The Cuckoo Way


The Chesterfield Canal passes from the River Trent across Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and into Derbyshire.  This was one of the first canals to be constructed in England and because it was not connected directly with any other canal and was relatively short, the operators of the boats didn’t live aboard, allowing for more cargo and prompting the development of a unique style of boat only to be found along what was then called the “cuckoo dyke” by locals.

The canal is no longer navigable for it’s entire length and several miles are missing entirely but the canal towpath is still in place making for an obvious long distance footpath, aptly called the Cuckoo Way.  I like to walk the entire route every few years, usually taking three days to cover the 46 miles.  This year I opted to take four days and because of adverse weather, had to split that into two two-day sessions; not ideal but the older I get, the more of a “fair-weather walker” I’m becoming.  I’m not going to add all my photos to this post; I’ll just show the first and the last.  But if you want a virtual tour of the whole 46 miles, you can click on the slideshow and sit back and see what I saw as I walked from west to east along the whole route.


Crossing the River Rother in Chesterfield


West Stockwith Basin with the lock to the River Trent just opening


9 thoughts on “The Cuckoo Way

    1. James Corner Post author

      It’s the western portal to Norwood tunnel James. Survey teams have been inside to check it out but unfortunately only a short stretch of the tunnel (400m) is fit for re-use and the restoration plans involve extra locks and a new stretch of canal to go “up and over” rather than “through”.

  1. Marie Keates

    Shades of the Itchen Navigation there, especially the muddy trails but with a northern twist I like. The canal boats are wonderful. It’s certainly a walk I’d like to add to my list.

    1. James Corner Post author

      For me it’s a great walk; pleasant countryside interspersed with towns seen from a novel angle, history and wildlife all rolled up into one. Mind you, the same can be said for most canals and canalised rivers. It’s just that this canal is right on my doorstep.


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