The canal opened from the Erewash Canal to Cromford in 1794. It was used for carrying heavy goods such as coal and limestone.
At Cromford Canal Wharf you will find Wheatcroft’s Wharf Café serving a range of lunch dishes, cakes, and homemade scones. The Wheatcroft name has been associated with the canal for over 150 years; they were the main carriers on the canal when it was in operation. Nathaniel Wheatcroft built the canal warehouse that now houses the café and started the first “fly” boat service from the Cromford basin, carrying passengers twice weekly to Nottingham at a cost of 5s (25p) first class or 3s (15p) second class!
Today you can enjoy the 1 mile walk along the canal towpath to High Peak Junction and Leawood Pumphouse. High Peak Junction was part of the Cromford and High Peak railway which closed in 1967 and features some of the oldest surviving railway workshops in the world. A little further along, the impressive Leawood Pumphouse has a magnificent steam beam engine which operates on selected weekends over the summer. Visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/countryside/countryside-sites/wildlife-amenity/leawood-pumphouse.aspx for details. From High Peak Railway you can take the steep walk (a 1 in 9 gradient) up Sheep Pasture Incline to Black Rocks and enjoy stunning views over the valley below you.
For those who prefer an alternative to walking, visitors can take a trip on the Birdswood narrow boat between Cromford and High Peak Junction. Running times and days for Birdswood can be found at www.birdswood.org/bookings.