(406) 855-9256

Monday 19th November

'New' Historic Photographs

An illustrated talk by Hugh Potter


FCC's Archivist will show some
'new' old photographs of the canal that he
has acquired in the last few years. Audience
participation will be welcomed!

Please click the poster above to download and print to display in your area - thanks!

£2. 7.30pm, Ironville Church Hall

Tea, Coffee, Bar & Raffle

Non members welcome

Work Parties

Weekly on Wednesdays

Volunteer Work Party

The work party is operating at a variety of sites along the canal, usually starting at 9.30am.

Contact John Barker for more information: 07860 632837 or 01773 760358

Volunteers Wanted!!



FCC now leases the former Wheatcroft's weighbridge office on the Mill Road end of the Gothic Warehouse on Cromford Wharf. Volunteers are needed to 'man' the office as a 'shop front' for FCC and Birdswood. If you think this could be for you please contact Vix Wilding.

The shop is open when Birdswood is operating, so do drop in next time you are in Cromford.

Upcoming Events

Monday 19th November

'New' Historic Photographs

An illustrated talk by Hugh Potter

FCC's Archivist will show some
'new' old photographs of the canal that he
has acquired in the last few years. Audience
participation will be welcomed!

£2. 7.30pm, 3138150016

Tea, Coffee, Bar & Raffle.

Non members welcome

Click image to download poster
Click here for map


The Friends of the Cromford Canal is a charitable organisation whose aim is to see the restoration of the historic Cromford Canal for the benefit of the general public. We advocate and promote its restoration to navigation, connected to the national inland waterway system, and the conservation, use, maintenance, and development of the canal, buildings, towing path, structures, craft and environment now or previously associated with the canal to its fullest use for appropriate commercial and recreational purposes and to preserve this valuable historical heritage.

For the very latest news, check out our Facebook page here.

Latest News


Dates have been announced for this year's Santa Special cruises on the historic narrow boat Birdswood. All children get to meet Santa in the boat's traditional boatman's cabin - and grown ups have a good time too!

(231) 243-5465

Numbers are limited and trips fill up quickly, so get yours booked now! There is a special price for the first weekend.

Trips depart from Cromford Wharf at 12pm & 2pm on weekends throughout December: 1st & 2nd, 8th & 9th, 15th & 16th, 22nd & 23rd with an additional trip on Thursday 20th.

Under 5 years: £7; Over 5 years & adults: £10

Restoration Principles - Views Wanted

Members will have read in the Portal about the 'Restoration Principles' developed by the Strategic Restoration Committee. Along with the Principles themselves, you can now also read a few items of additional commentary to help explain them. The SRC would love to get members' comments - read more here

Leawood Pump House Repairs

Repairs to Leawood Pump House will begin in the second half of September and continue for 12-16 weeks. During this time the Pump House will be closed to the public. This means that the last opportunity this year to see the Pump in steam will be 15th-16th September.

Horse-drawn trips on Birdswood will continue as scheduled but, after that date, passengers will not be able to visit the pump house. However they will be able to see the work as it progresses and it will still be possible to walk across the aqueduct to the old lock cottage on the Nightingale Arm.

AGM - Trustees Re-elected

Four trustees were re-elected to serve the Friends of the Cromford Canal at the AGM on 16th April 2018. In all there were seven candidates for the four places and the voting was as follows in alpahbetical order:

Jack Brown - 180
Sean Dodds - 90
Pauline Eversden - 84
Mike Kelley - 215
David Martin - 134
Wendy Scarle - 57
Yvonne Shattower - 201

Jack, Mike, David and Yvonne were therefore elected.The total number of members voting was 259.

World Heritage Site News

The latest issue of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site News is available to download here. See page 11 for reports on Birdswood and FCC activities.



Regular public trips between Cromford Wharf and High Peak Junction/Leawood Pump house aboard the electrically powered historic narrowboat Birdswood operate every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (plus Thursdays April-Oct)



HORSE DRAWN TRIPS generally operate one weekend per month, to coincide with the steam days for Leawood Pump.
Single or return trips depart Cromford Wharf at 11:00 and 14:00 and single trips from High Peak Junction at 12:15 and 15:15. Full dates and prices on the poster below (click to download). Don't miss the opportunity to experience two unique features together.

Horse dates poster

Fancy Volunteering?

Have you a love for the outdoors? Do you fancy helping out as a volunteer? Birdswood is always looking for more crew members to join the team. Training and uniform are provided. Call 07552 055455 for more details.

Cromford Canal goes up in the (Historic) World

In the latest publication on canals by Heritage England, the Cromford Canal is scored 4 for historic importance (on a scale of 0 to 5, with very few on the top grade of 5, and all of those much longer waterways). Interestingly, this compares with the former British Waterways grading of Low (their lowest grade).
The main document is a fascinating appraisal of different aspects of canal architecture. The appendix itemises every canalside listed building and scheduled monument in Britain. If you want some bedtime reading, this should keep you happy for hours!
You can find details and download copies here.
One curiosity is that they refer to the High Peak Aqueduct as 'Tunnel Aqueduct'; has anyone heard it called that before? Presumably the name relates to the adjacent Leawood (railway) tunnel.

Grant for Coir Rolls

FCC has been awarded a grant for the installation of Coir Rolls along the towpath edge between Cromford and High Peak Junction. Work has already begun. A report has been published in Towpath Talk.

