- Hits: 4540
The Erewash Canal is a broad canal in Derbyshire.
It runs just under 12 miles (19 km) and has 14 locks.
The first lock at Langley Bridge is actually part of the Cromford Canal.
The canal obtained its act of parliament in 1777 with John Varley appointed as engineer and John and James Pinkerton the main contractors, it was completed in 1779.
It was a commercial success from the start mainly transporting coal. The canal's success kept it going far longer than many of its contemporaries in the face of competition from the railways. When the Grand Union Canal Company took over the running of the Erewash in 1932 it was still a going concern.
The canal was nationalised in 1947. By this time the closure of feeder canals resulting in a loss of trade and competition from other forms of transport was making itself felt and the last commercial narrowboat delivered its cargo in 1952.
In 1962 the British Transport Commission closed the top section of canal. However, it was kept in water to supply the lower half of the canal and it remained navigable.
It starts from the River Trent at Trentlock, then goes through Long Eaton. After Long Eaton it runs roughly parallel to the River Erewash, past Sandiacre and Ilkeston, crossing the Erewash near Eastwood. The canal finally ends at the Langley Mill (Great Northern) basin, where it joins the Nottingham Canal and the Cromford Canal (both currently in a state of abandonment).
In 1968 the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (ECPDA) was formed in response to a threat by the British Waterways Board to close the canal. One of the ECPDA's achievements was the re-opening of the Great Northern Basin at Langley Mill. This canal basin was the point at which the Cromford, Erewash and Nottingham Canals met.
The Langley Mill Boat Company formed in 1974 and based at the Great Northern Basin has cleared and put back into water a short section of the Cromford Canal connected to the basin.
Today the canal is fully open and is actively used by pleasure cruisers. At present  the section of canal running through Long Eaton is oft frequented by pleasure craft, however, the factories which follow the canal along the Northern march of the town have all turned away from the waterside. Fencing themselves away from it. However, these factories only block the western bank of the canal, and on the eastern bank; between the Erewash flood plain and the railway lines; there is an active community cycle path, which follows the course of the canal to Ripley.
The canal is also regularly restocked with fish for anglers, and along the eastern tow path dozens of anglers are often seen.