out.

Meanwhile, Fred was getting on amazingly with brick lining the sump chamber of the spill weir.

March 28th. What a difference a couple of days can make. Mick, Dave and Dave are not pleased. There was a massive downpour last night. This caused a flood, so the WRGies could not work. The flood had almost abated by the time this photo was taken.

This was the scene in Hartington Harbour.

 

 At least the sump drain passed the test.

Not all bad news, the builder was still bringing hardcore.

The bridge sides have been protected by wooden panels.

George has started on the curved wall between the spill weir and the bridge wall.

He has also sealed up the syphon pipe exit – which he built four years ago. Yes, the syphon pipe idea has been scrapped.

 Some WRGies had cut this pipe in half …..

 ….. to put under this outflow pipe to stop the erosion. This outflow empties the water from Eckington Road above and is the main cause of the flooding in Hartington Harbour.

March 30th. Some of the Waterway Recovery Group volunteers have been cutting wedges out of blocks.

These are for George to put in his wall to create the curve. He has used 34 so far, but needs another 42 to finish. By the way, the gap will be filled with concrete.

As you can see, it has dried out a lot in two days since Monday’s downpour.

The Waterway Recovery Group guys finish at the end of the week. As ever, we are really grateful for the work that they have put in on this camp.

Meanwhile, Fred is now halfway up the back wall of the sump chamber with his brickwork.

Dave was putting in a thin fillet of mortar to get the level of the blockwork dead right before the brickwork goes on.

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Bromley is painting the wall! It is PVA to ensure that the thin fillet of mortar adheres properly.

April 3rd. The other side of the bridge has now been sorted out.

Dave was installing land drains. The green pipe will feed excess water into the canal.

On Friday, the space behind the ex-syphon pipe inlet was concreted up.

The minimum order is 4 m3, so the excess was used to fill behind some of the Hartington Harbour walls.

George’s curved wall is up to height. The rest will be done in brick.

One of the half pipes (see below) has now been positioned below the road outflow.

April 14th. The footings for the next set of L-shaped retainers were poured late yesterday. The Work Party did not finish until 7.30 p.m.

This process had started last week. The generator was powering …..

….. this pump. All the ramp on the left had to be removed …..

….. which had been done by Tuesday (two days ago). (Photo by Dave France)

So why were the next bunch of retainers not being fitted? Because Denis was laid up. The TCH/JCB engineers were there to give some TLC, but the prognosis is not good.

However, there are always lots of other jobs. This was more hardcore being tipped last week …..

….. which had been turned into a new path within a few days. (Photo by Dave France)

At the lock, there were some parcels.

These were the coping stones. This huge one has a curve cut out. This is because it will fit the quoin where the lock gate will go – mid left.

Malcolm and Mick were laying blocks on the spill weir.

You may have noticed a new hole in the photo three above. This is the drain hole, shown here below Malcolm.

This is the front. You can see the recess where a paddle will go. Officially this is called the Penstock Valve. It will be used should the canal need to be drained. Note also the curved wall on the left.

Our Work Party was not the only set of volunteers at work. The DCC Volunteers were also on site clearing the drainage channel.

April 17th. Another L-shaped retainer was being fitted. Note Adrian on the towpath in the little dumper returning from delivering mortar to Fred and Mick working on the spill weir, which is on the other side of the Loop Road Bridge.

Whilst the retainer was being lowered into position, Paul and Bromley were preparing for the concrete pour tomorrow for the last of the footings.

Meanwhile Adrian and Paul were collecting blocks to take to Terry and Nathan at the spill weir.

Mike Patterson came yesterday (April 16th) with his drone and took these two shots. You can clearly see the retainers ready to go in. On the bottom left, you can see the spill weir. Don’t panic, it is the wide-angle lens that makes it appear to be a parallelogram.

In this shot you can see Hartington Harbour which is between the bridges. The canal goes under the right hand section of the left hand bridge in the distance. This is Eckington Road Bridge. On the top right you can see a gap between the houses. This is where the bungalow was that is now the hardcore under the tailbridge.

April 18th. As promised, the next (and last) section of footings in this section was poured.

So was the middle of the spill weir above the sluice. Note that the brickwork has almost been finished.

Altogether 20 m3 of concrete was poured today. That’s about £1900 worth. The concrete is being poured between the L-shaped retainers and the blockwork wall.

As you can see, this requires great accuracy and skill.

This is the view from the other side of Eckington Road Bridge. The remains of the original 1776 bridge are still visible. Click here if you missed that story.

April 20th. Yesterday afternoon, our glorious volunteers installed the last 13 L-shaped retainers in this section.

This is the view from the Loop Road Bridge.

This is the spill weir from the Loop Road Bridge.
Now that is is nearing completion, one can see how it works. Eventually the towpath will go on top of the culverts and the present path (at the back) will be dug away. Under normal conditions excess water will go through the culverts into the sump chamber at the back. There is a drain hole here through which the water will run via a buried pipe into a settling pond and eventually back into the River Rother. At times of flooding, excess water will spill out of the back of the sump chamber, between the brick sections, and run down the channel at the back, along the hedgeline, into a settling pond. The hole at the bottom of the wall will have a paddle in front of it to block it shut. This will be raised if there is a need to drain this whole section of canal. The water will go through a tunnel under the wall to the sump chamber at the back.

April 22nd. Last night, the first coping stone was installed.

The quoins (corner stones) have to be shaped for the lock gates. As you can see, a bit will have to be trimmed off here. This will be done by Lumshill Stone, which provided all the coping stones.

April 26th. The guys have done a fantastic job on the blockwork on the newly installed retainers.

May 1st. Some of the coping stones have been laid on the offside of the lock.

The are lifted with a step grab, which works by gravity.

Dave and Ralph guided the next coper into place.

Yes – it’s a big rubber mallet, but it’s a big stone.

The gentleman in the lock was Malcolm. He had just finished pumping it clear of water.

He then carried the pump out of the lock …..

….. and set it up ready to pump out the water below the new footings. Note the pump front right which is clearing the water below the lock and taking it right under the Loop Road Bridge.

Malcolm and Adrian soon got it going. Yes you are right, they were pumping the water into the bit that they are pumping out. They had to do this because there was not enough hose to go all the way back to the bridge for two pumps.

Meanwhile Dave and Ralph were putting the next stone in by the top gate recess.

Fred had just finished off the brickwork at the spill weir – 4000 bricks.

Meanwhile, Phil was infilling the space to the side of the drive, which had previously been cleared by Bromley, Dave (Longden) and Alex.

May 5th. The guys from Hargreaves Lock Gates were on site installing the lock gates.

They arrived really early with the gates. (Photo by Dave France)

This is the bottom towpath side gate. (Photo by Dave France)

This is the top gate. (Photo by Dave France)

Here the balance beam has been put in place, but is not yet secure. The L-shaped piece of metal on the left had to be slotted into the L-shaped groove on the top right of the gate …..

….. and held in place using these bolts.

This is the collar that holds the gate in place and the anchors that hold the collar in place.

Note that the winding gear can accommodate two windlasses.

If you look down the hole below the winding gear, this is what you see.

A rod will go down the hole connecting to a paddle in the recess below.

This is the paddle. When you want to let water into the lock, you wind the paddle up and water rushes through …..

….. and comes out into the lock via the hole at the bottom.
You can see photos of this under construction further down.

It’s a tricky job fitting the paddles. This is another photo from two days ago.

Usually, lock gates have a pin at the bottom that pivots in a cup on the lock bed. These are different.

When the cup is part of a plate attached like this, it is called a spigot.

