The Chesterfield Canal Trust is a charitable company that is involved in the restoration, maintenance and management of the Chesterfield canal that was inaugurated as early as 1777, primarily to serve as a transport channel for essential goods from and to Derbyshire. The entire length of the waterway measures about 74 kilometres and runs from Chesterfield right up to River Trent, passing through several tunnels, bridges and locks along its way.
Origin and Contributions
The Chesterfield Canal Trust formally incorporated in 1997, is run by a dedicated team of about 1000 volunteers who are actively involved in the development, maintenance and restoration of the entire stretch of the canal, although only a part of the waterway from River Trent to the Norwood tunnel is at present traversable.
Apart from the serious restoration and maintenance of the Chesterfield canal, the Trust also operates two trip boats on the canal, usually manned by its volunteers. One boat plies between Tapton Lock and Staveley while the other ferries visitors from Retford, either to the Trent River junction at West Stockwith or towards Kiveton. The boats are also available for private charters.
Vintage bus and train rides along with special weekend cruises also form a part of promotional activities undertaken by the Trust, presenting the Chesterfield canal as one of the local holiday spots that can be explored by road or water. Several recreation options such as Kings Park in Retford also add to the attraction of this already popular waterway.
Chesterfield Canal Trust is ably supported by a team of over 1000 volunteers who chip in on regular basis to help with almost all activities of the Trust such as restoration, preservation, running boat trips, as well as advertisement and publicity campaigns to highlight the aims and work of the Trust. Memberships are available for all age groups for a nominal charge. Being a member of this Trust, enables a volunteer to actively participate in an ongoing restoration programme of social and environmental relevance apart from a few incentives such as the ‘Cuckoo’ magazine and a discounted boat trip on the Chesterfield Canal. The Trust also conducts meetings twice a month to review and discuss its plans. The meetings are usually open to the public.
The efforts of the Chesterfield Canal Trust are currently focused on ‘Closing the Gap’ – the last 13 kilometres of restoration to make the entire canal navigable. Staveley Town Basin project has been formally recognised with an Institute of Civil Engineers award.