Volunteers wanted to help maintain and restore canal

An FCC request for helpers on the canal was picked up by the local press. If you can help, please contact John Barker.

You can read the press report here.

Latest Ironville & Codnor Park News

You can catch up with the latest happening on and around the canal in Ironville & Codnor Park here.



FCC is delighted to have been given permission to publish the recollections of Les Mason about his journeys on the horse-drawn narrow boats carrying coal from Hartshay to Cromford in the early 1930s, the last years of their operation. The boats operated a regular twice-weekly service, with two loaded boats being pulled by a single horse. Most boats went to Cromford Wharf but some went down the Nightingale, or Lea, arm to unload at the wharf at the end.
Les also recalls the locomotives that shunted the wagons at Hartshay Colliery and much about the local village when pubs, collieries and canal were all still working.
The story is fully illustrated with maps and images of the boats and of the canal as it was over 80 years ago.
Published in time to help fill the Christmas stocking, the book costs just £5 (£6 inc p&p) from FCC Sales, Weighbridge Office, Gothic Warehouse, Mill Road, Cromford DE4 3RQ. You can also order it online through the associated Birdwood shop website.

Derbyshire Heritage Awards 2016

FCC was presented with the Judges’ Special Award at the Derbyshire Heritage Awards 2016 at Crich Tramway Museum on 7th October.

It was awarded to recognise the contribution of FCC volunteers in restoring the Cromford Canal and providing events so that visitors can enjoy this historic and scenic area.

The Awards are run by the Derbyshire Museums and Heritage Forum and celebrate all the work taking place in museums, historic houses and heritage sites across the county.


Waterway Routes, the well-known and much respected canal map publisher, has made available a detailed map of the Cromford Canal (along with the Derby, Erewash, Nutbrook and Nottingham canals) free to download from their website. An example of the kind of detail in the map can be seen on this extract. What's more, regular updates are made, so maps are kept up to date (hopefully as more becomes navigable!). You can find the download page by clicking the images below.



The regular passage of trip boat Birdswood had had no effect on birdlife on the canal. This is reported in a Breeding Birds Survey undertaken from 2013 to 2015, recently made to the Cromford Canal Partnership. The summary details follow and the full report can be downloaded 5063605271.

The partnership instructed that a suite of ecological surveys be undertaken to assess any impact of the operation of the trip boat Birdswood on sensitive habitats and species. This included a Breeding Birds Survey with field work undertaken in the spring and summer of 2013 before Birdswood was operational, and repeated in 2014 and 2015. The objective of the survey was to evaluate whether over this time there was a difference in:

The overall abundance of birds present in the canal corridor between Cromford Wharf and Derwent Aqueduct.

The diversity of species present.

The diversity and abundance of birds using the canal channel or margins for breeding.

The survey found that although the abundance and diversity of birds recorded was not remarkable, over the three year survey period the numbers in all three assessment categories remained broadly steady. Analysis of the data suggests that there has been no measurable impact on birds which can be specifically attributed to the operation of the trip boat. The report acknowledges the sensitivity of the site to a number of disturbance factors and recommends measures to continue to operate the trip boat under strict conditions and undertake sensitive habitat management.


A brand new website has been set up for FCC's trip boat Birdswood. Full details of schedules, prices, special events and much more are available there. Check it out now here.




FCC Members will recall receiving raffle tickets to sell in aid of national restoration, the proceeds of which were divided between participating societies. This year the raffle raised over £14,000 and FCC came third in the list of ticket sales, beaten only by the WRG Van Appeal and the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals Trust. Well done to all of you who worked so hard to sell tickets. Full details here.


Towpath Talk

The latest edition of the popular free inland waterway newspaper Towpath Talk is now available at FCC's Weighbridge Shop at Cromford Wharf. The shop is open 11am to 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays from now until Christmas. The shop also stocks a range of local craft items that make ideal Christmas presents - and remember all profits go to the future restoration of the Cromford Canal.


For some months Birdswood has been hitting an underwater object in the canal close to the former Cromford Garden Centre. The FCC work party on Tuesday 13th October "waded in" to solve the problem, thanks to diver John Sparham, suitably kitted in dry suit. It turned out not to be a large log as thought, but a large vehicle tyre, which proved difficult to shift as it was full of silt. Investigation further down the canal produced a similar tyre! If you would like to help with future work parties to help keep Birdswood running, please contact John Barker.

Tyre Rescue

Tyre Rescue



Following the successful agreement of a lease of the former Wheatcroft's weighbridge office on the Mill Road end of the Gothic Warehouse on Cromford Wharf, volunteers are needed to 'man' the office as a 'shop front' for FCC and Birdswood. If you think this could be for you please (931) 571-1084.

The shop is now open for business, so do drop in next time you are in Cromford.


Derbyshire Record Society has published the first volume of the Minutes of the Cromford Canal Co. (252) 439-4583.


FCC was delighted to recive a cheque for £2500 for restoration work on the Sawmills Gauging Narrows. 715-300-8432


English Heritage has scheduled Fritchley Tunnel on the Butterley Company's gangroad. 3046249530


Friends of the Cromford Canal sold more IWA raffle tickets than any other group and recently received a cheque for £1,200.(412) 252-3935.

NEW HI-VIZ VESTS thanks to Amber Valley Rotary Club

More details (external link).