Butterley Gangroad & Cromford Canal

Saturday 7th April 2018 9.50 a.m.

By special request, this walk will explore the route of the early railway from Crich limestone quarries to the kilns beside the Cromford Canal at Bullbridge and then follow the route the stone took along the canal to Butterley ironworks. This railway features in the Guinness Book of Records as having the oldest railway tunnel in the world – and although it is not possible to see this today, we can walk over it!

I have asked Trevor Griffin, who masterminded the HLF-funded ButterleyGangroad Project (www.butterleygangroad.co.uk) to be our guide along the gangroad, as the railway was known.

The suggestion is to park at Cromford Road car park,Ripley(£2.30 for over 4 hours; you may find free street parking in the area)no later than 09.50 to be ready to leave at 10.00to catch the 10.13 bus number 141(destination Matlock) from Ripley Market Place to Crich Market Place. There are toilets at the side of the AVBC town hall and there is a Wetherspoon (Red Lion) just across the road if you want a breakfast on early arrival or a drink on return. There is also a single toilet at Crich.

From Crich we will explore the railway in a downhill direction (just over two miles) and you can download a guide to the route here: www.butterleygangroad.co.uk/bg2a0002%20butterley%20gangroad%20walk%20leaflet.pdf. I hope to have copies to hand out on the day too. This section will take around 1.5 hours.

From there we will follow the route of the canal for 1 mile past the site of Bullbridge Aqueduct and along the massive embankment high above the A610, past the partly restored gauging narrows to Buckland Hollow where we will lunch at the Excavator pub, formerly the offices of Wheatcroft’s canal carrying company.

If there are less than 10 eating then it can be from their regular menu (attached) but the new owner would prefer to lay on a carvery (beef and turkey, possibly gammon as well, plus 5 vegetc) for £8.35 each if there are more than 10 and definitely if there are more than 15. So please can you let me know (soon as you like, but no later than 29th March) if you would like to book food and I will negotiate. Life is never easy …

There is the option to return from here to the cars at Ripley – 143/144bus at xx20.

Refreshed, we will continue across a former opencast section (with a pleasant surprise) then pick up the intact line through Hartshay as far as the western portal of Butterley Tunnel. (NB although canals are supposed to be level, there is one section that is not! There is a steep flight of 60 steps from the towpath up to the A610 crossing then a similar descent.)

From there we ascend to Butterley Reservoir where there is an option to walk across the embankment and visit the Midland Railway Butterley Station (no charge unless you want a train ride). Regular buses run back into Ripley from here, either before or after inspecting (externally) the remains of Butterley works.

If you are planning to come on the walk could you let Hugh Potter (hugh@canalsidepotters.co.uk; 01773 852009; 07929 514352) know, preferably by email, as soon as you like, but before 5th April (Please see above for earlier deadline to book lunch).

Jan & Vern