A piece of important canal history is being opened up to a lucky few members of the public more than a century after it was abandoned.
Local people are for the first time being given the opportunity to go underground and explore the 240 year old Norwood canal tunnel near Kiveton, which has been abandoned since it collapsed after heavy rain in October 1907.
Engineers from the Canal and River Trust, the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, are set to carry out a ten yearly inspection at the tunnel while allowing limited numbers of people to see it for themselves.
At 2.6km long Norwood Tunnel was the longest canal tunnel in Britain when it was officially opened in May 1775. The collapse of the tunnel effectively cut the Chesterfield Canal into two sections and trade on the Western section of the canal ceased between 1914 and 1918, but continued between Kiveton Park and West Stockwith until 1955.
Today the eastern portal of the tunnel is bricked up for safety reasons and so, before the inspection can take place, the engineers will have to break through the brick wall.
Waterways manager for the Canal and River Trust, Sean McGinley, said; “This is a really exciting opportunity and it’s like opening up a giant brick time-capsule. It’s going to be fascinating to get in there for the first time in a decade and see how the tunnel’s looking. It will be particularly special for local volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust who have been working for years on plans to restore the canal and link the two sections either side of Norwood.”
For more on this visit www.chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk or www.canalrivertrust.org.uk websites.