Bennerley Loop - Part 04
w/e 22 June 2014
All of this week's pictures were
taken with a Kodak DX6490
At the end of Part 03 the Erewash Valley Trail and
the Nottingham Canal towpath came together but after crossing
Newtons Lane they diverge again with the Trail passing on the
eastern side of the canal between it and the Awsworth by-pass
whilst our route is to remain on the towpath along the western
side of the canal.
This part of the canal which is now the Nottingham Canal Local
Nature Reserve has much more open views towards Ilkeston than
the Willoughby Top Cut section and also has a more "natural"
feel to it. This is in part due to the prohibition of fishing
along the section and therefore the absence of fishing platforms.
On the other side of the canal is a row of four cottages. These
are the Foundry Cottages and I have a certain personal affinity
with them. Three years before the canal opened a certain Mark
Wheatley was born in 1793 in Cossall. With his second wife Sarah
Warner he fathered eleven children and it is recorded that at
least two of them Ichabod (b1812) and Martha (b1820) were born
in the Foundry House at Cossall. I can trace my ancestry back
through another of their sons who was also called Mark (b1809).
Mark Wheatley Snr therefore is my Great, Great, Great Grandfather.
Whilst walking along the towpath we spotted this marker post
which told us we were "Miles from the Trent". How many
miles is not stated but I suspect a number of these posts were
produced and the actual number of miles was added when they were
placed at various points along the canal. Time and the elements
must have eroded the number but the post still remains as a reminder
of the time when narrow boats carried their wares along the canal.
It's only a short distance along the towpath before the Nature
Reserve is interrupted by Shilo Way and the canal passes under
the road in a culvert. The towpath rises up a ramp to the by-pass.
The Trail and the towpath again converge at this point to cross
the carriageway and the crossing place is a little unusual in
that there are two separate sections to traverse the road. On
the right is a normal pedestrian crossing whilst on the left
there is a crossing place predominantly for horses and their
Another ramp leads down from Shilo Way to resume as the towpath
along the eastern side of the Nottingham Canal which again has
the natural feel of the previous section.
This is another short section of the canal between Shilo Way
and Coronation Road but it seems to be a more popular area with
waterfowl than earlier sections. We did not expect to see them
in piratical pose though walking the plank!
At Coronation Road the towpath dips down to cross over by means
of this bridge whilst the water is carried across in pipes at
a slightly higher level on the left. The two bridges were built
in 1958 and replaced the original aqueduct that carried the canal
over the road. At that time Cossall Colliery was still in operation
and a railway line associated with it was carried on the lower
Although this has predominantly been a walk in the country, the
industrial heritage of the area has never been far away and after
crossing the bridge, the path rises again to follow the canal
towpath still as the Erewash Valley Trail. This however, is where
we turned right and met part of today's industry as we entered
the industrial park that now occupies the site of the former
Cossall Colliery. The colliery closed in 1965 and most of the
new units that have been built are on land between Coronation
Road and the new road through the site called Soloman Road. The
hill on the left was the former slag heap at the colliery and
for a short time part of it became an ill-fated ski slope but
this too closed some time ago.
We left the industrial site to join Coronation Road which itself
did not come into being until early in the twentieth century.
Prior to that the main route into Ilkeston from Awsworth was
via Newtons Lane. Another road led from Awsworth to Cossall Village
passing through the area known as Cossall Marsh. The colliery
lay between Cossall Marsh and Ilkeston Junction and the straight
run of Coronation Road that connects the two was just a private
track through the colliery. Much more recently Coronation Road
was diverted near the Ilkeston end to a new roundabout at the
end of Shilo Way and later still Millership Way was also constructed
from the roundabout to Rutland Street (link) at Ilkeston.
The conclusion of the Bennerley Loop Walk is actually a repeat
of the first three parts of the Station Road route in the First
Impressions series and has changed very little since those photos
were taken. Work is due to start on Ilkeston's new railway station
on the site of the old Ilkeston Junction Station which is on
the other side of the roundabout between Coronation Road and
Millership Way so we will be returning here later to monitor
progress. For completeness however this Bennerley Loop circuit
can be concluded in the First Impressions series by following
the link to "Completing The Loop" below .