Chesterfield Canal to reopen for activities after ‘hands off flow’ notice is lifted

Tripboat cruises and other activities along Chesterfield Canal are to resume this weekend.

It comes after the Environment Agency lifted a ‘hands off flow’ for the River Rother.

The notice, issued during the recent heatwave, had prevented water being taken at St Helena’s flood gate – where Chesterfield Canal starts – which in turn caused water levels along the stretch of canal to deplete.

“The Hands off flow notice for the River Rother has been lifted,” Chesterfield Canal Trust said in a statement on Wednesday, July 27.

Tripboat cruises and other activities are to resume along Chesterfield Canal

“This means that water can again be taken from the River Rother at St Helena’s. It will take a few days for the whole canal to refill.

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“This means that all our cruises – charters and public trips – on John Varley ll from Tapton Lock and on Madeline from Hollingwood Hub will hopefully be able to start again at the weekend. The towpath remains open.”

A post on the Tapton Lock Visitor Centre Facebook page said stop planks – lengths of timber which are inserted across the waterway to make a temporary dam – will now be removed.

Tapton Visitor Centre says stop planks are being removed to help aid water flow along the canal (Picture: Tapton Lock Visitor Centre)

This will help restore water flow along the canal so activities which were paused under the notice, such as canoeing and paddleboarding, can now resume.

The post read: “Good News! Our guys are going to be removing stop planks and restoring water flow so we should be open for paddling again, on the Chesterfield Canal in Derbyshire, from Saturday.

“If you are a member of British Canoeing, you paddle free of charge. You just need to log in with the visitor centre at Tapton Lock.

"We need to record your name, BC number, post code and type of craft - just give us a call on 01629 533020, message us on Facebook or email [email protected]

“If you are not a BC member, you'll need to buy a day ticket from the visitor centre and we'll need to see some public liability insurance - you can find the information in the related documents section at the bottom of our Chesterfield Canal webpage.”

Some reported that the low water levels had caused fish deaths along the waterway.

However Derbyshire County Council said: “We haven’t received any reports of fish dying and we continue to work with the Environment Agency.”

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