In this photo, you can see the paddles on the bottom gates. To let the water out of the lock they are just wound up. The gate on the left has the paddle open, on the right it is closed.
The beautiful wood that goes red when wet is an African hard wood called Ekki, click here for more information.

These are the stop planks. They go into the slots above and below the lock to stop the water getting in when maintenance has to be carried out.

Eventually they will be stored in the stop plank holder in the left wing wall, but we have to get a gate made and fitted first.

The gates were paid for with a grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust. Click here for the story.
Cllr Dean Collins (Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, Tansport and Infrastructure) and Malcolm Marshall (Board Member of Veolia Environmental Trust) were there to publicise the occasion.

Selwyn Jones, DCC Engineer, soon got roped in as well.

Finally our heroic volunteers joined in as well. They are Stewart, Ralph, Malcolm, Ken, Bromley and Walter; Dave in the digger. Mick, Fred and Nathan were hard at work elsewhere.

May 8th. A fabulous day and a fabulous new, shiny bit of equipment for Malcolm and Ralph to use. We have bought a stone grab of our own. It is bigger and stronger than the one that we were hiring and cost about a month’s hire. Given all the coping stones in Hartington Harbour, it should turn out to be invaluable.

It’s very clever the way it works purely by gravity.

Ready to drop into place. The stones round the slot for the gate had to be cut especially.

It’s Mick. As always he is painting the balance beams.

He has also treated the gates themselves. The bottom bits will be in water, so no problem. Here you can see the rod that connects the winding gear on the gate to the paddle at the bottom that lets the water out.

Meanwhile, down in Hartington Harbour, Fred has been cracking on with the brickwork.

May 9th. This is not a mistake.

Nor is it an optical illusion.

They are the specially shaped coping stones that will go round the top gate recess. Note the curve on the left.

May 13th. The odd shaped coping stones above are now in place.

They fit the curve superbly.

This shows you how well. We need this rebate so that when the gate is shut, it has something strong to rest against. There will be the pressure of thousands of tons of water behind it. Note the concrete on the right with the hole for the paddle rod. This had £24 worth of dye added to the top layer to blend it in with the stonework. You can see in the background that almost all the rest of the coping stones for the lock have now been delivered.

Dave has started to clear out the entrance to the lock. Note the lock is full of water again after Tuesday’s downpour. They have been pumping out again ever since.

The concrete filling between the L-shaped reinforcers and the blocks was done at the start of the week.

Today’s quiz. What’s this? Hint, see further up the page (May 5th). Can you spot the photographer’s reflection?

May 16th. Most of the coping stones are in now. Malcolm has been doing the flaunching. That’s the mortar backing that you can see next to him.

Some aggegate arrived for making good around the lock etc. in time for our Festival.

May 19th. There are at least five new developments in this photo. Offside paddle gear fitted. Lock ladders fitted. Cill fitted (that’s the wooden block bolted to the bottom of the lock up against which the gate abuts). Grill fitted in front of water intake. Aggregate spread.

Here’s the view from the bridge.

This grill is to stop big bits of rubbish being washed through the paddle gear.

The lock ladders are very smart, as are the coping stones round them. Note the pipes at the top left.

These are land drains being fitted by Malcolm.

A land drain was fitted on the offside before the aggregate was spread. Here’s the outfall into the bywash.

DCC had the grass cut, ready for the Festival. Note the grass has also be cut on the field top right. This is where the trailers will be parked.

A new track was installed on the Events Field on Saturday courtesy of DCC.

It comes off the top of the drive. As you can see the TCH/JCB engineers were back to work on Denis.

They have fitted a new ram and repaired the other. They then had to fix another leak.

May 20th. Hardly the most stunning of photos, but this represents the amazing efforts being put in by our Work Party in order to get the lock open for our Festival. This is puddling clay from Nuneaton that was delivered at 4.30 a.m. (yes 04.30) this morning.

This is the rest of the clay (200 tons total) that was delivered yesterday. Note the two short lengths of pipe.

The works are not yet finished, indeed there is months of work still to be done. Therefore the decision has been taken to flood the lock and this section just for the two days of the Festival. Thereafter, the water will be drained away and work will resume.
To flood this section a bund (dam) will be installed just in front of the Loop Road Bridge. The two sections of pipe shown above will be set very carefully into the bund to let waste water from the lock drain away. The bywash will be boarded up, so the only water will be from the lock. The access section on the right will also have a bund.

The reverse view. The bund will be just beyond the railings.

This is the other side of the bridge. There will be a small bund just beyond the spill weir. This will ensure that the water drains away via the spill weir and does not flood Hartington Harbour beyond it.

The fourth and last row of bricks here was due to be done this afternoon. The gap behind was filled with concrete the following day. Note the pattern of the bricks. Even though there is incredible time pressure, everything is done properly.

Mick was painting the balance beams on the lock gates. Note the V-shaped construction at the bottom of the gates.

This is the bottom cill. The gates butt up against these huge beams. The triangular gap will be filled with concrete.

This is the penstock valve. The bit on the right (at the bottom when installed) is the paddle. It slides up and down guided by the screw, which is turned by the handle. It will be fitted in front of the hole at the bottom of the spill weir – see 20th April above. It will be used very rarely to empty the canal.

May 21st. Staveley Lower Basin has been cleared out today. (Photo by Dave France)

May 22nd. The clay was being loaded into Benford.

It was being used to create the bunds (see above – May 20th). This is the first, small one. It will just direct the overspill water into the penstock (hole in the spill weir to me and you), from where it will drain via the sump chamber into the settling pond.

The biggest bund is just before the Loop Road Bridge.

This is the reverse view. Ken was driving.

Here Adrian was patting down the bund.

The guys on the left were bringing the lower stop planks down to put in their holder, which is the hole to the left of the bridge.

Here they are snugly installed. Later one will have its handles removed and will be permanently placed at the bottom of the slots to ensure a tight fit.

On the left, you can see that the concrete backfill has been put between the bricks and the retainers, and the towpath has been extended. Coping stones will eventually be fitted here.

Paul was directing the digger driver (Phil) to lower the next curved coping stone into place by the steps.

As you can see (bottom right) these look great.

This concrete was poured yesterday. Ralph is pointing the last of the coping stones on that section. Note the problem on the right. The walk board on the top gate hits the coping stone. The board will be raised and trimmed this week.

Note that there is now clay around the bottom stop plank on the bywash. When the water is let in, some of the stop planks will be removed and it will go through the bywash. This is to avoid the lock being filled with clay being washed through. Also note that the brickwork has been restored above the land drain pipe in the bywash bay.

May 23rd. Hargreaves installed six mooring rings at the basin.

Whilst Phelan Scaffolding installed a temporary cantilevered pontoon to help the trailboaters. They will put caps on the pole ends and install two gates tomorrow.

Of course work was proceeding with the lock as usual.

May 24th. This is the photo many of us thought would not come to pass – certainly not before our Festival. Four boats in the basin and the dam open. However, we must not get ahead of ourselves.

Yesterday, the outflow pipe had been fitted at exactly the right level in the big bund. (See May 20th above if you don’t already know about the bunds)

There was plastic sheeting at the back to prevent the bund from being eroded.

The final bund was being built. Here Ken was dumping some clay.

Later Dave started to dig out the clay bund between the basin and the lock.

Later in the evening, a 1.7m channel had been dug in the bund. Note that a third trailboat had arrived. The water was running down the bywash …..

….. and emerging into Staveley Lower Basin.

Late into the evening, Ken and Paul were raking Type 1 aggregate out of a dumper to build a path.

