Restoration Section 3: Renishaw

Section Three commences on the north side of Hague Lane Bridge. From Hague Lane to Miners Crossing the canal channel is infilled. At the site of the former Miners Crossing a new bridleway bridge (No.17a) is under construction by the Canal Trust using the our new "standard design". The bridge narrows are complete and have been backfilled to await the bridge deck.

Approximately 100 metres further north from Miners Crossing the channel becomes partly open and remains so just before Barlborough Road Bridge. Short lengths of this channel retain shallow pools which largely dry out in the summer. The badly damaged puddle on this section will be repaired and the channel re-profiled with the opportunity take to provide a "reed shelf" along the off bank wherever possible.

Along this length an existing engineers blue brick side weir on the towpath bank will be rebuilt. The weir chamber is currently open and either safety rails or bridge planking will be installed during reinstatement.

Immediately before Barlborough Road Bridge is a GCR built stop plank narrows and gauging chamber in engineers blue brick, hard red brick and freestone. This is in sound condition and has recently been cleaned out and re-pointed by a Waterway Recovery Group summer camp.

Barlborough Road Bridge (No.18a) was replaced with a concrete structure when the road was upgraded in the 1990's. The bridge incorporates a navigable channel and a towpath with guard rail. An adjacent structure takes the Trans Pennine Trail under the same road.

The existing small car park off Barlborough Road near the bridge has recently been enlarged to c.20 spaces and security and access has been improved.
The canal track now curves sharply to the east before curling back toward the north around the foot of the former Renishaw Iron Foundry site. This historic foundry closed in 1992 and was subsequently demolished – a housing estate now occupies the site.

At Barlborough Road the canal channel is completely infilled - a small area of gabion will be installed at the foot of the slope adjacent to the north side of Barlborough Bridge to ease the corner (the "Renishaw Narrows") and achieve a stable bank profile. On the towpath bank a wash wall and slipway / canoe launch area is under construction by the Chesterfield Canal Trust.

From that point to the end of the Smithy Brook embankment the channel was completely excavated in 2007-2008. A new footbridge - Renishaw Foundry Footbridge (No.18b) – was installed to provide a connection between the housing and the developing green space and play area on the east bank of the canal. The canal here has been widened and there is an intention to install wash walling at a later date to provide short term moorings.

The route then crosses the Smithy Brook on what was originally an embankment with culvert. Progressive infilling of the valley to the east of the embankment has left the canal running on the edge of a level area of made ground with a very steep wooded slope to the west down into the Smithy Brook Valley. To make the embankment secure deep piling (to bedrock) of both banks was carried out in 2008 prior to reinstatement of the canal channel.

These major works were designed and managed by Derbyshire County Council's Land Reclamation Section on behalf of the Chesterfield Canal Partnership.

At the end of the Smithy Brook Embankment length the canal turns northwest and runs along the flanks of the Smith Brook Valley as it rejoins the Rother. The canal channel is infilled (largely with foundry sand) but the supporting earthworks are clearly visible. The area has not suffered from the extremes of mining subsidence seen in the Doe Lea valley and it will be possible to excavate the channel and re-use it. A former lay-up basin (where boats were stored when not in traffic) will be reopened and engineered as a full length winding hole and reedswamp / wetland nature reserve.

A weir and water control features will be incorporated into this length to permit discharge of excess water back into the River Rother via the Smithy Brook.

The infilled channel then continues along the valley side until Spinkhill Lane (SK 4472 7855). The bridge arch here was again dropped and infilled in the 1970's, although significant elements of the wing walls and abutments remain. The intention is to cosmetically integrate these elements into a new thin deck bridge (Spinkhill Lane Bridge, No.19) so as to avoid raising the level of the road surface.

A narrow diameter sewage pipe crosses the canal line north of Spinkhill Lane and this will be rerouted via a siphon below the canal.

The small wharf (Spinkhill Wharf) north of the bridge on the towpath (west) bank will be reinstated for use as short stay moorings. This will involve reconstruction of the wharf wall and provision of mooring rings.

North of Spinkhill Bridge the canal channel is open, empty and dry. This is one of the lengths between Staveley and Killamarsh which have retained the original "Brindley" profile from 1777. This shows how the canal would have originally looked with gentle slopes with soft banks on both towpath and off bank sides. The intention is to return this section to as close a possible its opening condition.

The canal then reaches the junction of the 1777 Brindley route and the 1890 Railway diversion. The original route carried on along the valley flank following the contours. The diversion turns sharply north and enters a progressively deepening cutting parallel to the former railway line which is now the Trans Pennine Trail. Here the canal will follow the railway diversion and the well preserved original route (essentially as it was when abandoned in 1890) will be opened as a walking route with detailed interpretation.

Adjacent to the intersection is a small quarry (Rabbit Lane Quarry) which pre-dated the arrival of the railway and probably supplied stone for the building of the canal. This quarry will be maintained as a wooded area. The junction of the old and new routes was partially lined with stone laid on top of the puddle clay - probably to protect the junction from wind driven wave erosion. It is intend to reconstruct this corner as a wash wall which will extend to Birley Bridge (No.19a). This will provide quiet short term moorings for those wishing to explore the original canal line.

Birley Bridge spans both the dry canal bed and the former railway line and is a typical wrought iron girder bridge of the late 19th century. The bridge is in serviceable condition and will require no work other than a coat of paint to allow the canal to pass underneath.

Restoration Sections

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