Chesterfield Canal now

Thorpe Locks and Towpath
Thorpe Locks and Towpath

The Chesterfield canal runs from the river Trent at West Stockwith to Chesterfield. It was built in the 1760s to carry lead ore from the peak district to the Trent water system and was a significant waterway when canals were the main bulk transportation systems, before the railways were built in the 1800s. In the 20th century with the coming of road haulage, and the collapse of the 1.5 mile Norwood tunnel circa 1903 (an engineering marvel of the 1770’s), the Chesterfield canal ceased to be viable and fell into disuse, although it was the 1950s before the last commercial barge navigated the canal.

The filled in canal at Killamarsh

The bricked up entrance to the Norwood tunnel (over 2,800 yards/2 km long) is shown. That it was a tunnel saved several flights of locks. It ran from Kiveton to Norwood near to the Rother Valleycountry park, through what is now Rother Valley CP, and Killamarsh. See the Canal future 21st Century link on the right for an outline of the full restoration plans.

The Killamarsh section is totally overgrown to the extent that you’d never know that a canal ever existed. Contrast that with Shireoaks where the canal and its locks has been excellently renovated and is navigable.

norwood tunnel prior to canal renovation

Below, is a shot of a restored section in the summer of 1999, and a similar shot in April 1997 when the canal was drained prior to being dredged.

bridge near to Kiveton Park station