Here’s a tricky question for you. Which is more remarkable? The fact that Dave was rolling the path at 9.19 p.m. or the fact that the vibro-roller he was driving was fitted with a Sky dish? Let no one suggest that we don’t provide every mod-con for our volunteers!
By the way, the boat in the photo is the new JV. For that story, click here.

May 25th.  Staveley Lower Basin was filled today.

The water was coming through the overflow pipe as expected …..

….. and then ran into the penstock via the bund. Note that Fred has now finished the brickwork along the top of the retaining wall right to Eckington Road Bridge.

Here you can see the water running away down the sump.

May 26th. Only one photo is needed today. The Work Party were aboard Madeline for the first ever trip through the lock.

May 28th. The new John Varley II took a party of V.I.P.s through the lock following the formal opening of the lock at our Festival.

June 8th. There was a brief hiatus following the official opening of the lock at our Festival, but work has started again now.

The first balance beam quadrant is well under way. The raised bricks are to push against when opening or shutting the gate.

Hargreaves were there fettling the new gates, which meant …..

….. that the stop planks were in below …..

….. and above the lock.

This is the view from the Loop Road Bridge.

On the other side of the bridge, you can see how well the bund is working that diverts the excess water to the spill weir.

Note that the brickwork has now been done on the curve between the spill weir and the bridge.

June 15th. Staveley Lower Basin is no more, at least not for the time being. This means that work on this area and Hartington Harbour can resume.

The bund, which was temporarily put in place for our Festival, was cut and the pound drained last Sunday.

The bund to divert the water down the spill weir is still in place.

The bund above the lock has been replaced, but this will no longer be a right of way because the tailbridge is open.

A bit more of the first balance beam quadrant is in place.

June 22nd. Our volunteers have started installing the coping stones below the lock.

June 29th. Some more coping stones have been fitted. As you can see, they are only 6″ deep, unlike the thicker ones round the lock itself.

The remains of the old bridge have been dug out. Click here if you don’t know the story.

10 more L-shaped retainers will go in next to the towpath soon. The ugly rusty piling on the off bank will be faced in brick.

July 10th. HS2 Ltd. has released maps showing that the work shown below is safe. The dotted line shown looping round the basin is the chord to their Infrastructure Maintenance Depot, which will be on the old Staveley Chemical Works site.
For more on this story, click here.

July 19th. Our volunteers are removing more muck. The offside of the canal bed is currently about 2′ higher than the towpath side level. They are also going to extend the wall on the left. The outlet drain which comes from the Loop Road above, will be set into this new bit of wall. Here they have started to take the bank away.

The last eleven L-shaped retaners have been fitted and the blocks laid in front of them.

On the offside, the concrete footings were poured today to take the blockwork and brickwork which will cover the ugly piling.

The spill weir has had metal edging fitted.

July 22nd. There have been more excavations under Eckington Road Bridge. The red bricks are the remains of the old, three arched, Eckington Road Bridge.

This is the old Eckington Road Bridge looking east. The steel bridge in the background is the mineral line bridge. Staveley Town Lock was bult to get under this bridge, which is where the HS2 chord to their proposed Infrastructure Maintenance Depot will run – see July 10th map above.

Some new L-shaped retainers have been delivered. Five of them, like this one, are 3 metres high, rather than the usual 2 metres. This is because they are to follow on from the steel piled section – see two photos above.

July 25th. The steel mesh that will support the wall to hide the ugly steel piling under Eckington Road Bridge has been welded in place. There will be blockwork, then brickwork right up to the top. Concrete will be poured into the void behind.

The hole has now been fully dug out for the footings for the wall on the left to be continued past the Loop Road drain outlet. This will emerge through drainage holes in the top.

August 2nd. The extended bit of wall in Hartington Harbour has started to rise.

For today’s concrete pour, the wagon could reverse down the canal bed …..

….. and put the concrete straight into the footings for the new 3m L-shaped reinforcers. This is so much quicker than the pumping or using Denis and the dumpers (see above) that we have to do when it is muddy in winter.

This shot shows you exactly where the pour took place, under Eckington Road Bridge.

August 7th. The view from Eckington Road Bridge. Note the wall on the left round the drain outlet. The two 3m L-shaped reinforcers are about to be fitted.

Here Roy is carrying blocks to be laid in the new wall. You can see the drain outlet from the Loop Road.

Two of the big reinforcers have already been fitted.

The wall to hide the rusty steel pilings is taking shape and concrete is being poured behind it.

August 18th. The Right Mix wagon can only mean one thing …..

….. it’s another concrete pour. This time it is the footings for the next ten L-shaped retainers on the towpath side.

Our Work Party volunteers are well rehearsed in what to do.

Meanwhile, the block wall to hide the steel pilings is gradually growing …..

….. as is the extra bit of wall in Hartington Harbour that will eventually encompass the Loop Road drain outlet.

Note the different patterns of block laying.

On the left are the remains of the original 1776 bridge. On the right you can see the remains of the 1892 wall from when the railway was built (see above).

September 1st. The reinforcers under Eckington Road Bridge on the towpath side have all been installed…..

….. as have those on the offside.

The blockwork against the ugly metal pilings is complete. The bricks, which will go up to the top, are ready to be laid.

September 25th. The wall round by the drain from the Loop Road is coming on.

Terry is finishing off the blockwork. The gap is for the outflow. The space in front is for the brickwork – note the wall ties. There is a slight step down on the back row of blocks to allow for the flaunching behind the coping stones after they have been fitted.

The first row of blocks has been laid on the towpath side retainers.

Here you can see the old towpath wall.

On the off bank, the brickwork is gradually coming up.

The huge retainers on the off bank are ready to have the blocks laid.

You can see that a concrete pad has been laid upon which to seat them.

This shows the remains of the old Eckington Road Bridge …..

….. as shown here. This is looking east. The towpath is on the left. The mineral line railway bridge is beyond. Photo by John Marsden

The line to get under the mineral line has been pegged out. You can clearly see the yellow peg bottom left and the yellow mark on the fence. This is the off bank. There are two more pegs on the left and a yellow mark on the fence amongst the shrubbery on the towpath side.

October 27th. The outfall from the Loop Road drain is now complete.

The manhole covers …..

….. this very neat arrangement which includes an interceptor to collect any muck that might get washed down.
(Photo by Dave France taken on October 16th)

The green pipe is to drain any water away to try to stop the whole site from being flooded again. The three other pipes are currently blocked, but will be cleared if major rainfall is expected. When the canal is in use, they will all be open.

Work has come on under Eckington Road Bridge.

The brickwork on the offside wall is nearly complete. The last two rows will be put in place when a bit more backfilling has been done.

The blockwork and brickwork on the towpath side has also shot up.

There is still a bit of backfilling to do here as well. In this shot you can also see the new blockwork on the offside L-shaped retainers.

The excavation has been carried on towards the mineral line bridge.

This is the view from the mineral line footbridge.

November 6th.  The brickwork covering the steel pilings is now complete, the scaffolding has gone and it has been cleaned.

What a difference from August.

The guys were preparing for a concrete pour.

As you can see, they can’t get any closer to the bridge under the railway line (where the railings kink), because the Trans-Pennine Trail is in the way. There is a request in to Network Rail to allow a diversion of the TPT onto the railway trackbed. This would be accessed through the railings straight ahead. The sign that you can see in the distance is a DCC Countryside Service sign on the TPT.

The TPT users would go along the trackbed on the right and rejoin the usual route near the spill weir just before the Loop Road bridge. As you can see, we have got lots of blocks ready for the next section.

November 14th. There was another concrete pour today. I’m sorry that we have no photos of the lorries.

