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The Chesterfield Canal - A Canal Boat Holidays information article.

Marina(s) : Gailey | Union Wharf Marina

Length: 46 miles - currently only 32 miles are navigable

Locks: 47 (navigable locks)

Tunnels: 2

Linked to: River Trent


The Chesterfield Canal ran for 46 miles from the River Trent to the middle of Chesterfield, linking Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Derbyshire. The Chesterfield Canal is known locally as the ’Cuckoo Dyke’ and was originally built to export coal, limestone and lead from Derbyshire and iron from Chesterfield. Work commenced in 1771 and it was completed in 1777. The Chesterfield Canal is currently in the midst of a major restoration and currently 32 miles out of a possible 46 is navigable. You can walk along the canal along the towpath known as The Cuckoo Way.

Things of interest on route

The Norwood Tunnel, at more than one and a half miles in length, was once one of the longest canal tunnels in the country. However the tunnel collapsed in 1907 and Chesterfield has been cut off from the canal system ever since.

Turnerwood and Thorpe Flights are among the oldest staircase locks on the canal network and certainly amongst the most breathtaking in terms of character and surrounding views.

The unusually named Whitsunday Pie Lock is thought to get its name when a local woman baked a huge pie one Whitsunday for the navvies digging the canal.

The town of Worksop is situated within the historical Robin Hood county and Sherwood Forest. Worksop boasts a wide variety of shops, cafes and pubs and has a lively street market on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Enjoy the tranquil canal side towpaths which lead to the bustling thoroughfare of the town centre. The National Trust owned Mr Straw's House is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Worksop. The unassuming semi-detached Edwardian house changes on entry into a 1920’s museum with original artefacts from the era.

Shireoaks is a canal side village offering visitors a newsagent, which is also the post office, a small shop, butchers and a cafe. Shireoaks Marina is only a few minutes walk along the towpath from the village making it easily accessible for visiting canal boaters.

The Chesterfield Canal is a great place for spotting all sorts of wildlife and The Bluebank Pools section of the canal is a local nature reserve. Call in at the visitor centre and let them know what wildlife you have spotted. If you are lucky you will see the brilliant blue flash of the kingfisher or a water vole swimming across the canal to reach to the burrows on the other side of the canal.

One area of the canal has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, because of its rare aquatic plant life, including linton's pondweed, short-leaved water starwort, and brackish water crowfoot.

Places to visit

Chesterfield, Worksop

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