The Chesterfield Canal has been recognised as a double Green Flag Award winner. This national award, handed out by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, recognises and rewards the best green spaces in the country.
Tapton Lock has been awarded a Green Flag for the fourth time. This covers the westernmost stretch of the canal within Chesterfield.
A new winner is the easternmost fourteen miles of the canal from Welham Bridge, near Retford, right through to West Stockwith, where the canal meets the River Trent. This section is already an SSSI — a Site of Special Scientific Interest — because it supports a nationally uncommon aquatic plant community characteristic of the brackish water. The flora includes a number of nationally scarce species. The presence of this brackish water community, over 50 km inland, is of particular interest.
Very close to the canal are other Green Flag sites such as the Canch in Worksop and King’s Park in Retford. The section often regarded as the most attractive on the canal is in the middle, between Shireoaks and Kiveton Park. This includes the Giant’s Staircase of 22 locks in little over a mile. The Pearson Canal Companion, East Midlands, 2014, describes it thus: “Taken as a whole, the flights at Turnerwood and Thorpe rival anything the inland waterway network has to offer.”
Surely nothing can demonstrate more clearly that the Chesterfield Canal is amongst the most beautiful parts of the country and rewards a visit anywhere along its length.