Up against it at Staveley
VOLUNTEERS FROM THE Chesterfield Canal Trust are battling to get the new Staveley Town Lock finished and working in time to be officially opened as the next stage of the canal’s restoration during the Inland Waterways Association’s National Trailboat Festival, which comes to Staveley on the late spring bank holiday weekend.
The issue isn’t so much the lock itself (which is very nearly finished) as the section of canal beyond it, known as Hartington Harbour. They can’t open the lock without this section of canal being completed; there needs to be somewhere below the lock for the boats to go and, more importantly, somewhere for the water to go – “We can’t just empty it into a field”, volunteer leader Dave Kiddy remarked drily.
The purpose of the new lock is to lower the canal’s level to allow it to pass under a railway, before climbing through a second new lock (which is yet to be built). That means the length of canal between the two locks will need a large overflow weir to get rid of the surplus water, and building the weir has been a major part of the work. But it’s been dogged by appalling weather plus technical problems with the Trust’s excavator. However, thanks to support from JCB and many volunteers working five days a week, as we went to press, CCT was still hopeful it would be done in time.
Concrete overflow weir sections installed