However, Susan and I got off in Eastwood and had a bacon roll and tea here before beginning our walk. The food was good, wholesome and cheap compared to some places.
From here we walked the half-mile to the canal at Langley Mill.
The Great Northern pub sits right beside the Langley Mill Lock, with a small marina / canal basin in between.
Langley Mill Lock was full to overflowing as this picture shows. I have not seen this on lock gates for a very long time. This end is the Erewash Canal and the other end what remains of the Cromford Canal.
The sign says it all. Once three important canals met here and this was an important canal 'hub'. Now it is where the Erewash Canal ends. Any boats which get this far from Trent Lock by the River Trent in Long Eaton have to turn around and go back.
The width of the Erewash Canal looking south from Langley Mill gives a good clue as to how busy this would have been, even seventy years ago.
Along sections of the canal, fencing has been torn down and carted off wholesale, probably for use as firewood. We saw several styles like this. You can see the same thing on other sections we have walked.
Most of the towpath between Langley Mill and Eastwood Lock is little more than a mud path and, along a few stretches, heavily churned up as this pic shows. It is also the noisiest section of the Erewash Canal because of its proximity to the very busy Eastwood Bypass.
This is where what remains of the disused Nottingham Canal begins. About one hundred yards from the Erewash Canal and is signposted as 'The Erewash Trail' — something we plan to walk another day, beginning at Wollaton Vale in Nottingham. Our old A-Z Map show the canal coloured blue, indicating water. Unfortunately, it is now all overgrown at this point.
Eastwood Lock, where the towpath changes sides, from the west bank to the east bank.
Here, a canal race carries the excess water away down one side of the lock, so you avoid the water overflowing the top of the lock gates, as you saw in the earlier pic of the Langley Mill Lock.
Just south of Eastwood Lock there are the remains of two large pillars suggesting that something quite large once crossed the Erewash Canal at this point. Looking at a 1921 Ordnance Survey map (no.129, Nottingham & Loughborough), which shows the area in some detail, the bridge remains above and viaduct / piers in the picture below are both marked and there is a bridge across the nearby Nottingham Canal (which from Shipley Gate to Langley Mill ran very close together).
Shipley Gate Lock looking north towards Langley Mill.
The Erewash Canal and the Midland Railway are what you might call 'geographical buddies'. They both run close together through the length of the Erewash Valley, often within sight of one another as other pics in this series of walks show. Both were constructed during the relatively early days of the industrial revolution, within fifty years of one another. One at the end of the eighteenth century and the other during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. This pic is where the railway crosses the canal, from running on the west to to the south the railways moves to the east side of the canal's northern section. Today, the bridge is modern looking, so I'm going to look for a photograph of the previous bridge which, if I find, I will include in this blog at some point in the future.
During the two hours we walked we saw only one passenger train, one goods train and one engine on its own. The 1921 OS map shows sixteen stations close to the Erewash Canal: 2 in Langley Mill; Eastwood, Shipley Gate; Newthorpe & Greasley; Awsworth, 2 in Ilkeston, Ilkeston (main line); Trowell (near Gallow's Inn); Stanton Gate; Sandiacre; Long Eaton (town); Sawley Junction (now Long Eaton) and Trent (east across from Trent Lock, where the cottages close to the railway track remain as you pass on Nottingham — Loughborough trains looking south). Today there are just two stations: Langley Mill, which re-opened a few years ago, and Long Eaton, neither of which are central to the communities they serve.
There was also the Derby Canal which joined the Erewash Canal just south of Sandiacre, plus countless railway lines, a good few of which were stationless and no doubt served
colleries and iron works, like the line from Stanton Gate to Dale Abbey.
to be continued later today (5 April)...