11th January 2014
We are frequently asked about the poor state of the canal at Renishaw.
This short section of canal was restored on 2008/9. Click here to see the story. It was filled with water, but there is no source to keep it topped up. Inevitably the water has leached away over five years, leaving a half-filled ditch with lots of reeds. Although the water looks incredibly unhealthy, it is in fact full of little fish.
Various suggestions have been made about topping it up, e.g. diverting the Smithy Brook, but the Environment Agency has refused all such suggestions. Derbyshire County Council, which owns this bit of canal, has recently obtained a licence from the Environment Agency to pump water from the River Rother into this bit of canal. The problem is that the river is a long way away and therefore the pumping operation will be very expensive. DCC do not yet know when they will be able to do it. We hope that they will do some reed clearance as well.
We had hoped to have a volunteer clean-up in the area, like the one in 2011 pictured on the right. Because the water level was, and still is, so low, we would have to climb down into the canal to get all the rubbish. Derbyshire County Council would not permit this in case someone went head first into the mud. Once it has been topped up, we will be able to get it looking more like the way it was in 2010, when the photograph below was taken by Eckington Parish TV.
In February 2013, the Chesterfield Canal Partnership was about to submit a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the canal from Hague Lane to the fishing ponds at Killamarsh. This would have given three more miles of canal including this section. However two weeks beforehand, HS2 announced their plans which blighted the area and put all restoration in limbo.
Frustrating though it is for everyone, the good news is that this bit of canal has been restored, no matter how grotty it looks at present. The Chesterfield Canal Trust’s volunteer Work Party has also built a washwall nearer to Barlborough Road, though this is currently buried until needed.
Lots of apparently impossible obstacles have been overcome in restoring 12 miles of canal, including 36 locks, 11 major road bridges and building 2 marinas. We could have given up when the Brimington and Staveley bypass was announced. This would have had Hollingwood Hub in the middle of a huge roundabout. Do you remember when the canal was blocked by a pillar from the Rother Way at Tapton in the 1980s? A public outcry and petition got that altered.
Please rest assured, the canal will eventually be fully restored; though we recognise how painfully slow the process can be.
Meanwhile, we reiterate the Chesterfield Canal Trust will organise a Clean-Up at Renishaw as soon as we can.
[The clean up took place on 3rd May – click here to see the report.]
Photo courtesy Eckington Parish TV