Tuesday, May 25th,       10 miles.     Killamarsh to Chesterfield.

Rain was forecast for the afternoon, so I boarded the first bus to Killamarsh, it took well over an hour to reach the destination having travelled around most of the Chesterfield district. I’ve become used to sitting for all this time with my face mask on. Calling at the hospital we picked up a drunk who had probably been released from casualty, as could be expected he caused some chaos on board before staggering off in the middle of nowhere.

I alighted at the Canal Bridge stop where I finished yesterday, but it was difficult to make out the bridge as the canal was filled in, encouragingly though was a sign for The Cuckoo Way to Chesterfield. The Greenway runs all the way to Renishaw and is a facility I hope the locals make use of, there were very few on it today.  So I disappeared into the undergrowth on the edge of a housing estate. The line of the canal was just a ditch to my left, at least it doesn’t seem to have been built over. The Cuckoo Way roundels, which I explained yesterday, were a help in navigating where the canal has all but disappeared.

Turning a corner the Trans Pennine Trail cycling route appears to the right following an old railway line. One could walk on the cycleway but I preferred to stay on the “towpath”. All of a sudden there was water in the canal, this section has been a fishery part of the Sitwell Estate. Coming towards me was a gentleman and his hound, he turned out to be the water bailiff for the estate. During the periods when we’ve not been allowed to travel far local fishing became a boom pastime and he was kept busy supervising the waters. He told me of the plans to restore more stretches of the canal, how to save and transfer the fish and how the line of the HS2 was coming through the region adding complications to the scheme. In this age of zoom conferences and working more from home will another railway be needed? The canal reverts to a ditch farther on.

The water bailiff goes on his way.

The line of the canal, the towpath and the Trans-Pennine Trail alongside.

The Greenway continued at times narrow and muddy, at others alongside the redundant canal. The cycle way has gone elsewhere. It passed the outskirts of Renishaw and then as a footpath following the filled in canal across open fields. Good progress was made as the way was clear ahead, although I had no idea of where I really was.

Approaching Staveley the canal originally was carried on a high embankment to cross the River Doe Lea, this is apparent on the ground except at the river itself, Staveley Puddlebank.

Staveley Puddlebank.

A lot of work is being undertaken at Staveley with a new lock and a basin constructed. This is some achievement as much of the labour is voluntary, Chesterfield Canal Trust. It was easy to get lost here with the new works and the many cycle routes.

Lunch was eaten on a bench next to the old Mill Green bridge. Men were fishing in the basin using very lifelike lures. As I sat two vessels came up the canal. The first powering a reed cutter and his mate using a rake to clear the water. In front of my eyes, the raker pulled a bath out of the canal – catch of the day. A little farther along he’d netted a bike and a supermarket trolley or were they art installations?.

Much friendlier than they look.

Catch of the day.

Entertainment over, I set off on the last few miles into Chesterfield. The towpath remained good and  a café was open at Hollingwood Lock.  On this section to Tapton new locks and bridges have already been built, and the canal is viable, although the only two boats I saw were from the Canal Trust used for pleasure trips raising money for the restoration cause. If you had a boat why would you put it on a section of canal only navigable for six miles.

And then there was a mile to go…

The end of the 6mile navigable section is short of the city and the rather dreary water comes to an end by building development sites which were basins in the years of the working canal. There are plans for a new showcase canal basin close to the city centre.

This lady’s not for turning.


First and last lock.

Even if the canal peters out before you get into Chesterfield, the sight of that twisted landmark is inspiring.

On reflection, I think it would be better to walk the way in the opposite direction with a far better finish at the Trent in West Stockwith.

46 miles of varied walking and I only became lost once in the housing estates of Killamarsh. I never heard a cuckoo, but I found a plausible reason for the Cuckoo tag, 



12 thoughts on “THE CUCKOO WAY. FIVE.


    Well done. you anticipated my own question about putting a boat on such a short stretch, and just to compound the concept, getting a traditional narrow boat from wherever on to that bit of water would be a challenge, physically and financially. You haven’t given much detail but I guess the logistics mist have been a bit tricky?

  2. Michael Graeme

    A fascinating adventure – including, I suspect, the public transport side of it.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      My humble lockdown escape adventure. Got to start somewhere.
      The buses and trains were all part of successfully coming out.
      Mind you a friend from Bolton invited me down for a catchup and drinks in his garden today, I politely declined – unnecessary travel into Bolton is not recommended.
      Staying safe in the Ribble Valley?

      1. Michael Graeme

        Yes, I have a mate in Bolton. We’ll be letting this variant blow over before we meet up.

  3. George Kitching

    Really enjoyed following this. I like the Cuckoo tag explanation—it would be easy to think it quaint now, when really it was laced with rural vitriol.

  4. Michael Graeme

    Looking forward to reading your latest post on Fairsnape, but it appears to have bombed at my end. All I get is the title. Is this a clever teaser?


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