Countdown is on to country’s biggest canal-walking festival

Enthusiasts by the Chesterfield Canal.
Enthusiasts by the Chesterfield Canal.

A festival billed as the biggest canal-walking event in the country is to be held again in the Worksop and Retford area later this year.

Taking in three counties and 46 miles of tow paths over nine days, the festival, run by the Chesterfield Canal Trust, will take place from Saturday, September 14 to Sunday, September 22.

It will comprise a total of 53 guided walks, most of which are free, ranging from a children’s walk of just two miles to the full 46-mile length of the canal.

The trust’s walks officer, David Blackburn, said: “The canal is an absolute delight at any time of year, but early autumn possibly sees it at its best.

“There are walks for all ages and abilities, and also boat trips for people who would like a more relaxing day out.

“We are very grateful to everyone who has helped us put this festival together, and to our sponsors, Bassetlaw District Council and the Canal and River Trust.”

Booking in advance is essential for all of the walks, but many will focus on special interests, such as nature, history, architecture, restoration, bird spotting, and bat spotting.

There is even one on mushrooms and toadstools, overseen by Dr Patrick Harding, one of the country’s leading experts in fungi.

One walk takes in historic churches, another gives visitors guided tour of Britain’s last surviving railway roundhouse at Barrow Hill, while one includes a ‘posh picnic’. For full details, go to the trust’s website.

THE Chesterfield Canal, which runs through Worksop and Retford, is widely recognised as one of the most beautiful and varied waterways in England.

It stretches for 46 miles from the River Trent to the middle of Chesterfield, linking Nottinghamshire, south Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Every yard of it can be walked on the towpath, known as The Cuckoo Way.

It goes through tranquil countryside, boasts some of the earliest staircase locks ever built (240 years ago) and features some of the best canal fishing in the country.

Since 1989, 12 miles of the canal have been restored, along with 37 locks, 11 bridges and two new marinas. The Chesterfield Canal Trust aims to have it completely restored by 2027, the 250th anniversary of the opening of the canal.