The Cranfleet Trail - Part 01
w/e 07 February 2010
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

This is a relatively short walk of only about two and a half miles but there is much of interest to be seen along the way. We first completed the route last September during the Autumn Footprints Walking Festival but have now repeated it paying more attention to the points of interest along the way.

Navigation Inn

The route can be extended by another couple of miles by using public transport and walking down Lock Lane but the route proper begins on the car park behind the Navigation Inn at Trent Lock (also called Trentlock).
Lock House

Leaving the Navigation behind the route is to follow the path and cross the bridge over the Erewash Canal towards the Lock House Tea Rooms.
Steamboat Inn

 We have often seen the Erewash Canal further north as it passes Ilkeston on its way to Langley Mill and the Cromford Canal but this is the start of its eleven/twelve mile run where it meets the River Trent. It was built in 1779 to facilitate the transport of coal from the Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire mines to the River Trent but is now used for leisure activities which no doubt include visits to the Steamboat here seen here on the right. The inn was built by the canal company in 1791 when it was known as the Erewash Navigation Inn doubling as a farmhouse. It later became the Fisherman's Rest before adopting its current name, a former landlord operating a ferry across the Trent.
Cranfleet Cut

Familiar as we are with the Erewash Canal our way here is to turn right after crossing the bridge to meet the Trent where the towpath immediately runs alongside the Cranfleet Cut. The Cut was built in 1797 and at the time of construction the river was managed by the Trent Navigation Company. The Cranfleet Cut was one of a number of improvements to the river that allowed the 40-tonne Trent barges to by-pass difficult and shallow parts of the river. All boats must now use the Cut to avoid the Thrumpton Weir.
Railway Bridges

A little way along the towpath the Cranfleet Cut is crossed by a railway bridge or to be more precise, by two adjacent bridges. At this same location there is a flood gate which can be closed to protect the Cut when the river is in flood.
Cranfleet Farm

Just beyond the bridges a gap in the hedgerow reveals buildings at Cranfleet Farm. When the Cut was built, it created an island in the river and access to this land from the farm is via an eighteenth century bridge which can be seen in the next two images below.
Fernando's Hide Away

As we walked along the towpath, we passed a number of narrow boats moored at various points all along its length. A feature of the boats that you are recommended to look for is the bright decoration that traditionally includes castles and roses but but the decorative script of "Fernando's Hide Away" was perhaps the closest we came to it on this stretch. A much wider barge was making its way slowly down the Cut and we soon caught up (and passed) with it at a steady walking pace.
Tight Squeeze

In fact we reached the old bridge almost simultaneously so paused to see it squeeze through. It was almost a case of breath in but expert positioning meant the barge passed through without touching either side. In front of the barge were two swans that were probably inhibiting its progress but the driver (is that the right word?) told us in twenty four years he had not yet hit one. He also said that the British Waterways vessel was used for keeping the Cut and the River Trent free of obstructions and some crane-like machinery on board were testament to that.
Forward to Part 02

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