Historic aqueduct work is completed

Aquaduct Open: Deputy Leader of Derbyshire County Council, Simon Spencer, and members of the Friends of Cromford Canal, pictured at the re-opening of the railway aquaduct at Leawood.
Aquaduct Open: Deputy Leader of Derbyshire County Council, Simon Spencer, and members of the Friends of Cromford Canal, pictured at the re-opening of the railway aquaduct at Leawood.
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A £450,000 project to restore the historic railway aqueduct at Leawood has been completed and officially opened this week.

Members of Derbyshire County Council and the Friends of Cromford Canal met on Monday at the Victorian structure to celebrate the completion of the work, which was started in the summer.

The aqueduct carries the Cromford Canal over the railway near to High Peak Junction, and is the only surviving example of a suspension girder bridge in the country.

Repairs were carried out to the cast iron straps that held the structure together, the metal trough has been cleaned and painted with a protective paint system and the old timber towpath has been replaced with a new freestanding steel towpath.

The project had to be approved by English Heritage, after Derbyshire County Council announced they would provide the funding.

Vice chairman of the Friends of the Cromford Canal (FCC), Mike Kelley, said: “The FCC are grateful to Derbyshire County Council for funding this restoration in such a manner that it does not preclude restoration in future, and the FCC look forward to making use of it for boat traffic as soon as possible.

“It will also allow better access for working parties on the canal south of the aqueduct.”

Derbyshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for highways and transport, Cllr Simon Spencer said: “The Cromford Canal is enjoyed by over 100,000 people each year so I’m pleased that we have been able to re-open it on time.

“I’m confident that the aqueduct can be safely enjoyed by visitors to Derbyshire for years to come.”

Built in the 1790s, Cromford Canal sought to unlock Derbyshire’s mineral wealth, especially limestone, lead and coal, and had a profound influence on the economic growth of Derbyshire in the 18th and 19th centuries..