Restoration Section 9: Wales

Gaining a route under the M1 & Replacing the Norwood Tunnel

The Wales Section commences at the Western portal of the Norwood Tunnel and extends eastward to the western edge of the former Kiveton Colliery Site.

The major problems facing this length are the replacement of the collapsed Norwood Tunnel and achieving a passage under the M1 Motorway which now runs above and across the tunnel site. To determine the best solution a feasibility and outline design study was commissioned from Arup in 2007 (Arup 2008).

The Arup study demonstrated that the western portion of the Norwood Tunnel cannot reasonably be restored – some sections have collapsed, others were infilled by the National Coal Board and one length was injection grouted when the M1 was built.

Arup examined four alternatives and concluded that the most cost effective and sustainable option for replacing the tunnel was the construction of a new surface route. This is possible because the tunnel lies at a very shallow depth (barely 4m or 12ft below ground surface) and there is an existing farm underpass suitable for conversion to canal channel. Arup noted that a similar conversion had been successfully carried out on the Rochdale Canal during restoration in the 1990's.

Arup made recommendations for further work. The proposals here reflect the development of the Arup proposals in the light of that work.

The current plan for the Wales restoration section has a new length of canal channel leaving the original line on the off-bank around 75 m from the standing West Portal of the Norwood Tunnel. The new line will be carried in shallow cutting to the south of the tunnel entrance wing wall.

The towpath will be carried up and around the top of the original Norwood Tunnel mouth across the site once occupied by the Tunnel Keepers cottage and the towing horse stables. The towpath will then rejoin the north bank of the waterway.

After 50m the cutting will deepen and enter the first of the "Norwood Extension Locks". A bridge over the lock tail will maintain connectivity between the towpath and the public right of way extending south through the Nor Wood to Killamarsh.

The Norwood Extension Locks consist of two three-rise locks. The first is the Norwood High Treble Locks (No.'s 19a, 19b and 19c). At the top of this multiple lock the canal enters a short pound and the canal track turns slightly before entering the second three rise group – the Norwood Top Treble Locks (No.'s 19d, 19e and 19f). At the top of the second group the canal turns north-east and reaches the west entrance to the farm underpass below the M1 Motorway.

There are two options to the use of the underpass. The simplest involves foundation underpinning, excavation of the farm track surface and insertion of a new canal channel. The towpath would run beside the water channel.

The second option involve deep piling beneath the underpass, excavation and the insertion of a concrete culvert at depth followed by re-filling to the current surface level. The culvert would only large enough for single boat and the towpath would pass through the underpass above the canal.

This option would require longer cuttings on both east and west flanks of the ridge but would reduce the number of locks by four (2 up and 2 down), extend the summit pound and increase water storage. It would also allow the underpass to be retained for farm traffic.

The second option obviously requires more complex civil engineering but the increased cost can be balanced by a reduction in lock construction costs and long term reductions in maintenance costs. It should be noted that the two options do not affect the horizontal alignment of the canal and the track required is the same.

On the eastern side of the motorway the canal would run for a short distance a shallow cutting before running on or around the current ground surface. A foot and cycleway bridge over the canal maintains rights of way connectivity.

The new summit pound will be relatively short irrespective of which option is adopted. To increase water storage two new side ponds will be created on the off bank. These will also form new off-line wetland nature reserves. The ponds will link, via separate feeders, to the main canal channel to the east and west of a single flood-gate / lock gate. This will be counterbalanced to swing closed after use and will divide the waters in the western and eastern halves of the section. This is intended to ensure separation of the waters of the Rother and Idle catchments in line with the catchment management strategy of the Environment Agency.

Beyond the ponds, at the eastern end of this short summit pound, the canal will run onto a short length of low embankment before descending a two-rise staircase lock.

At the tail of the lock flight a minor bridge will carry Coalpit Lane over the canal. The route them follows a gently sinuous course across a relatively level area following the edges of the existing field layout. The route proposed utilises the approximate line of existing field edge drains and adopts the extant hedge line as the off-bank boundary.

At the western edge of the former Kiveton Colliery Tip (now reclaimed and landscaped as amenity woodlands and country park) the canal descends via a further two locks in a staircase configuration (the Wales Double Locks). Below the locks the canal will be at the Kiveton Waters pound level.

A tail-bridge below the locks (Wales Bridge) provides a foot & cycle-path connection between Wales/Kiveton, the community woodlands and Harthill. At this point drainage for the tip is received having been filtered in a reedbed to remove sediment and improve water quality.

Beyond this point the canal enters the Kiveton Park section.

Restoration Sections

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