THE restoration of the Chesterfield Canal will shortly take a great leap forward thanks to a huge donation of clay from Suon Ltd.
Chesterfield Canal Trust will be spending £5.3 million on major works with its share of the Staveley Town Deal. The value of the clay runs well into seven figures and the total volume is 160,000 cubic metres. It is currently at Foxlow, just north of Barrow Hill.
The trust is grateful for this wonderful gesture by Suon and also to the Chatsworth Settlement which has waived its right to the royalties that it held upon the clay.
Trust development manager George Rogers said: “Purchasing and transporting suitable materials from other sources would be prohibitively expensive and cause untold disturbance to the local population.”
Nicholas Wood, estates director for Chatsworth, said: “We are very happy to have been able to support the Chesterfield Canal Trust with this project, and we hope it will help enable future generations to enjoy the canal for many years.”
A substantial section will be rebuilding the historic Staveley Puddlebank. This is a massive structure 800m long that stretches across the Doe Lea Valley.
It was originally constructed in 1776 out of clay dug by hand and moved in wheelbarrows by navvies. Where it crossed the river Doe Lea the bank was 10m high. It was partially bulldozed in 1972, hence the need to remodel it.
Ivan Fomin, chairman of the Staveley Town Deal Board, said: “It’s fantastic to see project sponsors working together to achieve the overall objectives of the Town Deal. This is an important donation that will help ensure the canal can continue to be enjoyed by local people and visitors, while making use of this natural resource in the local area.”