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A paddle along the newly launched Cromford Canal canoe trail

Last weekend, Waterways team member Chris took to the water with his daughter to paddle the newly launched Cromford Canal canoe trail. 

Take a look at his account of the journey below and find more trails that you can paddle here.


"Catching a brief respite between the rainy days this August is throwing us, last Friday I took the chance to finally get onto the Cromford Canal for a paddle. I've walked by this waterway many times, but haven't yet managed to actually get onto the water, despite working with Derbyshire County Council on the licence agreement for British Canoeing members. So, on the way back from a camping trip at Edale my daughter and I decided to stop off at Cromford and get our inflatable canoe out.

"Cromford Wharf is a great place to start a paddle, with it's historic warehouses and a great cafe. Getting on the water here is easy, with loads of room - luckily enough as my little one decided to have a dance around while I pumped the boat up!

"Despite being a grey day the canal looked gorgeous from the water, with views across the Derwent Valley. The cut itself is lined on the towpath side by vegetation, giving a sense of separation from the towpath - but with enough room for passers by to wave hello. Whenever you paddle by a waterside footpath people stop to say hello to passing canoeists! The canal is a haven for wildlife, and we saw plenty of birds as we paddled, especially flitting in and out of the trees on the off side. We saw some blackberries that looked particularly tasty, protected from the walkers on the tow path, but we left those for the birds to enjoy!

"We didn't make it all the way to Leawood Pumphouse (which is the turning point for the canoe trail), as my daughter had been promised ice cream and the old workshops at High Peak Junction fulfilled this promise! In all, the paddle there and back was only a couple of miles - a distance I'd usually cover pretty quickly in my touring kayak. But as a family adventure, it's great. Don't let kids miss the catch pit at the bottom of the High Peak Trail - perfect for dramatic stories of runaway trains! 

"Canoeing along the canal also proves a great way of seeing the heritage features on the short route. With a stop and explore at High Peak Junction, seeing Leawood Pumphouse (catch it on a day when it's in steam), and the a visit to the mill at Cromford, a short paddle can easily turn into a full day out!


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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Due to the various pressures on the Cromford Canal Derbyshire County Council operate a booking system. Day tickets need to be purchased in advance by calling Middleton Top Visitor Centre 01629 533298 as numbers able to access the canal are limited. British Canoeing members can get this free of charge subject to spaces but MUST still book on.