The Chesterfield Canal

The Chesterfield Canal is widely recognised as one of the most beautiful and varied waterways in England.

"... taken as a whole, the flights at Turnerwood and Thorpe rival anything the inland waterway network has to offer ..."

This quote is from the Pearson Canal Companion, East Midlands, 2014 © Michael Pearson.

The canal runs for 46 miles from the River Trent to the middle of Chesterfield, linking Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

Every yard of the canal can be walked on the towpath known as The Cuckoo Way. To see a huge collection of photos showing the full route click here.

It goes through tranquil countryside where scarcely a house can be seen; has some of the earliest staircase locks ever built (240 years ago); is hugely popular with walkers; has some of the best canal fishing in the country; features an underground canal at Hollingwood and ends up at what will be the £310 million Waterside development in Chesterfield.

Quotes from recent visiting boaters:

"Crew who had not seen the Turnerwood and Thorpe flights before were absolutely delighted with their location, beauty, tradition and interest. This is one of the best stretches of canal anywhere in the UK."

"In October we left Lincoln in our narrowboat and did the whole of the Chesterfield up to the tunnel. It is a beautiful canal in the Autumn and we are very much looking forward to visiting again in the Spring."

Since 1989, 12 miles of the canal have been restored along with 37 locks and 11 bridges; 2 new marinas have been built. The latest section, Staveley Town Lock, was opened at the National Trailboat Festival in 2016.

We have only eight miles left to restore. Detailed plans already exist for every bridge, lock and aqueduct on this stretch. The Chesterfield Canal Trust is currently running a campaign called Closing the Gap in order to achieve this aim.

The Chesterfield Canal Trust is a charitable company run entirely by volunteers, incorporated in July 1997. In 1998 it took over the assets of the former Chesterfield Canal Society, which had been formed in 1976.

The aims of the Chesterfield Canal Trust are to promote the full restoration and appropriate development of the Chesterfield Canal, and to campaign for the construction of the Rother Valley Link, a navigable waterway to join the Chesterfield Canal to the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation.


Amongst other activities we run four trip boats (one in Retford, one at Worksop, one at Hollingwood and the fourth in Chesterfield); we run Work Parties on the canal on most Sundays; we have an 84-year old ex BW working boat, Python, that we use as a promotional vehicle all round the waterway system; we have a promotional trailer, the James Brindley, that attends events and town centres throughout the year and we have built Dawn Rose, the first new Cuckoo boat (unique to the canal) for over 80 years. Our base is in the restored and extended Hollingwood Lock House, now called Hollingwood Hub, in Chesterfield. It has a Coffee Shop, we hold concerts and events and it is available for hire. In addition the Trust has regular meetings, social events, regular festivals etc.

The Trust has over 1500 members, who, for a small membership fee, receive regular copies of the Trust's award-winning magazine Cuckoo, so called because of the local name for the canal, the 'Cuckoo Dyke'. We also publish regular E-Newsletters. To join the Trust, click here.

You can follow the Trust on various social networking sites. You'll find us on: