Bennerley Loop - Part 01
w/e 11 May 2014
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

It was on the morning of Saturday September 14th that I met up with a group of walkers at Ilkeston Junction to follow a route led by the Local History Society on the opening day of the 2013 Autumn Footprints Walking Festival. The walk was titled "Top Cut, Bennerley, Bottom Cut Loop" and promised to take in some of Ilkeston’s industrial past by heading to the Erewash Canal, Bennerley Viaduct and site of the Bennerley Foundry. The route of the walk that day can be viewed by clicking here (opens a new window).

I have often thought when taking part in the Autumn Footprints walks that it would be a good idea to repeat them during a different season so this walk, although not exactly the same as the original, is based on that route of last September. The total route length of the walk is only about 3.5 miles but for the purposes of this series I'm splitting it into "bite sized chunks" to view a little of the route in each part. The route follows paths and streets that have been covered previously for Ilkeston Cam in various walks and series and it's also an interesting exercise to compare the images here with other similar ones to note the changes that have occurred. I'll include links to other pages where applicable as we progress. This first part of the Bennerley Loop is in fact a repeat of a section of the Lock to Lock series elsewhere on this site. (link)

From Station Road

Unlike the Autumn Footprints route which began on Station Street at Ilkeston Junction, I'm starting this portion of the walk where Station Road crosses the Erewash Canal. (link)
New Life

We went down the steps to the canal towpath and were immediately made aware that we were in a different season to the Autumn Footprints walk by the new life that came swimming past.
Johnny's Playing Field

The weather has obviously suited the grass on Johnny's Playing Field (also called Wash Meadow) on the other side of the canal as it is looking particularly green and well cared for at the moment. I can never walk near Johnny's without remembering the circus with the caged animals that visited in the 1960s and drew crowds of people to see them.
Johnny's Footbridge

Access to Johnny's and the path through to Rutland Street is gained via this footbridge at the rear of the Waterside Retail Park on Station Road.

From the bridge to Awsworth Road the route is the one followed in Stages 29 and 30 of the Ilkeston Town Walk but in the opposite direction. (link)
Millership Way Bridge

An old railway bridge just after the footbridge once crossed the canal carrying the line from Ilkeston Junction to Ilkeston Town Station but now in a similar position the canal is crossed by a new bridge carrying Millership Way. (link)
Fairview Cottages

The towpath soon leads through a squeeze style to a tarmaced section and a row of canal side cottages that go by the name of Fairview and on a fine day like this one it is indeed a fair view of the canal from the cottages.
Care Home

Canal VueCanal VueNearing Awsworth Road the surface is much better than the pot-holed track photographed in 2004's Town Walk but a much more obvious difference is the development on the former site of the Bridge Inn opposite. In September the development was in the course of construction but now the Canal Vue Care Home is open although I don't know why the usual and correct spelling of "view" wasn't used!
Awsworth Road Bridge

The Footprints walking group carried straight on under the Awsworth Road bridge but this is as far as we go in this part of the Bennerley Loop as we left the towpath here to cross the bridge for another look at the feature known as the Blue Pig.
Barker's Lock

The second part of this Bennerley Loop walk will commence at Barker's Lock and we'll continue along the towpath towards the Bennerley Viaduct. The lock is seen here as we crossed the Awsworth Road bridge.
The Blue Pig

And as we left the bridge two seats still stand at the back of the footpath. I was informed a little while ago that the low one without a back support (i.e. the Blue Pig) had been removed and some time after that it had been returned. It seems reasonable to assume that the purpose of its removal was to enable some refurbishment as the wooden seat has been replaced and is in much better condition than when I photographed it in 2002. (link) Change in this modern world is inevitable and although the Bridge Inn has disappeared and been replaced by a Care Home, it is encouraging to see this little bit of Ilkeston's history and heritage surviving - at least for a little while longer.
Forward to Part 02

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