Next FCC Event

Monday 19th February

Bennerley Viaduct

A talk by Friends of Bennerley Viaduct on the history, present condition and intended future of the Bennerley Viaduct including its place and function as part of the Great Northern Railway and the industry which has risen and fallen within its shadow.

£2. 7.30pm, Ironville Church Hall

Bar, Tea, Coffee & Raffle

Non members welcome

Work Parties

Wednesdays Fortnightly

Ironville Work Party

Meet at the Crossings Club, Ironville, 9.30am.

Contact John Barker for more information: 07860 632837

Wednesdays Fortnightly

Cromford Work Party

Meet at Cromford Wharf car park at 9.30am. Painting Birdswood
Please bring your lunch and sensible clothing

Contact John Barker for more information: 01773 760358

Upcoming Events

Monday 19th March

Roses and Castles

A talk by Suzie Litton-Wood

£2. 7.30pm, Ironville Church Hall

Tea, Coffee, Bar & Raffle.

Non members welcome

Monday 16th April


With an update from George Rogers

7.30pm, Ironville Church Hall

Tea, Coffee, Bar & Raffle.

Monday 21st May

Bess of Hardwick Hall

With the help of examples of period costume, Sonia Preece explores Bess’s time at the Old Hall and life within a Tudor mansion in the 1580s.

£2. 7.30pm, Ironville Church Hall

Tea, Coffee, Bar & Raffle.

Non members welcome

Monday 18th June

Off the Boats

A light-hearted talk by Elizabeth Holloway about a middle-aged couple who have a 60ft narrowboat built, and spend the next 5 years living on it, cruising the canals. Illustrated by canal art, photographs and maps.

£2. 7.30pm, Ironville Church Hall

Tea, Coffee, Bar & Raffle.

Non members welcome

Click image to download poster
Click here for map


The Friends of the Cromford Canal is a charitable organisation whose aim is to see the restoration of the historic Cromford Canal for the benefit of the general public. We advocate and promote its restoration to navigation, connected to the national inland waterway system, and the conservation, use, maintenance, and development of the canal, buildings, towing path, structures, craft and environment now or previously associated with the canal to its fullest use for appropriate commercial and recreational purposes and to preserve this valuable historical heritage.

For the very latest news, check out our Facebook page here.

Latest News


Regular public trips between Cromford Wharf and High Peak Junction/Leawood Pump house aboard the electrically powered historic narrowboat Birdswood will operate every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (plus Thursdays April-Oct) from 17th March.



Chelsea, our special boat horse, will be pulling Birdswood on the following dates this year, which coincide with the steaming dates for Leawood Pump House, offering the unique opportunity to experience these two unique features together

Horse dates poster

HORSE DRAWN TRIPS generally operate one weekend per month, usually to coincide with the steam days for Leawood Pump. Trips will be single trips departing Cromford Wharf at 11:00 and 14:00 and High Peak Junction at 12:15 and 15:15. Full dates and prices, click here.


Fancy Volunteering?

Have you a love for the outdoors? Do you fancy helping out as a volunteer? Birdswood is always looking for more crew members to join the team. Training and uniform are provided. Call 07552 055455 for more details.

Cromford Canal goes up in the (Historic) World

In the latest publication on canals by Heritage England, the Cromford Canal is scored 4 for historic importance (on a scale of 0 to 5, with very few on the top grade of 5, and all of those much longer waterways). Interestingly, this compares with the former British Waterways grading of Low (their lowest grade).
The main document is a fascinating appraisal of different aspects of canal architecture. The appendix itemises every canalside listed building and scheduled monument in Britain. If you want some bedtime reading, this should keep you happy for hours!
You can find details and download copies here.
One curiosity is that they refer to the High Peak Aqueduct as 'Tunnel Aqueduct'; has anyone heard it called that before? Presumably the name relates to the adjacent Leawood (railway) tunnel.

Canal Walks and more

The annual Autumn Footprints walks take place in Amber Valley and Erewash from 9th to 24th September. Several of these include stretches of the Cromford Canal. Full details can be seen here.

Grant for Coir Rolls

FCC has been awarded a grant for the installation of Coir Rolls along the towpath edge between Cromford and High Peak Junction. Work has already begun. A report has been published in Towpath Talk.

AGM - New Trustees Elected

Four new trustees were elected to serve the Friends of the Cromford Canal at the AGM on 22nd May. In all there were six candidates for the four places and the voting was as follows in order of the number of votes cast for each candidate:

George Rogers 169

Dave Ratner 141

Jude Berry 140

Chris Wilding 88

Sean Dodds 70

Pauline McAllen 50

George, Dave, Jude and Chris were therefore elected. Just over fifty members attended the meeting and at least a further 130 voted online.


Notice is hereby given that the First Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Cromford Canal, Charitable Incorporated Organisation Number 1164608, which should have been held on Monday 24th April 2017, has been postponed. The First Annual General Meeting has been re-scheduled to take place on Monday 22nd May 2017, at the Church Hall, Ironville, commencing at 7.30pm.

As advised in Portal 60 nominations for trustees closed on 3rd April. Six nominations have been received; their names and a short CV can be downloaded here. As there are only vacancies for four trustees there will be an election at the above meeting.

The document also includes an expalnation for the postponement and a proxy voting form for members who wish to vote but cannot attend.

The FCC accounts for 2016 can be downloaded here.