The offside bank is now ready for the next set of L-shaped reinforcers that should arrive later this week

The mud meant that all the concrete had to be brought down in dumper trucks and scooped out by Denis (the Digger). You can see a previous time when they did this on March 21st 2016 above.

Later they found time to fit some more coping stones.

November 27th. It had been the intention to install some L-shaped retainers to the left of the wall above.

However after the dreadful rain earlier in the week, the site was still far to wet and muddy. The retainers might have just slipped out of position.

Here Ken is dejectedly taking some retainers back to the compound.

Instead, we can take you for a short trip along the next section – beyond the mineral railway line, which will eventually be the link line to the HS2 Infrastructure Maintenance Depot.
On the detail of the 2013 restoration plan above, we will be going from Eckington Road Bridge (left) to the site of the original Bellhouse Basin (right). (Please note that the siting of Railway Lock is not definite and the syphon pipe may no longer be used.)

This is an aerial view of the same section. The original canal towpath follows the hedge line on the centre right. The modern path goes along the infilled canal bed.

This is looking east from Eckington Road Bridge. The canal will go straight ahead. The guys in the middle of the railway line are bikers who should not be there. In the distance you can see …..

….. Paul, Roy and Terry who were having a bonfire of brush that they had cut down.

The Trans-Pennine Trail veers off to the left, following the old Great Central railway line. The Cuckoo Way (canal) goes straight ahead.

This is looking back from the end of the previous photo. You can see the smoke from the bonfire and the top of Eckington Road Bridge.

Looking further ahead, you can see where the WRGies did some clearance work on their Bonfire Bash.

This is looking back again. You can clearly see the deck of Eckington Road Bridge.

December 1st. There were some muck carrying wagons on site today.

This was because the latest incarnation of Mount Staveley (on the right) was being moved by Fitzwise.

Ken and Bromley had both dumpers working …..

….. removing the pile in Hartington Harbour.

Here you can see Mount Staveley being loaded …..

….. and here it is being dumped.

It was going in the corner just west of Hall Lane. An AECOM ecologist has provided confirmation that there is nothing of ecological interest to save or protect here.

Fitzwise also brought a road sweeper/washer to clear away any mud.

December 18th. As you can see, ground conditions were rapidly deteriorating.

Our noble volunteers were using Denis to move piles of blocks …..

….. to the other side of Eckington Road Bridge. They will stand on the pallets. As you can see, the latest set of L-shaped retainers have been installed ready to receive the blocks.

January 8th 2017. Some more coping stones are in place on the towpath side below the lock.

It was still a bit grotty below Eckington Road Bridge …..

….. but this did not stop Mick and Adrian from getting on with block laying.

Later, Walter joined them.

This is a reminder to put in wall ties on every third, sixth and ninth layer of blocks. Wall ties are the little wires that are put in the mortar sticking out of the back. When the concrete is poured between the blocks and the L-shaped retainers, they hold everything in place. See next photo.

The Heras fencing occasionally gets pushed towards the canal, so Paul and Bromley banged in some pins to stop the blocks from slipping backwards. You can see some wall ties sticking out of the brickwork on the right.

Meanwhile Terry and Roy were having a bonfire of scrub at the bottom of Bellhouse Lane.

Andy was also helping. As you can see from the discarded jackets, this was warm work

Denis the Digger got a nice new nameplate for Christmas. (Photo by Dave France)

January 22nd. Mick, Adrian and Malcolm were laying blocks just out of shot below, but other volunteers were having a bonfire. Lots of the scrub (top right) was cleared last week with Denis. This area will be where the ramp will go eventually.

This is the reverse view.

It was seriously cold, so Phil, Andy, Terry and Andy certainly had the best job.

Meanwhile, Alex, Bromley, Dave and Paul had a much colder job. Some of these coping stones will be returned because they are to be cut in half. You can see below that those along the towpath are half the height of the ones round the lock. It was very icy, so they had to be careful to make sure that the gripper did not slip.

5th March. It was so wet today, that this bit of canal at Lowgates was in water.

This is the reverse view. You can see Eckington Road Bridge in the distance.

Our volunteers were clearing the last of the scrub, saplings, brambles etc. from Bellhouse Basin, which is where we will be holding our archaeological dig in August. Click here if you don’t yet know about this dig.

Here Terry is attacking a bush with loppers.

Ken, Bromley and Alex used a bow saw to trim this little tree.

It’s hard to see, but the slight ridge sloping up from the left is the edge of the old basin. The Cuckoo boat should be roughly under the bonfire.

You can see more clearly here. The canal is on the left, you can see the bank, and the line of the basin bank is straight across on the top right.

This 1976 map shows the whole area. Bellhouse Basin is just to the right of Bellhouse Bridge, from the site of which the photo above was taken. Eckington Road Bridge is to the far left and the mineral line bridge is Railway Bridge No. 13b. There’s more about this below.

This is the Cuckoo Way direction arrow on a post at the bottom of Bellhouse Lane. By the way, the birds are Choughs – they come from the Retford Coat of Arms and appear on our logo – see the top of the page.

In five months this area will be heaving with people taking part in, or just observing, our dig.

On their way back to the snap cabin for lunch, some volunteers admired the brickwork …..

….. that has been done on top of the blockwork on both sides of the canal.

You can see how wet it was from the water coming from the outfall pipes.

This is the mineral line bridge referred to above. You can see a yellow peg on the right and yellow marks on the fence. This is where the canal will go under the bridge. You might just be able to make out yellow marks on the fence on the far side.

This was taken from the far side. You can clearly see the yellow mark on the left. The one on the right is below the right hand side of the footbbridge steps.

This view shows how the canal goes under the bridge at an acute angle. Bellhouse Basin is directly ahead where you can see the path in the distance.

This was the view above in the 1970s.

 

9th March. Dave France and Ralph O’Gorman were doing some bricklaying.

No wonder Dave looked happy, in contrast to recent weather, it was gloriously sunny. As you can see, they were working on the side weir. To find out more about this, see February 13th 2016 above.

You can see that they were building brick pillars with grooves. These grooves will take stop planks so that the level of water can be controlled. The water will spill over the top of the stop planks and drain back into the River Rother because this is the lowest point of this section of the canal.

People often comment upon the superb finish of Dave’s brickwork. There are two secrets, firstly he uses a level constantly and secondly he asks Ralph to do the pointing.

The pointing is smoothing off the mortar between the bricks. Ralph uses a pointing iron.

He constantly goes along and up, removing any excess.

Meanwhile Dave Kiddy was doing some drilling.

He was making the holes to affix the penstock valve, which is at the bottom of the weir and will be opened if the whole section has to be drained. See May 20th 2016 above.

March 23rd. A nice day and another concrete pour was due. This time it was to put the surface on the path across the top of the spill weir. Note that the concrete piers containing the slots for the stop planks are done and the penstock valve is in place. Note also that there are paving slabs in place under the stop plank slots.

Here’s another view that shows it more clearly. The stop planks will regulate the depth of water in the pound and the penstock valve will be used if the whole pound has to be emptied.

Paving slabs have also been fitted round the back of the weir.

Graham is not doing a bit of DIY …..

….. he is painting on this noxious brew to protect the steelwork.

Whilst waiting for the concrete, a cement delivery arrived, so Bromley, Fred, Dave, Michael and Ken packed it away quickly.

Finally the concrete arrived. It was far too muddy for the wagon to get down into the cut, so it poured the concrete into Rex (the dumper) which transported it …..

….. for Denis (the digger) to shovel out and put in place. Ralph and Bromley raked it flat, whilst Graham and Stewart scraped out the bucket.

