Sunday, 4 October 2009

Cromford Canal Walk - Butterley to Ironville

Cromford Canal Walk - Butterley to Ironville
Sunday 4th October 2009

A bright autumnal day in Derbyshire heralded the next stage in our exploration of the Cromford Canal, picking up where we left off at the Butterley Tunnel.

Having consulted Google Earth images we identified the eastern portal of the Buttlerley Tunnel, set back among the trees behind the ruined Newlands Inn. We parked up in Golden Valley Lane and soon found a footpath down to an open stretch of water, with the barred entrance to the tunnel at the far end. The portal looks very small but this is due to the accumulation of silt and debris at its mouth.

Butterley Tunnel eastern portal

As with the cutting to the west, this stretch is cut short by an embanked road crossing with the watercourse piped through its base. It is easy to imagine this peaceful cutting either side of the embankment lined with moored boats, with their crews relaxing in the reopened Newlands Inn, a staging post before a timed tunnel passage through the narrow Butterley from the Golden Valley to the beauty of Ambergate beyond. I could almost smell the woodsmoke from the narrowboat chimneys.

Disused footbridge at Golden Valley

Across the road to the east the canal is largely in water, with a well maintained and popular towpath bordering Coach Road all the way to Codnor Reservoir, which is about 4ft lower than the canal. At first glance the canal enters the western end on the reservoir but in actual fact the water flows over a weir with the canal skirting its southern edge.

Codnor Reservoir

The canal's sunken path is hidden by trees till it emerges beside the spillway, opposite the bridge over the entrance to the Pinxton Arm. I guess that a small aqueduct or a piped embankment will be needed to gain access to this arm.

Pinxford Junction bridge

For the purposes of our walk we went round the northern shore of the reservoir on the outward leg of the journey, heading straight for the scaffold clad tower of Ironville Church.

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