Race against time at Staveley Basin
Will Staveley Town Lock be completed and operating in time for the Festival on May 28th?
The Chesterfield Canal Trust’s volunteer Work Party is striving valiantly to get everything completed, but bad weather and mechanical problems are making it really difficult.
Work on the lock itself is almost complete. Only the coping stones and the lock gates need to be fitted. The gates have already been made by Hargreaves and are in their works in Halifax.
The main problem is completing the 300 metres of canal below the lock, known as Hartington Harbour. This area has been, at best, ankle deep in mud and at worst totally flooded since November.
The Trust’s aging excavator, known as Denis, has developed frequent mechanical problems. JCB/TC Harrison has been magnificent in lending support to the Trust in helping to fix these breakdowns.
Trustee in charge of the volunteers, David Kiddy, said: “I am very proud of our volunteers. Many have come to work on four or five days a week throughout the winter, frequently working in atrocious conditions.
”It is a popular misconception that all that needs to be finished is the lock itself, but David goes on to say: “We have to build the next bit of canal below the lock. We can’t just empty the water from the lock into a field and we need a space for boats to turn round.”
This site and the canal belong to Derbyshire County Council. It is part of the Markham Vale development. The Chesterfield Canal Trust volunteers work under the direction of DCC engineers.
Most of the visible work has been done by volunteers from the Trust, with occasional help from the volunteers of the Waterway Recovery Group. The bridge at the end of the lock, the bywash and the spill weir base were done by contractors. Everything else – the lock, the excavations, the walls, the L-shaped reinforcers, the blockwork, the brickwork – has all been done by volunteers.
The Chesterfield Canal Trust has invested around £100,000 so far in the project. Nearly half has come in donations, the rest has come from other activities like its tripboats, membership fees, sales etc. (As an example, a cubic metre of concrete costs over £80 and there are 300 cubic metres in the lock alone.) Markham Vale pays for the contractors and has paid for some of the blocks and concrete and all of the L-shaped reinforcers. The lock gates were bought with a grant from Veolia.
The Trust is hosting the National Trailboat Festival on behalf of the Inland Waterways Association on May 28th and 29th. It is hoped that all the work will be done by then and that boats will be able to use the lock, turn in Hartington Harbour and come out again.
The Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days and will include boat rides, canoeing, children’s rides, plenty of entertainment, dozens of stalls plus food and drink including a Real Ale bar run by Brampton Brewery