In goes the next bucketful.

Bromley and Graham then started screeding, whilst Ralph levelled any lumps or dips. Screeding means using a big board as a saw to get the concrete level.

As the last dregs went in, there was a gap at the end – do not despair!

Dave and Graham started a second session of screeding.

The excess pushed forward was scooped up and used to fill the gap.

It looked pretty good to me, but they were not finished.

This time they did more screeding, but then went back to tamp it. This means lifting the board up and down to great a slightly rough surface. This is essential to ensure some grip.

In a few months time, this will be the route of the towpath. There will of course be railings on either side.

The finished product – well almost. Ralph later did some tidying up along the sides with a plasterer’s float.

Then a second lot of concrete arrived.

This was to go in the gap between the L-shaped retainers and the brickwork (bottom right) under Eckington Road Bridge. Note the conditions in the cut. Note also the bits of wire in the gap to be filled.

These bits of wire are wall ties and help to hold the whole structure together.

Our heroes were like coiled springs ready to leap into action.

As the first lot went in, you can see Dave’s problem. He couldn’t see what he was doing, so he had to be guided by the guys atop the wall.

Scraping and raking out the bucket.

Fred was working on the brickwork on the opposite wall.

When he had finished, Dave rinsed out Denis’s bucket …..

….. whilst Dave gave Rex a good wash as well.

April 9th.  A glorious day and lots had been done in the last couple of weeks. The concrete on the spill weir bridge had dried and temporary fencing erected.

The existing Trans-Pennine Trail, on the left, will be diverted onto the new bridge. Eventually there will be proper railings on both sides.

The backs of two of the run off channels have been concreted.

Rebar (reinforcing bar) has been positioned for the rest.

The towpath just below the lock was being laid. Note the weed suppressing fabric.

This is looking in the opposite direction. Note the flaunching (the concrete behind the coping stones) had only just been done.

A row of blocks had been put in to the correct height for the aggregate under the bridge.

A drainage channel is also in place under the bridge. This is not new, but hadn’t appeared on these pages before.

Coping stones were being put in place over the bywash outlet.

The next block has been put in place and Ralph is pointing it.

April 23rd. Yesterday Mike Patterson brought his drone to the site. You can see his film by clicking here. The relevant bits are between 2:30 and 5:00.
The screenshot above, looking west, shows what has been done so far. Staveley Town Basin is at the top left with the Mill Green Link beyond. The kink in the railings beside the disused mineral line, lower centre right, marks the bridge under which the canal will pass. We still await the licence from Network Rail to dig out the old bridge.

This screenshot is looking east. The canal route follows the path up the centre. The line of shrubbery leading off to the top centre left is Staveley Puddlebank. The site for our archaeological dig this summer, Bellhouse Basin, is the small field top dead centre, just before the puddlebank.

The work on the run-off channels on the spill weir is complete apart from the stone caps, so the fencing has been removed to fit them.

The quadrant by the top lock gate has been done. (Photo by Dave France)

The aggregate is down on the towpath under the bridge.

Peter, Walter, Adrian and Malcolm put gravel over a land drain. This trench had to be dug by hand because Denis was too big to do it.

The brickwork return slope under Eckington Road Bridge has been completed. It was looking very clean because it had just been steam pressure washed.

Denis got the same treatment yesterday. (Photo by Dave France)

This was done with equipment very kindly lent to us over the weekend by Morclean.

More coping stones were being fitted. Paul put the lifting grab into position supervised by Terry. The block of wood was to stop the grab from marking the top of the stone.

Paul signalled when it was secure …..

….. and Dave swung it round.

Photos can be deceptive!

After a final sweep …..

….. the stone was lowered into position.

Dave got it into position with the big mallet …..

….. and then finessed it with a smaller one.

May 6th. Denzil Lawrence came to the lock. He ran the London Marathon in aid of our Restoration Fund and has raised £1,100 so far. Here he is being presented with his Place in History certificate. Note that he is wearing his medal. Left to right the photo shows Terry Berridge, Adrian Sturgess, Denzil Lawrence, Mick Hodgetts, Dave Kiddy, Ralph O’Gorman and Dave France.

Note the edging for the towpath on the left, currently under construction. The holes are for the kick rail posts.

May 9th. The knee rails are now in place. Apparently they are now called knee rails instead of kick rails. (Photo by Dave France)

May 10th. The knee rails are complete and have been painted. The metal covers over the joins will go on tomorrow. (Photo by Dave France)

May 12th. The knee rails have had another coat of paint ….. (Photo by Dave France)

….. and the straps (metal plates over the joins) have been installed. (Photo by Dave France)

May 14th. The finishing jobs round the lock are continuing.

The posts for the knee rails now have brick surrounds.

Dave is siliconing them in place so that they do not rot too fast.

There is a brick surround to the land drain inspection cover.

Ralph has been putting in the edging for the path next to the lock itself. Dave and Paul put in two new bollards.

By the spill weir, fence posts have been put in at the basin end …..

….. and the fence is ready at the other end.

Under Eckington Road Bridge, the bank has been cut back …..

….. and the Trans-Pennine Trail has been moved over …..

….. so that more L-shaped retainers can be installed on the towpath side.

May 25th. The coping stones around the bywash intake have been laid.

You may notice the irregularity at the top left. This is because the contractors who cast the original concrete chamber (see October 22nd 2015 below) did it 4″ off square. As you would expect, our volunteers have fitted the coping stones exactly square. Note the grooves for the stop planks.

The last section of brickwork by the steps has been done.

At the eastern end of the site, the old canal wall has been exposed. Note how it curves and note the coping stone on the top.

These coping stones have been removed. They will be reused further on because they do not fit with the new coping stones, as shown above, that are being fitted here.

In this view from Eckington Road Bridge, you can see the newly exposed bit of wall bottom left and the coping stones. We are still awaiting the licence from Network Rail to investigate the buried bridge under the old mineral railway bed.

This is looking the other way. Note the spill weir top right with the new fencing.

This is a view of the spill weir showing the overflows and the penstock valve clearly.

Here’s another view, this time taken from the Loop Road Bridge.

Here’s a third view, showing how the Trans-Pennine Trail will be diverted when we have the railings to fit along the new deck over the spill weir.

Looking the other way from the Loop Road Bridge, you can see a new bit of fencing on the right. The V-shaped cut is to deter cyclist from taking this route because there are steps ahead under the bridge. It is possible that work may soon start on the brick cladding of the tailbridge.

These are the birds mouth Ketley bricks that have been ordered especially for sections of  the bridge cladding.

11th June. The first coping stones at Hartington Harbour were laid today. Here Paul is supervising the stone being lowered into place. The fence behind is next to the spill weir, see above. (Photo by Phil Darwent)

Dave is getting it level. (Photo by Phil Darwent)

The second one is being sorted and they both look pleased. (Photo by Phil Darwent)

June 25th. More coping stones are being fitted in Hartington Harbour.

The next section past Eckington Road Bridge has been dug out and the concrete footings have been poured. Blocks were being laid today.

You will notice that L-shaped retainers have not been fitted. This is because the old canal wall is solid.

This wall was constructed when the railway was built in the 1890s, see the map near the top of the page.
“Tie 2/4/6/9” means that wall ties are to be inserted after 2, 4, 6 and 9 rows of blocks. These will bind into the concrete that will be poured between the blocks and the wall at a later date.

You can see that ties have already been screwed into the old wall.

The curved coping stones have been done just below the lock.

Coping stones are being laid over the bywash outlet weir.

Gateposts have been fitted for the new gate entrance from the Trans-Pennine Trail.

