Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Nutbrook Canal - Stanton Ironworks to Birches Lock (4)

Nutbrook Canal - Stanton Ironworks to Birches Lock (4)
May 2016

After the desolation of the Ironworks site we now break free into the relative tranquility of the countryside. I say relative because a crushing plant sits alongside the canal and its crashing and grinding can be felt as much heard.

Ilkeston Road Bridge from the north

But from a photographic perspective it all suddenly gets very lovely. The next two pounds through Lock 3 (Old Furnace Lock) to Lock 4 (Birches Lock) are maintained by the local angling club alongside a lake created by recent opencast mining and very pretty it is too. 

Looking north from Ilkeston Road

The Ilkeston road crosses the canal more or less on the level. Just south of the bridge is the old Stanton Basin (the lake beyond will be another area of opencast or subsidence). During its last days the canal was kept navigable to the basin to allow boats to turn and exit the canal to the Erewash.

Stanton Basin is to the right behind the fisherman

Old Furnace Lock is something of a delight because we have images of it, already with a weir at the top end from 1956 at which time the same valve gear existed but the fields to one side have been replaced by a big lake.



Old Furnace Lock in 1956 (B&W) and 2016

Just above Lock three Stanhope's Arm exited to the west. It was never very long and whilst the outline can be seen, its bed is so choked up it is possible to walk across it and barely get your feet wet.

Stanhope's Arm

The canal is then crossed by a narrow brick bridge which has had its middle section replaced with a flat concrete slab. It appears to be a pedestrian bridge built to connect the two communities of Hallam. 


Pedestrian Bridge between Little Hallam and West Hallam

From there its a short walk up a steadily silting and overgrown channel to the rubbish filled chamber of Lock 4 ( Birches Lock) which can be found immediately to the rear of the houses on Valley View.



Lock 4's debris filled chamber

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