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.....?
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".
Close to the nightclub we joined the walk proper at Shipley Lock.
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.
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
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.
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.