As you can see, it looks very smart and topsoil has also been put down.

The lock itself is almost finished.

July 9th. A great start to the day as Kath Auton meets some prospective new volunteers.

Adrian and Bromley were digging out the chippings behind the offside wall. This was because the land drain had not been laid properly. After clearing, a layer of 4″ blocks will be installed and the drain put on top of them. This is to lift it to the level of the outlet at the lower centre of the photo.

Terry was laying blocks for the new bit of offside wall where it will go into the bank.

The cutaway bank behind him clearly shows a layer of blue clay which was the bed of the original canal.

Later Malcolm came to join Terry.

Then MIck joined Terry.

These two have been Work Party regulars since the mid 1980s.

Coping stones were being fitted. Pete and Ken decided which block should be used next.

Ken fitted the grab. Note the brick and polystyrene which stop the stone from being accidentally damaged.

It was lifted by Denis …..

….. and lowered into place. Note the busy towpath.

All eyes were on the block …..

….. including those of Dave Kiddy, who was driving Denis.

Once the stone was in place …..

….. the grab could be removed.

A little persuasion got the level almost right …..

….. surplus gobbo (mortar to you me!) was removed …..

….. and final adjustments were made. Later Ralph would do the pointing.

Meanwhile, Terry had started laying the 4″ blocks behind the wall.

By the end of the day, they had laid no fewer than 37 coping stones. (Photo by Dave France)

 

July 16th. Pete, Adrian, Terry and John were laying the next layer of blocks on the off bank.

There was a discussion about how to cut the last one to go in a corner.

Terry marked it out …..

….. and Adrian chopped it as requested.

The moment of truth.

One look said it all! No problem – there were lots of chippings behind Adrian to fill in the gaps with plenty of mortar.

At the other end, the join to the rest of the wall will be done with concrete. The rebar and steps in the new wall will tie it in securely.

Here you can see the new bit of wall and also the 4″ blocks to support the land drain (see July 9th above).

This shows the whole scene. You can see that more coping stones were being fitted on the towpath side.

Yes, you are right; they do slope very slightly inwards. This is so that rain runs off into the canal, not onto the towpath.

Looking the other way, you can see that there was not that much left to do in this section.

The brickwork is finished on the new bit of wall on the towpath side and it has been backfilled with concrete.

Looking the other way, you can see the different methods of wall building. On the right (off bank), the sticking out bits are the feet of the 3 metre L-shaped retainers (see August 7th 2016 below), thereafter it returned to 2 metre retainers. On the left (towpath) there are the feet of 2 metre retainers, but thereafter the blocks were tied into the old 1890 wall (see June 25th below). In the distance, you might be able to make out a couple of yellow marks on the distant railings – one is just to the right of the bit of orange fencing.

You can certainly see them in this photo.

These yellow marks show where the canal will go under the old mineral railway line, straight ahead. We’ve been told that August 7th will be the day that the licence from Network Rail will be valid.

August 3rd. The gap in the off bank in Hartington Harbour has been filled with clay. Coping stones still have to be fitted.

The coping stones on the spill weir have been fitted.

The slots are for the weir boards which dictate the water level.

This is the view from the opposite direction. The railings will be ordered soon. Once fitted, the towpath will go over the spill weir and the back can be excavated away.

Stewart was sowing grass seed on the bank below the lock.

More coping stones were being fitted. Nathan is about to fit the grab onto one of the coping stones to his left.

Dave then drove it round to …..

….. Dave and Pete …..

….. who fitted it carefully.

This is the next one. First Dave ensured that it was clean and decided which face was better.

It was then carefully lowered, note Dave giving a signal to Dave.

The grab was then lifted away.

The stone had to be hammered into place.

The spare mortar was removed.

The levels were checked constantly.

August 13th. All the coping stones on the towpath side at Hartington Harbour are now in position.

It may not look far, but it is nearly 150 metres.

August 28th. Gardening today in baking heat.

Stewart, Fred and Dave were weeding and spreading topsoil ready to put down grass seed by the lock.

The seed below the lock had grown amazingly in three weeks given that it had scarcely rained.

The reason for gardening was that so many other jobs could not progress because of holidays. The Work Party could not start facing the bridge in bricks until their order of special birds-mouth bricks comes through.

They could not lay coping stones because the stone merchant was on holiday and some required special cutting, such as these by the bywash outlet …..

….. these under the bridge …..

….. and these by the spill weir.

September 19th. The last quadrant has been bricked. It will be finished when the stone is in place. The screeding on the towpath (right) side has been done ready for the final path finish.

The grass on the other side of the bridge has already had two cuts.

The Work Party has also fitted some of the coping stones at Constitution Hill Bridge.

They look really smart.

The capstones echo those on the original bridge. (Drawing by Thomas Peabody)

October 1st. At last, the great day has come. We finally have the licence from Network Rail to investigate the mineral line bridge.

This is what it used to look like.

This is the view underneath in 1973. (Photo by L B Cooper)

Today was spent clearing the ballast.

It was taken further down the line …..

….. and temporarily dumped in an old siding.

This is Ken making the return journey on Rex.

The edge of the north abutment was in excellent condition.

Meanwhile other volunteers were having a bonfire.

The previously missing corner coping stones below the lock have been cut and put into place.

This shows all four, note the top left is an inserted photo.

October 4th. Third day of digging and lots more has been cleared.

This is the original towpath. It had been built up with clay and coping stones, now removed. Presumably this was to counteract changes in water levels due to subsidence. It explains why people talk about having to duck down when walking under the bridge. See old photo further down.

This is the north west portal. You can see the very oblique angle at which the railway crossed the canal.

This is the south west portal.

This is the north east portal. The south west one is just behind the fencing on the left, again emphasising the oblique angle. You can also see the top of the south abutment wall.

On the above A is the north west portal, B is the south west portal, C is the north east portal and D is where the ballast has been stored. The south east portal has not yet been cleared.

October 5th. Lots more spoil has been removed.

You can see the full width of the towpath and canal under the bridge.

This is the view from the opposite direction.

Ken was taking the spoil to the opposite side of the Trans Pennine Trail.

This meant that he had to keep a sharp lookout for walkers and cyclists.

Inside the trench, it looked amazing. The walls are in great condition.

Here you can see the full width again. The towpath is on the left, with the edge marked by coping stones. The canal itself will be dug out last. On the right is the south east portal.

Note the beautifully round bricks on the corner.

October 8th. Clearly lots was happening at the mineral line bridge excavation.

The Work Party had got down to canal bed level. The good news was that apparently it is almost exactly the same as the bed level in Hartington Harbour.

Apparently the cut off stubs of beams on the left had once supported a platform.

There were lots of railway sleepers, still fitted with chairs (rail supports), that were neatly lined up along the bed. This must have been some sort of early roadway because they were sitting on the clay, not a layer of subsequent silt. Maybe it was used during the construction of the second bridge, see below.

The first bridge, at the back,had horizontal sides. The second bridge had curved sides. It was added later when a second track was laid.

There is no brick base to the lock, but the clay lining slopes inwards. 400 mm will have to be taken off the towpath to get it to the correct level.

The pipe at the end was to pump out the water that was trickling in at a steady rate.

Terry and Mick, both 6′ tall, demonstrate just how great a depth of infill has been removed.

October 12th. Only one photo today, but click here for the exciting events of the day.

October 19th. Denis was being repaired today. Some hydraulic hoses and some other parts had to be replaced.

This was one of the broken plates that was being replaced.

Meanwhile, Stewart, Pete and Bromley were flattening off the area next to the lock ready to be turfed.