World Heritage Site News

The latest issue of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site News is available to download here. See page 7 for reports on Birdswood and FCC activities.

Volunteers wanted to help maintain and restore canal

An FCC request for helpers on the canal was picked up by the local press. If you can help, please contact John Barker.

You can read the press report here.

Latest Ironville & Codnor Park News

You can catch up with the latest happening on and around the canal in Ironville & Codnor Park here.



FCC is delighted to have been given permission to publish the recollections of Les Mason about his journeys on the horse-drawn narrow boats carrying coal from Hartshay to Cromford in the early 1930s, the last years of their operation. The boats operated a regular twice-weekly service, with two loaded boats being pulled by a single horse. Most boats went to Cromford Wharf but some went down the Nightingale, or Lea, arm to unload at the wharf at the end.
Les also recalls the locomotives that shunted the wagons at Hartshay Colliery and much about the local village when pubs, collieries and canal were all still working.
The story is fully illustrated with maps and images of the boats and of the canal as it was over 80 years ago.
Published in time to help fill the Christmas stocking, the book costs just £5 (£6 inc p&p) from FCC Sales, Weighbridge Office, Gothic Warehouse, Mill Road, Cromford DE4 3RQ. You can also order it online through the associated Birdwood shop website.

Derbyshire Heritage Awards 2016

FCC was presented with the Judges’ Special Award at the Derbyshire Heritage Awards 2016 at Crich Tramway Museum on 7th October.

It was awarded to recognise the contribution of FCC volunteers in restoring the Cromford Canal and providing events so that visitors can enjoy this historic and scenic area.

The Awards are run by the Derbyshire Museums and Heritage Forum and celebrate all the work taking place in museums, historic houses and heritage sites across the county.


Waterway Routes, the well-known and much respected canal map publisher, has made available a detailed map of the Cromford Canal (along with the Derby, Erewash, Nutbrook and Nottingham canals) free to download from their website. An example of the kind of detail in the map can be seen on this extract. What's more, regular updates are made, so maps are kept up to date (hopefully as more becomes navigable!). You can find the download page by clicking the images below.


The regular passage of trip boat Birdswood had had no effect on birdlife on the canal. This is reported in a Breeding Birds Survey undertaken from 2013 to 2015, recently made to the Cromford Canal Partnership. The summary details follow and the full report can be downloaded here.

The partnership instructed that a suite of ecological surveys be undertaken to assess any impact of the operation of the trip boat Birdswood on sensitive habitats and species. This included a Breeding Birds Survey with field work undertaken in the spring and summer of 2013 before Birdswood was operational, and repeated in 2014 and 2015. The objective of the survey was to evaluate whether over this time there was a difference in:

The overall abundance of birds present in the canal corridor between Cromford Wharf and Derwent Aqueduct.

The diversity of species present.

The diversity and abundance of birds using the canal channel or margins for breeding.

The survey found that although the abundance and diversity of birds recorded was not remarkable, over the three year survey period the numbers in all three assessment categories remained broadly steady. Analysis of the data suggests that there has been no measurable impact on birds which can be specifically attributed to the operation of the trip boat. The report acknowledges the sensitivity of the site to a number of disturbance factors and recommends measures to continue to operate the trip boat under strict conditions and undertake sensitive habitat management.


A brand new website has been set up for FCC's trip boat Birdswood. Full details of schedules, prices, special events and much more are available there. Check it out now here.



FCC Members will recall receiving raffle tickets to sell in aid of national restoration, the proceeds of which were divided between participating societies. This year the raffle raised over £14,000 and FCC came third in the list of ticket sales, beaten only by the WRG Van Appeal and the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust. Well done to all of you who worked so hard to sell tickets. Full details here.


Towpath Talk

The latest edition of the popular free inland waterway newspaper Towpath Talk is now available at FCC's Weighbridge Shop at Cromford Wharf. The shop is open 11am to 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from now until Christmas. The shop also stocks a range of local craft items that make ideal Christmas presents - and remember all profits go to the future restoration of the Cromford Canal.


For some months Birdswood has been hitting an underwater object in the canal close to the former Cromford Garden Centre. The FCC work party on Tuesday 13th October "waded in" to solve the problem, thanks to diver John Sparham, suitably kitted in dry suit. It turned out not to be a large log as thought, but a large vehicle tyre, which proved difficult to shift as it was full of silt. Investigation further down the canal produced a similar tyre! If you would like to help with future work parties to help keep Birdswood running, please contact John Barker.

Tyre Rescue

Tyre Rescue



Following the successful agreement of a lease of the former Wheatcroft's weighbridge office on the Mill Road end of the Gothic Warehouse on Cromford Wharf, volunteers are needed to 'man' the office as a 'shop front' for FCC and Birdswood. If you think this could be for you please contact Vix Wilding.

The shop is now open for business, so do drop in next time you are in Cromford.


Derbyshire Record Society has published the first volume of the Minutes of the Cromford Canal Co. More details.


FCC was delighted to recive a cheque for £2500 for restoration work on the Sawmills Gauging Narrows. More details


English Heritage has scheduled Fritchley Tunnel on the Butterley Company's gangroad. More details


Friends of the Cromford Canal sold more IWA raffle tickets than any other group and recently received a cheque for £1,200. More details.

NEW HI-VIZ VESTS thanks to Amber Valley Rotary Club

More details (external link).