The Chesterfield Canal Trust and Restoration 1997 -2002

28 October 2002

The Chesterfield Canal Restoration Update

Shireoaks to Kiveton Park

This should be my penultimate restoration update as we approach completion of the length of the canal.

The works included in the current phase of restoration are for a fifty-four week contract to rebuild 18 lock chambers and one major bridge, repair leakages at Turnerwood and a new towpath construction with access improvements from Kiveton Park to Cinderhill. As usual there have been numerous other “things to do” whilst on site. One small example of those add-on-items is the consolidation measures to provide a surface feature of the remains of the building on Lime House Lock.

The progress of work has continued at a rapid pace and I anticipate the civil engineering construction work should be complete around the end of November 2002 which is only a couple of weeks over programme.

As part of the value engineering we have made a substantial number of reductions in locations where it was anticipated there would be a requirement to install steel hollow quoins. This has been achieved by a combination of repairs to damaged quoin stones and resources of new pieces of quoin stone where those remains of the original material were in reasonable condition. The refurbishing of the stone quoins has delayed measuring of the lock gates later than planned in the programme. The workshops manufacturing the lock gates (Stanley Ferry) have a commitment to manufacture lock gates for fitting on the operational canals between October and March; hence there is insufficient manufacturing capacity to accommodate the slippage. It has been decided that the fitting of 3 sets of lock gates on the Thorpe Flight can be completed in February / March 2003 without any great disruptions to the re-opening of the canal.

The only civil engineering work which would need to be dealt with after November 2002 would be the landscaping of the three locks and removal of any temporary crossings of the byweirs for plant to access to fit the lock gates. The towpath improvements are progressing very well. It is hoped to reopen the public footpath over Thorpe Bridge as first priority followed by the towpath from Turnerwood to Cinderhill and Kiveton to Pudding Dyke Bridge. The towpath from Pudding Dyke Bridge to Turnerwood will be the last section to become available due to the late gate fitting.

Included in the towpath and access improvements is a pedestrian route near the railway level crossing at Kiveton which is beneficial for those who have difficulty with the steep gradient and steps on the existing eastern access at Dog Kennel Bridge. A new ramp is to be constructed at Pudding Dyke Bridge to give access from the towpath to the paths through the woodland on the offside of the canal. Thanks to Kiveton Steel & Wire Company and Rother Valley College for their co-operation which has made these improvements possible.

There have been various views on why several of the locks restored in the Nottingham section were seemingly slightly narrower than those below Worksop. We established an operational standard gauge of 7 feet at water level and this is reasonable as the last operational standards was 6 feet, 10.5 inches when the remainder canal was owned by the Great Central Railway. Five of the six locks in the current phase of work in the Cinderhill Flight were not 7 feet wide at normal water level (lock empty) when gauged. It was also observed this was in areas below the rebuilding line i.e. where only re-pointing and local repairs have been required. This seems very much to confirm why the GCR operating standard was determined. We will be undertaking works to provide the agreed current standard.

The canal from Thorpe Top Treble Lock to Norwood Tunnel was dredged in an earlier phase of the work. Substantial re-establishment of vegetation has occurred. The waterway dredger will be craned into the top length for approximately 8 weeks in January 2003 to clear the channel.

There have been many favourable comments received from people attending the various open days to view the ongoing restoration. The Cinderhill ponds were re-watered (by pumping) for the lock gauging to take place. For those who complimented the rebuilding please be assured the overall presentation is even better when the pounds above and below the locks are full of water and for the fist time in memory to the proper canal operating level. I really look forward to the re-watering of the Thorpe Flight and locks.

Regional Projects Manager, NE
British Waterways