This shows the very neat stop plank slot in the newly installed coping stones.

Thje area under Eckington Road Bridge had become so thick with mud that even Denis was having difficulty, therefore it had all been cleared away and replaced with spoil from the bridge excavation.

This shows the oblique angle at which the railway crossed the canal. The railway bed curves round to the right.

This is the north east portal of the bridge. In the distance, you can see the old GCR bridge where the Trans-Pennine Trail crosses the mineral railway line.
(The GCR was the Great Central Railway, closed as part of the Beeching cuts in 1963. A mineral line means a railway line that predominantly carries minerals, usually coal.)

This is looking back towards Eckington Road Bridge. The bit on the left is for the canal, that on the right for the mineral line.

This is looking the other way. The canal goes straight ahead, the railway curves to the right. It is along this line that HS2 proposes to build the access line to their Infrastructure Maintenance Depot on the site of the old Staveley Chemical Works.

This shows the proposed connection from the HS2 mainline on the right to the IMD on the left. This work is going on at B. The light blue line on the right is the M1.

October 20th. A nice sunny day gave a chance for a reflection shot.

Dave and Dave consulted, whilst Ken waited patiently.

It is too deep to get straight down to the bottom of the canal in one go. Therefore, first it is cleared to towpath level, then the canal infill itself will be removed.

This panorama shot from the top of Hartington Hill demonstrates the curve. The Loop Road is on the left – the basin and new lock are beyond the left hand bridge abutment. Eckington Road Bridge is in the middle. The excavation of Hartington Railway Bridge is on the right.

This is a view towards the old Hartington Railway Bridge through the old Eckington Road Bridge, which was replaced in 2009 when the new Loop Road was constructed.

This is the same view today.

November 16th. The resin bonded material next to the lock was put down today.

Some engineers from HS2 met us with a Derbyshire County Council engineer at the site along with an officer from Chesterfield Borough Council, to discuss how we can get this excavation to progress.

This photo was taken in 1986 from roughly position P in the photo below. (Photo © John Lower)

November 18th. The resin bonded material beside the lock has been finished. This has not been painted on. It is white resin bonded material, but had to be done after the red. In the photo above, the letters are MDF to hold the spaces before applying the white.

November 24th. This started as a normal day with Denis loading ballast into Rex to be taken to the mineral line bridge.

Then a delivery arrived.

It was our new (well new to us!) telehandler and 6 tonne digger.

This is Michael Warsop who incredibly kindly donated the money to buy the telehandler. (Yes, I know it says Teleporter, but this isn’t Star Trek!) It is to be called Sandy because it is a Sanderson T2-6-22.

Meanwhile, Tom Ingall and Edward Young had come to do some filming for BBC Look North. To see it, click here.

They filmed Pete, John and Malcolm mixing concrete …..

….. and Fred using an angle grinder.

They also filmed Dave driving down the cut in our new dumper, TD3. (Tangerine Dreams 1 and 2 were our old Transits used to pull our promotional trailer.)

If you look closely at the front right, you can see a camera that they used to film the journey.

We thought you might be interested in this annotated old map of railways in the area. The mineral line bridge is where the arrow labelled “Replacement line between Hartington Colliery and Lowgates Bridge” is pointing. To see a PDF version of this map, click here.

Meanwhile, some of our Work Party were repairing the broken wall by the mineral line bridge.

November 26th. This is a display of all our major plant. Right to left: Rex (9 tonne dumper), Sandy (telehandler), Ben (6 tonne dumper), Violet May (6 tonne digger), Denis (16 tonne digger), Sleaford (¾ tonne dumper), TD – Tangerine Dream (6 tonne dumper) plus Terry and his faithful barrow! (Photo by Dave France)

December 17th. Our volunteers are moving the towpath.

This is so that they can continue with the walling.

You can see in this view how the canal will eventually come straight through the abutments.

Pete was levering up bricks from the old bridge abutments.

Later Mick, Michael and Dave came to join him.

This is the site in the 1960s.

December 21st. Some more work has been done to grade the new  slope.

This involved a serious bonfire, overseen by Pete and Mick.

December 23rd. Ben, our original 6 tonne dumper truck (now replaced by TD – see above), left today to go to a new home in Cheshire. Dave Kiddy was distraught but managed to hold back the tears for long enough to take this photo.

January 7th. The weather was gradually filling the canal for us.

The footbridge had been temporarily closed in order to dig and put in a bit more wall. The section on the left will eventually join up with the bridge. The section on the right will eventually go to roughly the Heras fencing. There it will stop and there will be a natural bank to the bridge.

February 1st. Work had started on the reinforcing wall.

This was being built on the foundations of the original bridge abutments.

It will support the railway embankment where the Trans-Pennine Trail is being realigned.

The canal inside the bridge abutments was full of water.

Meanwhile, Denis sat forlorn. One track was half off because the motor was kaput. The JCB engineers had been working on it again.

February 11th. More specially cut coping stones had been fitted. These are next to the spill weir.

These are round the bottom offside quadrant.

It matches the towpath side quadrant.

Dave drove the next coping stone to go under the tailbridge – carefully avoiding the new copers.

This has not been mortared in place – it was just to test that it fitted.

It was later lifted out again. There will be railings on the coping stones next to the steps.

Meanwhile, clay was being cut from TD …..

….. and carried to the new wall.

Bromley and Pete were putting it behind the wall and puddling it in.

Malcolm then got some aggregate.

Which was to go on top of the drainage pipe that had been put in behind the wall.

This was shovelled into wheelbarrows …..

….. and tipped on top of the drainpipe.

February 22nd. The offside quadrant had been finished.

The other coping stones under the tailbridge had been fitted. The gap is for an expansion joint. It will eventually be filled with mastic.

The offside coping stones up to the Loop Road Bridge had been finished. Mick was doing the flaunching. This is when you put concrete behind the copers to keep them in place. You can see that is had already been done on the towpath side.

Pete was walking past the newly completed first set of offside coping stones in Hartington Harbour.

This was one end …..

….. and this was the other end.

Meanwhile work had started on fitting the copers further on.

Dave went to fetch the next coper with Violet May. As you can see, the mud was rather deep!

The next coper was lowered into place.

They had not forgotten to lay a bed of mortar for these two. There is a slight bend, so they had to be trimmed. Dave was just measuring up. The hessian material and old banners behind were later used to cover the work because a really cold night was forecast.

March 2nd. The Beast from the East has temporarily stopped our heroes.

March 11th. The snow has gone and lots more coping stones have been laid at Hartington Harbour.
(Photo by Dave France)

March 16th. Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, came to visit the site today.

Robin Stonebridge, Chair of the Trust, made a point to Toby, whilst Dave Kiddy, Trustee i/c Work Party, and Amanda Collumbine, Toby’s Parliamentary Assistant, listened carefully.

March 19th. The guys were clearing some of the muck away. Note the the flaunching behind the coping stones on the off bank has been done and aggregate put down.

These are the copers leading up to Eckington Road Bridge which have also been readied. The flaunching is the concrete backing behind the copers to keep them secure.

They have been done right up to the bridge. The cloths are there for protecting the new concrete from the bad weather.

The huge concrete slab beneath the steps has been removed so that the new wall can be built to connect with the bridge abutments.

It’s good to know that the bridge section holds water, but it will all have to be pumped out at some stage for more work to be done.

You can see here that the towpath through the bridge lines up nicely with the towpath further on.

March 29th. Stewart was resting after starting to rake the topsoil behind the finished washwall in Hartington Harbour.

Later Stewart was sprinkling grass seed. The lump of concrete upon which he was standing …..

