Colouring the canal at Cromford

Mills, canals and creatures

Drawing the canal

the picture

 

Back in November as part of the Derwent Mills Heritage Site Discovery Days programme, we took the Derwent Stories project to Cromford for a final event

There, between the Canal and the Mill we invited people – and their dogs – to add to a long, unrolling, unravelling picture of the area. Over the day, 80 people paused to talk to us, to look, wonder, chat a bit more and cautiously or confidently, subtly or in bold and bright colours add their contribution to the drawing…..

the canal and trees

This was the last of the Derwent Stories events for this year. We are hoping we might manage a couple more in the Spring. If that happens we’ll post the news here and invite anyone and everyone to come and join us

The Derwent Stories project set out to offer families easy creative ways of exploring the world around them. We aimed to work in places that:

  • were we easy to get to
  • had good access for people pushing buggies or steering their own wheelchair
  • offered interesting outdoor spaces to explore
  • gave us a mix of busy public spaces and quieter options

We planned activities that invited exploration

  • that gave participants new ways of expressing their discoveries
  • Where materials would be easy to find again
  • techniques used would be easy to repeat without us there to mutter at everyone
  • that suited children with additional needs

watervole

So, Mills, canals and creatures simply used:

  • a long roll of paper (discount shops often have rolls of paper for children’s painting easels, or you could use some lining paper for home decorating)
  • A selection pencils, pens, charcoal, and mud (for dog pawprints and human fingerprints)
  • Some reference pictures, just in case,
  • But mostly we simply stood or sat and look at what was around us

The fun was in scribbling, feeling free to just have a go and to add our ideas to ones that had gone before, building stories as we did it

Another blog listing and linking the various sites and activities that Derwent Stories visited will be posted shortly

careful work

 

Where were we:

Cromford Canal: parking at Cromford Wharf car park (there is a charge for this)

Getting about: easy paths along the canal. At weekends there is also a canalboat that runs down to High Peak Junction (1 mile down the towpath)

The towpath is a level walk with no obstacles. It can feel a bit narrow at times when there are other people and cyclists around so travel with due care.

Facilities: there are toilets at both Cromford Canal Car Park and at High Peak Junction 1 mile down the path

Risks: yes, there is a canal. There are also stinging nettles in summer on the banks and prickly brambles here and there. The canal, however, is not deep and the general recommendation is that if someone does fall in, tell them to stand up, BUT BE SENSIBLE AND USE YOUR STANDARD “SAFETY AROUND A WATER BODY” PRECAUTIONS

 

a dinosaur in the trees*

What to look for: ducks! Moorhens, and coots are all to be seen most of the year. In spring and summer watch for Little Grebes (Dabchicks) on the water and Swallows above it. People see grass snakes and water voles regularly. Just past the Junction there is also the impressive Lea Wood Pump House which looks very exciting (and opens occasionally) and a little further there is the charming Aqueduct Cottage with its painted windows. About ½ miles along the path from Cromford to the Junction on the other side of the canal there is a lifesize model Stegosaurus tucked away in the woods.

This is a site that you can just turn up at and have a lovely walk. A little research in advance, however, can help you coincide with things like the Pump House openings or Boat Trips

 

Useful links

Boat trips

https://www.cromfordcanal.info/boat/boat.htm

General information

https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/countryside/countryside-sites/waterways-wetlands/cromford-canal.aspx

 

  • the dinosaur photo was found at this site:Stegosaurus: http://www.pictame.com/media/

    If there is any problem with us posting this, please let us know and we’ll take it down

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