100 boats on Erewash Canal for Festival of Water

Over 100 boats arrived at Gallows Inn Fields in Ilkeston over the Bank Holiday weekend to enjoy the spectacular IWA Festival of Water, an annual event that this year came to the beautiful Erewash Canal.

The event was opened by Councillor Chris Corbett, Deputy Mayor of Erewash representing Erewash Borough Council who gave their wholehearted support for this Festival.

Boaters took the opportunity to cruise along the whole length of the 11.5 mile long Erewash Canal, past the historic lock cottages at Sandiacre, and under the spectacular 1500ft iron Bennerley railway viaduct to visit the bustling Great Northern Basin at Langley Mill, where the Erewash meets the partially restored Cromford Canal.

Over 15,000 people attended the three-day event, which included classic cars, live music, craft stalls, birds of prey, children’s rides and the chance to drive a digger under the guidance of restoration experts from IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group.

Jane Elwell, Chairman of IWA’s Events Team, said: “We chose Ilkeston for the 2017 IWA Festival of Water because it’s such an attractive yet underused part of the national canal network. Our volunteers also wanted to highlight the threat to the canal from the currently proposed HS2 route to Leeds.”

A 16m (52ft) high railway viaduct at Long Eaton will overshadow the Erewash Canal, including the canal lock close to the East Midlands Hub Station.  A proposed diversion of the M1 motorway to accommodate the high speed rail line may also have to cross the canal.  IWA is working alongside local groups to mitigate the impact on the canal and neighbouring communities.

Next year’s Festival of Water will take place on the River Great Ouse in Riverside Park in St Neots. Booking is open for boats and campsite pitches.  Book your place now (https://waterways.cloudvenue.co.uk/festivalofwater).

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