Monday, 21 May 2012

The Erewash Canal–A Personal Assessment

Before coming on the Erewash we didn’t really know what to expect as we only knew of two other boats that had previously ventured onto it.  So, this post is for any boater who might be considering a visit and anyone else who just might be interested!

Back on the Trent & Mersey I met a man from Nottingham and, when I asked him about the Erewash, he said three things:-

  1. It’s shallow
  2. It’s hard work and …………
  3. It’s a bit rough in places.

So, having now travelled to Langley Mill and back, what do we make of his summary?

1.  The stuff we need to cruise on!

I’m sure the depth off the water must vary according to weather conditions but we had no trouble and that’s unusual for us on a canal!  In fact, some of the by-washes were quite fierce.  Overall, the canal itself is more like a small river – the water is clean, the majority of the banks environmentally friendly with plenty of reeds and lilies growing.  Certainly whilst we have been on here there has been very little boat movement and ducks, swans, coots and moorhens are all thriving.  The young fox who fell in near the back of our boat in the early hours of this morning had a bit of a scramble to get out but declined the use of our plank and did it independently in the end!  Some of the bridges are very low apparently due to subsidence.

2.  Labour

Yes!  Very hard work!  Visually the locks are all in excellent condition.  The lock gates, many of which are new, are all clean and tidy and I especially liked the fact that the walkways are all covered in a non-slip material.  HOWEVER, the gates are amongst the heaviest I have yet to encounter anywhere on the system AND many of the paddles are really, really stiff.  On one occasion, a local chap who watched with amusement as myself and another lady struggled, told me that it’s all to do with incorrect gearing.  That was no consolation to either of us!  Complicating matters further are the anti-vandal locking devices which in many cases are stiff, knackered or both!!  All of this could act as a deterrent for return visits?

3.  Surrounding areas.

Yes, it is a bit rough in places but it’s basically an urban canal – roads, the railway and suburbia is never very far away.  However, it’s a lot better than many other urban areas we have been through!  Any rubbish and graffiti we saw tended to prevail around the towns where the concentration of people is highest – nothing new there then – something that never fails to sadden me and make me feel ashamed of some of the fellow members of our human race. 

Recommended Mooring spots:-

  • just below Pasture Lock
  • just above Potters Lock  From here you can access the old Nottingham Canal.
  • the visitor moorings at Trent Lock.  The area all around here is really interesting.
  • the visitor moorings at Langley Mill.  From here the bus into Nottingham takes 45 minutes.  It’s also a good place to receive visitors as there is a secure BW car park.  For any lady wanting a hair cut  I would like to put in a good word for Melissa at “Effleurage”, 87, Station Road.

We found the prettiest, least urban areas to be around Shipley and Eastwood Locks.  Throughout the length of the canal there are interesting remains of the evidence of previous industrial activity.  In it’s time it was obviously a very affluent canal.

All in all, we are really glad we came up here – we feel it’s been well worth the effort.  Members of the ECP&DA (Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association!) whose headquarters are at Sandiacre Lock Cottage are right to feel really proud of all they have achieved.  Their next boat rally at Langley Mill is planned for 2013.

Erewash 026


  1. That's useful - I'm going to take notes! Assuming the Leicester Line stays open until September, we're planning a trip which would take in the Erewash, so info like this is very helpful.

  2. That makes it all worth while - thanks, Adam.