As we’ve reported before, we are approaching Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to part fund the restoration of the stretch at Sandiacre from Lock lane to Springfield Avenue. A big part of this is to get the public involved in the an investigation of Sandiacre bottom lock. We aren’t sure what the implications of a sewer through the lock will be. It depends very much on where the trench was cut as to how difficult it will be to move and restore the lock.

We also have to prepare a planning application for the excavation and write it all up in a bid document. What better excuse could there be for getting out the picks and shovels and making like a real navigator. So the last working party was spent at Sandiacre digging holes. We had great fun and some success – of sorts.

We discovered the lock chamber walls coping stones more or less as expected. Both walls were fortunately on the open side (away from the Erewash) of the stretch. One was almost under the hedge and so identifies how close the garage encroachment is to the lock, the other a foot or so inside the towpath.

When we looked at where the sewer had been dug through the lock we found start of the gate recess, but couldn’t find the wall again. Unfortunately the quoins look like they’ll be under the gate post and we thought we should leave the MOT path intact, so it’s inconclusive evidence. Once we have the necessary permissions we’ll be back for a little more “archaeology”. In the meantime we have a pretty good idea of what will be intact and safe to excavate so can get the paperwork sorted.

One real surprise was how interested people became when we got the pick axe out. It showed that whilst mowing grass, etc. causes no interest digging holes gets most people excited. We now have names of some of the locals who stopped and expressions of interest to get involved when the real dig starts! Result!!!

As Arnie said “We’ll be back!”

Photos below show our volunteers hunting for the lock…

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