#Derbyshire

One of our interests are canals - in varying forms. Living on a canal is a treat and experience all of its own, a canal boat holiday is a relaxation rarely matched for speed and solitude, canal tow paths provide escape and retreat on foot and by bicycle and the associated fauna fills most crumble bowls for a weekend feast.

 But in all these forms - we find ourselves drawn to the inland waterways.  Their flat directive quality roots back to the period when Britain moved from a rural agrarian economy to a revolution to fuel an Empire - but they reflect a link with that past - pre-rail and roads and before noise and smoke dominated the sky-line.

Yet today that charm and calm are quite unique.  Canal boating and the canals themselves offer a solitude and an insight. So walking along the Chesterfield canal we found blackberries and wild flowers aplenty. We chatted with the ducks, saw a myriad of fish or eels or the like in the murky water and then you come to the lock gate with its outdated fully functioning equipment. Equipment that is still unparalleled and maintained and unsurpassed.  The lock gate,  the windlass and the simple rope hooked through an iron ring.  All part of the charm.

Now this weekend just gone we got an ever better insight to all these things, which was the amazing excavation of Stavely Basin and the revelatation of three canal boats from nearly 100 years ago.

What emerged can perhaps be excitedly but accurately be referred to as Chesterfield's Mary Rose - we saw down in Stavely Basin the stone outline of that former waterway and three boats being excavated - and all soon to be recovered and reburied.

I can honestly say that in all our enthusiasm for canals - this excavation and insight achieved by Chesterfield Canal Trust is impressive and to be recommended - it worked for us. Check them out here  http://www.chesterfield-canal-trust.org.uk/contacting-the-trust-or-partnership/