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“Lovely afternoon”
Review of Cromford Canal

Cromford Canal
Ranked #3 of 45 things to do in Matlock
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The construction of the Cromford Canal by William Jessop and Benjamin Outram, partners in the Butterley company, was completed in 1794. It is 14.5 miles long and joined Cromford with the Erewash Canal at Langley Mill. The site has a wealth of industrial heritage and lies in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage site. The canal is a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its entire length from Cromford to Ambergate. The 3.3km southern section from Whatstandwell Bridge to Ambergate is a Local Nature Reserve. The canal is a haven for water vole, a threatened and declining species, and for grass snakes, little grebes, moorhen and coots. The southern end towards Poyser's Bridge is excellent for dragonflies. The canal can be explored from the towpath between Cromford Wharf and Ambergate, a distance of just over five miles. The walk from Cromford Wharf to High Peak Junction is suitable for pushchair's and wheel chairs. We manage the section from Cromford to Ambergate for recreation and wildlife. The canal has a very rich and diverse wildlife running through the attractive Derwent Valley and part of it has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserve. The Nature Reserve can be accessed from the north end at Whatstandwell or at the southern end from Ambergate by a towpath off Chase Road. The old towing path which follows the canal is a public footpath - please note that this path is narrow and uneven in places. Birdswood, a restored narrow boat is run on scheduled trips through the year by the Friends of Cromford Canal. Open to all members of the public. Come and enjoy a peaceful journey along the canal, from Cromford Wharf to High Peak Junction, introduced by a booming announcement from the FCC President, Brian Blessed. Birdswood is also available for private hire and for specialist educational trips. Limited canoeing is permitted on the Cromford Canal between Cromford Wharf and High Peak Junction. Because of the sensitive nature of the canal, numbers are strictly controlled. There's a Changing Places toilet for use by the public in the car park at Cromford Wharf.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access
1 review
“Lovely afternoon”
Reviewed March 16, 2014

Fantastic trip on birdswood up and down Cromford canel. Very friendly staff who went the extra mile to ensure my trip/afternoon was as pleasant as it could be. I will most definitely be returning and recommending

Visited February 2014
Thank dharrison387
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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337 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Matlock, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
79 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Always a pleasure”
Reviewed March 13, 2014

A wonderful setting for this delightful canal, with an excellent walk along the towpath. The Wheatcroft's Wharf cafe goes from strength to strength. It serves good drinks and cakes and snacks, has a bookshop, gift shop and local produce areas around the walls, which gives it extra interest.

Visited March 2014
Thank victoria d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cromford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Peaceful, relaxing canal boat trip”
Reviewed March 12, 2014

We're regulars to this local wildlife sanctuary and linear walk - a towpath trail shared by walkers and cyclists that stretches for five miles down the leafy Derwent valley. And now there's a narrowboat on the canal, too - the first boat to use the waterway in 25 years.

Birdswood is based at Cromford Wharf just opposite Arkwright's Mills. It doesn't run every day because it's manned by volunteers from a local canal restoration charity, but there are regular trips at weekends and on Wednesdays - there's a useful Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Birdswood?fref=ts giving up-to-date details. Some trips run as far as High Peak Junction - just over a mile - and others (the one we went on) go through to Leawood Pump House and then turn back. The pump house is a massive Victorian building that houses a big steam water pump, which is kept in running order and is in steam a couple of times a month. Other industrial heritage sites include the High Peak Junction workshops of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway, which are thought to be the oldest railway workshops in the world.

The boat trip is slow (very slow - walkers on the bank passed us!) but incredibly serene. There's no engine noise as the boat runs on an electric motor to lessen its environmental impact, so you get the feeling of just slipping along past meadows and under trees. There are lots of water birds plus rare water voles - frequently spotted plopping in and out of their bankside homes.

The round trip takes about two and a half hours; a single trip just on an hour - you can easily walk back to the car park at Cromford wharf, where there's also a decent cafe (although they offer hot drinks on the boat). It's a real de-stress therapy, plus the chance to get up close and personal with some entertaining wildlife. Highly recommended and not expensive - we paid a fiver each for our trip, and there are concessions for oldies and kids.

Visited March 2014
3 Thank MilltownGirlMarie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
44 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Boat trip on Birdswood”
Reviewed March 3, 2014

A tranquil trip up and down the Cromford canal. Staff are very informative and pleasant. There is information regarding the trip provided at some points along the canal. Brian Blessed gives the intro which is good to hear. Even on a wet day it could not spoil such a trip. Well worth a journey. Will be trying again very soon.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank harpur22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Derby, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
466 reviews
243 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
“Frequent visitor to this wonderful walk”
Reviewed January 27, 2014

it is a canal which offers a lovely flat, walk with peace, tranquility and wildlife. Try the whole length if possible, also, try other part of the walk; the canal walk and train walk (both now defunct) from Ambergate to Lower Hartshay/Ripley - marvellous

Visited January 2014
1 Thank dick h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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