Canal Trust open day at Draycott this weekend
Visitor Open Day at Canal-Side Cottages
Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust are inviting the public to see progress on the restored canal-side cottages from 11am until 4pm on Sunday 31st March on Hopewell Road, Draycott DE72 3PE.
The event is to show the Trust’s appreciation for the tremendous support received from the public over the last year as restoration has progressed.
Volunteer led working parties have increased so that a group of 12-15 attend at least three times each week and progress is speeding up.
Visitors will be treated to a free guided tour of the building with explanations of the proposed design and the history of its inhabitants.
They will also be able to catch up on progress with the adjacent Golden Mile of disused canal which will also soon be brought back into public use. Public fundraising has now reached £97,000.
The original canal-side building was built in the 1820s as a mill for making cotton thread. It was then converted into small cottages for tenants who worked at local mills before housing farm workers and then falling into disrepair over the past 30 years.
When the canal-side cottages were taken over by the Trust they were dilapidated, having been empty for over 30 years, with holes in the roofs and walls and internal floors crumbling.
Now the roofs have been repaired, chimney stacks and walls rebuilt and internal floors made safe or replaced. Over 3,000 volunteer hours have been spent to date.
Planning permission is expected to allow for the building to include three houses with 2/3 bedrooms, a café, Trust/commercial office space and a museum showing past times and people at the cottages.
The cottages are at the start of the Draycott ‘Golden Mile’ between Hopwell Road and Derby Road which will be one of the first stretches of the former 13 mile waterway that the Trust plans to restore to enhance the local area for residents and visitors.
The £352,000 canal project will focus on leisure activities from canoeing to fishing as well as a re-laid foot and cycle path and designated grass track for horse riders.
Society Chairman and volunteer organiser Edwin Case said: “I live in the village of Draycott and every day I am asked about the progress.
“There is real support for the project in the village and for good reason. The village stands to get a social hub established on its doorstep in an area already popular with locals and a link back to the history of a time when the village was being established.
“We are delighted also that the village is recognising the importance of the project by adopting it as this year’s British Village in Bloom theme.”
Chris Madge, Chairman of the Canal Trust and responsible for restoration projects, continued: “Our initial open day took place just over a year ago before any work had been started.
“We attracted around 300 visitors and that showed us just how interested people are in what we are trying to do.
“Over the past few weeks our volunteers have been making the building safe so that people can take a full hard hat tour and see what we are doing. This is a community led project and we are keen to ensure the community feel part of the work.
“The number of people volunteering is steadily increasing as work progresses and they feel they are achieving something of lasting significance.”
Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust was founded in 1993 with the ultimate aim of restoring a 12.5 mile stretch between Derby and Sandiacre to connect to the Trent and Mersey and Erewash Canals. This would create a 25 mile cruising ring with access to more than 2,000 miles of navigable waterways across the UK.
Mr Madge concluded: “We are also making real progress on a river boat for the Derwent, a stretch of canal at Spondon and lock restorations at Borrowash and Sandiacre.
“All these projects are part of our overall vision to restore the former Derby Canal as a benefit for all, which is a self-sustaining economic engine for job creation, tourism and environmental nature conservation.”
For more information about how to get involved with the Draycott Golden Mile and the Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust, please visit www.derbycanal.org.