Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Thursday, 1 August 2013


The mooring at the end of the Chesterfield Canal (the navigable bit), at Kiveton Park is quiet and peaceful, once the scrap metal merchants have gone home and before they start work again at 8am, that is!  However it clearly states it is for 24 hours only.  As we’ve seen no other boats travelling for the past few days, I don’t think there would be any rush of visitors coming up this far. Many are put off by the 23 locks above Shireoaks, and Kiveton is not the most exciting place in the world, not much to come for, just for those like us, who like to ‘get to the end’.



Albert’s Dock, where stone from the nearby Anston quarry was loaded onto boats to start its journey to building sites around the country.  Some of this stone was sent to London and used to build the Houses of Parliament.





So we made the return journey today, this time in sunshine, getting hotter and stickier as the day went on, stopping at Turnerwood on the way down for coffee, and Shireoaks, to use the services and take a wander around the village.



Shireoaks is apparently named after a giant oak tree which cast its shadow into Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. 

P1030531 The church tower looks a bit squat and it once had a spire, which had to be removed after subsidence caused it to become unsafe.  A typical problem of mining areas where the ground becomes unstable.

We wanted to look into the church as we had read about the miners’ lamp kept over the pulpit as a reminder of the village’s mining past.  We tried the door and it opened, so in we went, giving the poor lady flower-arranger a fright.  She thought she had locked the door behind her, as the church is not usually open for visitors.  However she very kindly allowed us to look around and told us some of the history of various parts of the church.



Can you see the Davy lamp, hanging beside the hymn board?










The coal mine was owned by the Duke of Newcastle who also paid for the building of the church in 1861.  The high altar area is decorated with marble and is a memorial to the Duke of Newcastle with a magnificent painted ceiling above.




Outside the church is a long row of terraced cottages known as Shireoaks Row.  These were built to house some of the miners and their famililes.  Some still have the original arched windows and doors with fancy iron hinges.  There are 60 cottages here, and at its peak the mine employed  600 men. The pit closed comparatively recently, in 1990.


The front and the back of the row shows there was a row of buildings behind the houses, across the backyard, which housed the privy, the coal shed and shared between four houses, a wash-house, marked by the chimney in the corner.  Behind these the land also had a row of pig-sties, as each family would have kept a pig, sadly these are all gone now, and for some houses, garages have taken their place.




For each of the cottages an allotment was, well allotted. They are still there, alongside the canal.




Looking across Shireoaks Marina, with long term and visitor moorings and services.

And today a load of youngsters jumping in for a swim! Can’t say I blame them, it was so hot, though the marina residents didn’t seem too happy!

In the canal’s working days, the marina served as the loading dock for the coal from the colliery.


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A replica Cuckoo boat is being built in the traditional way at the marina.  When we were here 2 years ago, there was just a pile of planks and a boxed contraption in which the lengths of wood could be steamed to be able to work them into shape. It was good to see the progress made so far.

You can find out more about the project to build New Dawn here.

The aim of the New Dawn Project is the re-creation and operation of an accurate, full-sized wooden boat of the unique type that carried cargoes on the Chesterfield Canal.

We continued on after our break, a few more locks down to Worksop, got to keep up our name for lock-miles covered you see, and stopped outside the Lock Keeper pub and Sainsbury’s.

Kiveton Park – Worksop

5 miles, (not so many), 29 locks (quite enough)

Today we have clocked 5000 miles since we left Blisworth on 29th March 2011.

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