Shardlow may not have the hills and splendid views to be found in other parts of Derbyshire, but for anyone interested in heritage and who enjoys walking by water it should not be missed. In summer and at the weekends the canal is alive with brightly painted long boats, moored beside the towpath or moving quietly along the canal.
Watching boats negotiating locks is an absorbing experience and locks are encountered on both sections of the walk by the canal. The canal bank is left at Long Horse Bridge where the River Trent meets the River Derwent, some 60 miles from its source on Bleaklow Moor. The banks of the Trent are a popular place for fishing, as evidenced by the number of pegs at the water’s edge that you pass.
At Cavendish Bridge the river divides Derbyshire and Leicestershire, the present bridge was built in 1960 and replaced a much older one. Just over the bridge on the Derbyshire side is a list of tolls that were once charged to cross from one county to the other. Shardlow Marina is a colourful sight with boats of all sorts and sizes waiting to be sold. The walk concludes with a fascinating tour of this famous old canal port.
Note: Shortly after undertaking this walk Long Horse Bridge was taken down by the Council for safety reasons. If a replacement bridge is not available when you attempt the walk, it is still worth walking as far as Derwent Mouth Lock before returning to Shardlow and following a circular route round this fascinating old village.
Length: 3 miles.
Start/finish: Wilne Lane Car Park, turn off the old A6 by the Navigation Inn.
Location: On the old A6 Derby to Loughborough road.
Terrain: An easy flat walk, but the section by the River Trent maybe flooded after very heavy rainfall and should not be attempted in such conditions.
NOTE: Long Horse Bridge has been dismantled for safety reasons and although the council indicated at the time that it would be re-built, the situation still remains the same at April 2005. This means that a circular walk is no longer possible, but it is still well worthwhile walking down to Derwent Mouth Lock, before returning and undertaking a circular walk of Shardlow.
1. Turn right out of the car park along Wilne Lane, descend the steps on the left to the canal towpath and go right under the bridge along the canal bank.
2. After about one mile Derwent Mouth Lock is passed and where the River Derwent and River Trent meet, go over Long Horse Bridge and take the path through the hedge to the right to join a surfaced road used mainly by anglers.
3. Continue along the road to the right keeping close to the Trent until reaching the outskirts of an industrial plant.
4. Here the path swings to the right along the banks of the river with a wire strand fence to the left.
5. When the wall of a long building blocks the path, turn left and walk to the stile in the corner of the field leading to the A6 road.
6. Turn right along the main road and cross Cavendish Bridge – Shardlow Marina can be seen on the right – just over the bridge on the left is a plaque with a scale of charges once used to cross the bridge.
7. Continue along the road until reaching Canal Bank Road where you turn left and walk down to Lock Cottage.
8. Turn right to walk back along the canal bank under the bridge and past the main mooring area for canal boats.
9. Return to Wilne Lane by ascending the steps at the side of the bridge over the canal, which you used previously in the walk, turn right and walk down the road back to the starting point.
Note: The A6 runs through Shardlow and links with A50(T).
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Shardlow Heritage Centre (Tel. 01332 793368/792334) housed in the old Salt Warehouse, the centre features displays of canal and village life of this historic inland port. Telephone for more information.
Elvaston Castle Country Park (Tel. 01332 571342) the first Country Park to be opened in Britain. Set in 200 acres of parkland with an ornamental lake, extensive gardens, stony grottoes, rock archways and many other interesting features. Open daily.
The Donington Grand Prix Collection (Tel. 01332 811027) the world’s largest collection of Grand Prix racing cars. Exhibits from 1900 to the present day detailing the history of motor racing. Open daily.
The Malt Shovel (Tel. 01332 799763) this cosy little pub with its open fire and old world atmosphere is open all day. Meals are served every day at lunchtime except for Sundays. Seating is available outside overlooking the canal.
Canal Bank Tearooms (Tel. 01332 799115) situated on the ground floor of the Old Salt Warehouse by the canal towpath. Light refreshments are served throughout the year on Saturdays and Sundays only. Please telephone for details.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
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Shardlow is one of the best-preserved inland canal ports in the country. It is a fascinating place to explore, still busy with boats, now used for leisure and not for commerce.
All this activity is good news for the canal side pubs, which swarm with customers in the summer and at the weekend.
A walk along the canal towpath brings you into contact with many of the old buildings of the Canal Age.
Mostly now used for different purposes, but still largely intact: the massive warehouses that once stored ale, cheese, coal, cotton, iron, lead, malt, pottery and salt; and the wharves where goods were loaded and unloaded.
Read the feature, and discover the Heritage Trail by clicking the link below.
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This non-commercial website is based on Discover Derbyshire Supplements published by the Derby Evening Telegraph.
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