Festival time at Tapton Lock


12 September 2017

Join in the annual celebration of the Chesterfield Canal at our Tapton Lock visitor centre this weekend.

On Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September between 11am and 4pm there will be arts, crafts, live music and outdoor activities with the chance to have a go on a climbing wall or try canoeing.

Chesterfield based Junction Arts will be running art workshops, putting on children's entertainment and holding poetry readings. Entry to the festival is free but there will be charges for some activities.

At festival time and throughout the year there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the county's historic canals and surrounding countryside. Canal boat trips on the Chesterfield and Cromford canals offer a leisurely pace of life.

The 'John Varley' launches from Tapton Lock Visitor Centre in Chesterfield on Sundays through to October and there are also special events including Santa Specials in November and December. The 'Madeline' operates from nearby Hollingwood Hub and will also be offering Santa Specials on-the-water boat trips.

'Birdswood' is a restored narrow boat (opens in a new window), which makes a peaceful journey along the Cromford Canal from Cromford Wharf to High Peak junction. There are scheduled trips through the year, some of which are horse drawn, and the Birdswood is also available for private hire.

Other activities at the canals. If you have your own boat you can buy a licence from Tapton Lock Visitor Centre which allows you to launch it on the Chesterfield canal. Walking and cycling on the canal towpaths which are also accessible in many areas for prams and wheelchairs allowing everyone to enjoy the scenery and wildlife, and day fishing permits are available at Tapton Lock.

We have recently created canoe trails on the Cromford and Chesterfield canals in partnership with British Canoeing. These trails are open to all canoeists. British Canoeing members can paddle them free of charge whilst other canoeists will need to pay a small fee. Once afloat all canoeists can explore the rich industrial heritage of both areas. Numbers of canoeists on the Cromford Canal are carefully controlled because of the sensitive nature of the canal which is recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its wildlife.

British Canoeing Members need to quote their membership number and book ahead to gain their free access to the canals by contacting Middleton Top Visitor Centre for the Cromford Canal and Tapton Lock for the Chesterfield Canal. Find out more about British Canoeing (opens in a new window).

Anyone who fancies having a go at fashioning their own canoe paddle should get along to our Derbyshire Woodland Festival at Elvaston Castle Country Park on Saturday 23 or Sunday 24 September 2017. Experts will be on hand to help with making paddles and coracles amongst a wide range of contemporary and traditional woodland crafts.

Both Cromford and Chesterfield canals are of significance in Derbyshire's history. Cromford Canal was last used as a working waterway in 1944 but still has much of interest and is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Chesterfield Canal lays claim to transporting cannon balls from the Chesterfield armaments industry for the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.The canal was also used to transport stone from Yorkshire quarries to rebuild the Houses of Parliament after the great fire in 1834. Nowadays both canals are places for rest and recreation with opportunities for volunteers to get involved on a variety of projects.

Our Cabinet Support Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure, Councillor Trevor Ainsworth, said:

"Our canals are very special. They have a rich industrial heritage and a new role now as places for leisure and education.

"Bands of volunteers do a great job working with us to help restore the canals and operate boat trips.

"I would encourage locals and visitors to discover some of what goes on − boat trips, canoeing, fishing, festivals and much more".

Find out about volunteering opportunities at Chesterfield Canal Trust (opens in a new window) or Friends of Cromford Canal (opens in a new window)

Find out more about our countryside sites and volunteering (opens in a new window).