The Draycott Project

The Target has been met, the Pledges are in, and work is now underway at the Golden Mile!

Thank you to all those who have made pledges to support us with this endeavour.

The Golden Mile is being restored to canal in three main phases, scroll down to find out more!

It’s all happening at Draycott!

The Trust is well under way to restoring “The Golden Mile” and the Canal Cottages at Draycott. This will be a major step forward and a first stretch in water supported by a headquarter building and focal point for activities on the stretch of water.

In 1999 Railtrack plc determined that the problems of increased flooding of the main rail track to London had arisen because the canal was no longer draining land to the north of Draycott. Working with the Trust they agreed to dig out a drainage ditch along the canal line, which would capture the water and direct it to a pipe under the railway track and into the River Derwent.

When the work was completed the Trust planted Hawthorn whips to form hedges along both boundaries and Trust working parties have now laid the hedges to provide a thicker boundary that encourages wildlife. This was so successful that local use by walkers, cyclists and horse riders has boomed and the length has been christened the “Golden Mile” by locals.

With all the preparatory work completed the Trust arranged for a local contractor to quote for restoration of the canal section and they used a state of the art drone, which mapped the stretch from Hopwell Road to the Derby Road bridge. This produced a 3D image that shows that all the soils moved to create the canal will be used on site and will be able to direct a computer controlled, GPS guided excavator to produce the typical U shaped canal profile and a constant water depth of 1.2m for the full length of the canal. A dam will be created close to the Derby Road bridge with a weir to allow any excess water to flow down the existing drain. A slipway and small car park will also be constructed at the Hopwell Road end.

What will it look like?

The canal will follow the existing route and the path will be reinstated after the work is complete. This will create a level canal pound without locks. Water from existing streams will provide a constant, but slow flow to keep the water clear for amenity use until other sections of the canal are built. Once restored the section of canal will have the following features:

  • A slipway to allow small boats and canoes to access the water.
  • Mooring points at each end.
  • Angling facilities.
  • Outdoor swimming
  • A re-laid foot/cycle path with a grass track for horse riders.

The works will be completed in phases starting in November 2020 to allow Network Rail to achieve the flood alleviation measures they need first over the winter month, after which the canal line along the Golden mile will be completed.

What are the benefits?

  • The restored canal will act as a recreational resource for the local community whether it be angling, canoeing or simply walking or riding along the canal.
  • A permanent aquatic corridor will improve the biodiversity by attracting invertebrates, fish, hedgerow birds, duck and swans, water voles, etc.
  • Increased use of the canal corridor has the potential to bring increased revenues to the businesses in Draycott.
  • A key benefit to the Trust is that this restoration will cement the planning consent that the Trust has across the Borough of Erewash further protecting the route of the Derby and Sandiacre Canal. The mooted use of the canal route for a tram service to Derby, if implemented, would prevent restoration of the canal.

How will it be funded?

The total current cost of the canal restoration project at the Golden Mile is just over £400,000, the contract has been signed and the works which will be completed by Killingley.  The £100,000 in pledges provided by our generous donors will be supplemented by additional funding provided by Network Rail, who need the Golden Mile to developed to provide flood alleviation for the nearby Railway line.

What is the construction plan?

Previous improvement work on hedges and the ditch have attracted more wildlife including a water vole colony. We therefore have organised our work to minimise the impact on their overall habitat. Firstly we employed experts to locate their burrows, The survey has revealed that we have a few groups of water voles on the central section of the canal section. We have therefore had to planned to split the canal dig out into phases.

The contract with Killingley has been signed, and construction efforts are underway. The work is planned to be undertaken as follows:

Phase 1

  • In November a new barrier will be built along the canal line where it is currently too low. This will not be placed on the banks of the current ditch so that vole habitats are not affected and to prevent water flooding the railway line.
  • In November and December 2020, our contractor will be restoring the section that runs along Derby Road. This is where we found no water voles. The section will be re-profiled and a bentonite clay liner installed to retain the water. A dam will be built at each end to bring the water to the correct level. Coir rolls will be installed to provide food for the voles and fences erected around the new canal section to retain and protect them.

Phase 2

  • In March and April 2021 experts will move the voles from the untouched sections into the new reserve – safe from future construction works.
  • In May and June 2021 our contractors will return to complete the work. They will complete the re-profiling of the rest of the canal from Derby Road to Hopwell Road. This will also include lifting the current path to its correct level.
  • Upon completion of the works, the fencing around the Derby Road section will be removed and the water voles will be able to return to the rest of the restored canal. The offbank will also be planted with a mix of native wild flowers and plants to support a more diverse insect and wildlife population.

During the time the contractors are on site we will need to close the footpath to the public for safety reasons. This is expected to be from 15th November to the 24th December 2020 and also from early May to July 2021.

Once complete the canal will be available for angling, canoeing and other outside activities. This will be supported by a café and other facilities at the Canal Cottages, which should also be completed in 2021.

We apologise for the inconvenience these works will cause to path users. Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you enjoy the restored canal.


February 2021 update

Storm Christoph caused significant rainfall and disruption at Draycott – work has had to be delayed whilst the site dries out. More information can be found in the post here. As soon as we have a new plan of the works we will let you know and reapply for closure of the canal path.


Alternative Route due to path closure

With access restricted along the Golden Mile path; users are advised to divert using Hopwell Road and Derby Road. A drawing of the diversion is available as part of the “Making of the Golden Mile” gallery found below.

Flying from Draycott to Borrowash

Andy Savage at has put together some amazing drone footage. His video takes a journey through the air from Draycott at the Canal Cottages along the canal route to Borrowash Bottom Lock.

“Golden Mile” Information Panel

A number of information panels have recently been added at either end of the Golden Mile; providing more context about the works underway.

A PDF copy of the Information Panel is available here for you to enjoy.

“Making of the Golden Mile” Gallery

We will be tracking the progress of the Golden Mile; we have some initial pictures and drawings below, and in due course future details images of the works in progress will be added to this page. The whole project at the Golden Mile is expected to be fully completed by July 2021.