Smotherfly section of the Pinxton Arm
Maybe it's fitting the the last post of 2009 covers the last section of the Pinxton Arm, and the section which has been completely obliterated by open cast mining.
Panorama of Smotherfy opencast mine looking south
An old year is behind us but we stand on the brink of something new, a future which is uncertain but not without hope. The same could be said for this ravaged length of canal whose line is irrecoverably lost, but which has scope for rebirth in a new format.
With the deep shaft mines played out, the area was subjected to the final ignominity of having all it's overburden scraped away, and the last remnants of coal torn out in the brutal opencast fashion. This geological rape included the loss of the canal, collateral damage which was seen as insignificant at the time.
Central section of the new canal channel
However, a substantial drainage channel was built across the site at more or less the level of the old canal, and planning permission has been granted for it's retention as a navigable canal linking the watered section bat Pinxton Wharf with the infilled but intact section between Smotherfly and Ironville.
In inspection of the site reveals few clues about the original line of the canal, which may have wound round the northern periphery of the mining area, or more likely, cut a path right across the middle. Either way, the old channel is no more and the future of this canal is to be found in the form of the diverted River Erewash, and thank God for it's presence, and for the willingness of the local authority to preserve it as part of the restoration work.
That just leaves the locked section between Ironville and Langley Mills. How hard can it be!