….. is all that is left of the old pumphouse. The three arched bridge (Eckington Road Bridge) is where the canal used to go under the road. (Photo by John Lower, 1986)

Here it is looking the other way.

Meanwhile, Bromley, Dave, Fred and Roy were spreading aggregate on top of a land drain they had just laid.

This was the view from the bridge abutments.

Later Denis returned …..

….. closely followed by Ken driving TD, laden with topsoil.

The guys put a membrane down …..

….. and Dave dumped the topsoil on top.

Dave and Roy then started to spread it out.

This photo shows almost every stage in the construction. You can’t see the foundations, they were poured on November 14th 2016, see above. To the immediate right of the drain pipe, you can see the top of the L-shaped retainer. To the right of that is the block wall, topped by bricks. The gap between the retainer and the wall was filled with concrete. The coping stones were put on top and backed by mortar (the grey bit) – this is called flaunching. Today the drain was installed, topped by aggregate, the membrane and the topsoil.

A new, big diesel cement mixer arrived today. This was a swap for three of the old small ones.

March 25th. We have at last been able to name the two pieces of machinery bought with donations at the end of last year; see November 24th above. Ever since then it has been too wet, too cold or too snowy for the wording to stick. Violet May is the 6 tonne digger. (Photo by Dave France)

Sandy is the telehandler. (Photo by Dave France)

April 16th. Dave had started on the brick cladding for the tailbridge. It was covered here to protect it from the weather.

Some turf had been laid against the tailbridge …..

….. and lots more next to the lock.

These had been laid last Friday in the pouring rain. (Photo by Dave France)

Meanwhile, the new railings had arrived.

They were being fitted by ECS Engineering Services

They also brought the railings for the spill weir.

When fitted, the Trans-Pennine Trail will be diverted to cross the spill weir, and the existing trail at the back will be dug out.

April 20th.  had virtually finished fitting the metalwork.

This is the bywash intake.

You can see the twin pipes inside the construction.

The railings below the lock were almost ready.

The grille was on the bywash outlet.

Dave had started the brickwork on the other tailbridge wingwall.

The railings across the spill weir were in place.

The reverse direction.

The covers for the spill weir were in place …..

….. on both sides.

On the spill weir, there is a gate to get at the penstock valve.

This is George’s corner.

The view from the Loop Road.

May 5th. Dave had put in the first stone stripe on the bridge abutment walls.

There will be another at the level of the bridge itself.

May 10th. A lovely sunny day. We are trying to get permission from Network Rail for people to walk into the mineral line bridge abutments at our Festival.

Lots of work had been done on the towpath. It will be nice and wide when Hartington Harbour is flooded and the Heras fencing is removed for our Festival.

The volunteers were preparing for a concrete pour. This was for the foundations for the next bit of wall leading up to the mineral line bridge.

A pit had been dug …..

….. so that the concrete could be easily poured into the dumpers. The concrete was to be laid at the bottom of the steps, top left.

Dave was in Violet May, scooping the concrete out.

He then dumped it in the footings, for Roy and Pete to rake out.

You may have noticed some stakes with yellow tops. These were carefully placed to get the depth of concrete correct.

Meanwhile, a boundary post had appeared next to the remains of the old pump house.

This boundary stone was originally at Renishaw. It then spent nearly 30 years in Alan and Audrey Rowles’s garden. They kindly donated it to us. Eventually, it will be returned to its original spot in Renishaw.

Having been collected in the Work Party van, it was put on a pallet and delivered to the required spot by Sandy.

It is now on display to be admired by all.

May 20th. Much work had been down laying down Ultitrek pathways.

The Trans-Pennine Trail had been lowered and widened.

The bridge cladding was looking great.

Mick was painting mastic behind the new block wall.

June 5th. The Trans-Pennine Trail has been diverted over the spill  weir.

The old route round the back has been fenced off. Eventually it will be dug out.

A new bench has been installed.

Dave was digging in front of the L-shapes. This will be filled with clay that will be arriving later this week. These works are necessary to prepare for the flooding of Hartington Harbour ready for our Festival.

Meanwhile, Dave had reached the second stone stripe on the bridge cladding. Terry helped him lifting the stones.

We have received permission from Network Rail to allow people into the bridge abutments at our Festival, but it will be a race against time to get it ready.

June 14th. The second load of clay was delivered.

Denis was back. You can see some clay behind Denis ready to be firmed into the bottom of the wall on the right.

 

Here you can see that the footings had already been clayed.

The bridge cladding was looking good. Note the new door on the stop plank holder.

June 16th.  Dave and Paul were clearing the last of the muck away from the washwall foundations, ready for the clay.

The muck was being used to create a bund at the end of the current excavation. This will stop water from getting behind the wall on the left.

Dave was using Denis to flatten out the canal bed.

June 18th. The clay was being packed against the washwall footings.

The bund just east of Eckington Road Bridge, was finished.

Here’s the view from the bridge.

June 22nd. The grass was cut yesterday.

Dave was giving the lockside a trim today. Note the outside performance area on the offside had been resurfaced.

Dave was clearing away the verbiage that had grown in the forebay. He did not want this lot to be washed through and taking root in Hartington Harbour.

The newly laid clay had dried out …..

….. so a small breach was dug in the bund ….. (Photo by Dave Kiddy)

….. and some water was let in to puddle the clay tomorrow. (Photo by Dave France)

June 23rd. The water was covering almost all the canal bottom.

 

Later a larger cut was made in the bund. (Photo by Dave France)

Dave was scooping up water with Denis …..

….. in order to wet the clay.

This was being used to create the last bund, on the ramp access. Here Paul was dumping clay from the heap above.

Dave then flattened it with Denis …..

….. before using all 17 tonnes to ram it hard.

James removed the rubbish caught in the bywash.

June 24th. It was filling up fast, monitored by Mick. Dave had put in the second layer of stone cladding on the off lower wing wall of the tailbridge, helped by Ralph and Terry.

This is the bywash entry.

You can see the twin pipes.

A better view.

The water emerges just below the lock.

June 25th. Hartington Harbour is full.

The view towards the puddlebank.

Dave was fitting new bollards below the lock. He drilled through the coping stones right into the concrete beneath and then used epoxy resin.

He used long pins to hold the bollards in place.

Water was coming between the boards on the lock gates because they had been out of the water for two years. The wood will soon swell and close these gaps.

The view under Eckington Road Bridge …..

….. Hartington Harbour looking west …..

….. and Hartington Harbour looking east.

The spill weir was working perfectly. There was an amazing volume of water gushing through. This goes down a pipe into balancing ponds and eventually back into the River Rother.

June 26th. To see a drone video of the flooded Hartington Harbour made by Gray Wilson, click here.
Thanks very much Gray.

June 28th. The Work Party was on Madeline, the first boat into Hartington Harbour.

Click here for a video of them arriving. They then turned …..

….. reversed under Eckington Road Bridge …..

….. and appeared on the other side …..

….. before setting off back to the basin.

July 3rd. We have put up new information panels. To see this as a PDF, click here.

As promised, the lock gate wood has swollen in the water and there are no longer leaks through the gates. Compare with June 25th above.

July 18th. Mike Patterson has sent some aerial photos that he took just before and after our Festival. Above shows Hartington Harbour looking west.

This is looking east from the lock.

This is the lock.

The lock again.

This shows the end of the flooded section on the left and the flooded bridge excavation on the right.

August 7th. The boxes leading up to the bridge on the towpath side have been filled with aggregate.

So far, the Trust has spent well over £180,000 on this project.
About £90,000 of this has come in donations.
If you would like to donate to our Restoration Appeal, please click here.