The Erewash Valley - A Tale Of Two Canals - No 1 The Erewash
w/e 26 October 2003

A variation of Broxtowe Borough Council's "New Eastwood" walk

In the not too distant past, a couple of booklets were published detailing a dozen of the "Best Walks In Broxtowe Borough". One of the routes was titled "New Eastwood Circular Walk" and I found this somewhat of a misnomer on two counts. The route suggested in the booklet starts and finishes at a car park in New Eastwood but the walk itself along the valley of the River Erewash touches on Newthorpe, Giltbrook, Awsworth, Cotmanhay and Shipley. I would have expected a walk with such a title to circle New Eastwood. Secondly, the route as described follows the Erewash Canal to the west of the river and hence lies within the jurisdiction of the Boroughs of Erewash and Amber Valley. So part of one of the best walks in Broxtowe is actually in the neighbouring council areas. Am I being too pernickety.....?

Shipley Boat

Approaching the walk from Ilkeston via Cotmanhay, a farm track and a footpath, we joined the route approximately three quarters of the way round at the MFN Nightclub, Shipley Gate. Purposely designed by Malcolm Allured, a former member of pop group Showaddywaddy, the premises that used to be a public house are still know to locals by the former name of "Shipley Boat".
Shipley Lock

Close to the nightclub we joined the walk proper at Shipley Lock.
Erewash Canal

Following the towpath in a generally northerly direction we headed towards Eastwood. The Erewash Canal along this section actually crosses via an aqueduct, the river of the same name that forms the boundary between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

The canal was opened in 1779 and was the first canal to be built to Eastwood. In its heyday it carried coal traffic from Eastwood to the River Trent at Long Eaton but now is only used for leisure activities. The channel on the right hand side of this picture is the overflow from the next lock.
Eastwood Lock

 This is Eastwood Lock where the towpath crosses a footbridge to continue along the opposite side of the waterway. Along its total length of almost twelve miles, there are fifteen locks similar to this one.

A note in that infamous booklet prompts walkers to look for a plaque here marking the centenary of the birth of Eastwood's famous author D. H. Lawrence but despite extensive searching on both sides of the canal, we were unable to locate the said plaque.
Up And Over

Proceeding along the canal bank, the path diverges to pass under the next bridge or up and over it which was the route we took to head in the direction of the Nottingham Canal.
Nottingham Canal

The Nottingham Canal provides a complete contrast to the Erewash Canal and will never be navigable again. It is however a valuable nature reserve being home to a diverse range of plants and animals.
Forward to Part 02

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