The Chesterfield Canal was constructed in the 18th century to facilitate the transporting of coal, stone, lime, lead, timber, pottery, ale and iron to market. In fact, some of the stone transported was used to build the new Houses of Parliament in the mid 1800's.
The weeds, which thrive in the canal's water to this day (we can attest to that having to clear the propeller a few times), made its appearance in 1852.
The canal's commercial use ended in 1955.
We entered the Chesterfield from the River Trent, the tidal portion. As the Waterways Guide states: "Entrance from the Trent can be tricky due to the tidal flow across the entrance to the lock." They speak truth. Our boat is now adorned with some of the green vegetation growing on the wall just outside of the lock. This resulted from a momentary contact from said wall as Michael was making the turn. A bit of advice to those who may try it in the future: you will need A LOT of power to overcome the force of the tide and get into the lock. The tide wants you to go sideways (into the wall) and it is rather insistent.
An interesting fact about the Chesterfield is that, for the first time in our travels, a key is needed to unlock the mechanisms that allow the locks to function. Out here in the middle of God's country it appears vandalism is a problem. Individuals apparently like to open the lock doors and leave them open. The eventual result, since water flows downwards, is that they drain the canal. Result, no boats can move anywhere. Hence the locks that need to be accessed with a key.
We are currently parked in a marina near Clayworth, a quiet village with one main street. This will be the boat's new home for the next two weeks or so. Want to know why? Stay tuned for the next post. :-)