Chesterfield - Tapton
w/e 02 August 2015
All of this week's pictures were
taken with a Kodak DX6490
from an industrial estate (left) Tapton Lock is situated between
two roads and surrounded by a modern landscape. Its location
in this spot though should not come as a surprise as it was industry
that was instrumental in the development of the canal network
across the country. The Chesterfield Canal facilitated transport
across three counties, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.
In the working week, parking is at a premium but we managed to
find a spot on Lockoford Lane among the industrial units and
walked down the path to the canal towpath and the Trans Pennine
During the summer the Visitor Centre is open seven days a week
and is advertised as being "a brilliant place to visit and
a great place to start exploring the Chesterfield Canal".
On certain days, like the one we visited, it is also possible
to spend a couple of hours taking a boat trip along the canal.
On the towpath opposite the Visitor Centre there is an amusing
sign pointing the way to Istanbul and at the side of it is an
Audio Post which can be used to hear the story of the canal and
tales from a boatman and lock keeper. Alternatively you could
just take advantage of the seat to enjoy the view.
Our own exploration of the area was to walk about half a mile
in both directions from the lock and we started in the direction
of Istanbul by dropping down to pass under Lockoford Lane pausing
to read the commemorative plaques on the lock wall and then continuing
along the towpath past several picnic tables.
We walked as far as the two railway bridges that cross the canal
and found that the towpath is popular with cyclists as it is
part of the National Cycle Network no 67.
Turning at the railway bridges we returned to Tapton Lock pausing
this time at the slipway where a number of ducks had gathered
since we had first passed in the opposite direction.
We continued past the lock (now with our backs to Istanbul) under
the road bridge that carries traffic towards Worksop in Nottinghamshire.
This is called Bridge 1A or the Tapton Tunnel and art work plaques
decorate one wall of the bridge.
side now is dotted with fishing platforms and licences for anglers
can be obtained from the Visitor Centre. Boat moorings for visitors
are available on the opposite side of the canal just beyond the
bridge. A double platform (left) near the bridge is however not
a fishing platform as a sign on the adjacent fence (right) indicates
it is for the use of model boat owners only.
In about half a mile we reached Tapton Mill Bridge. After crossing
the bridge the towpath continues along the other side of the
canal but the cycle route leaves the canal to continue to Chesterfield
At the side of the canal here is an interpretation board and
one of the ornate National Cycle Network signposts. The Chesterfield
Canal, one of the first to be built at the start of the Industrial
Revolution, was completed in 1777 and it is said to be the M1
of its day. Tapton Mill Bridge, the first along the canal's route,
was here in 1777, much of the stonework at the side of the canal
also being from that date. The bridges are numbered up to 85
but as we have already seen that the Tapton Tunnel is 1A so there
are in excess of 85 bridges along the entire route. A flood gate
was constructed in front of this first bridge to protect the
canal from excess water from the River Rother further to the
On reaching Tapton Mill Bridge we turned again and retraced our
steps back to the Visitor Centre. Like most other Visitor Centres
this one offers information, leaflets, drinks, ice cream, confectionery
plus the usual array of books, gifts and souvenirs but also available
at Tapton Lock for the less able bodied is a mobility scooter
that allows everyone to explore the canal towpath. It can be
seen here parked at the side of the canal.
There is also a small but pleasant courtyard where you can sit
in the arbour or at one of the tables to enjoy the sensory garden
and admire the mosaics on the ground and also attached to the
wall of the building. Our "day" trip didn't last all
that long and it could easily have been fitted into a morning
or an afternoon but a boat trip and longer walks further along
the towpath perhaps even into the town to see the famous crooked
spire up close could easily have extended our stay. Maybe next