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.

No Fishing

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.
Foundry Cottages

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.
Marker Post

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.
Ramp Up

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.
Road Crossing

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 riders.
Nottingham Canal

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.
Walking The Plank

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 bridge.
Industrial Site

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 .
Back to Part 03
Completing The Loop

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