The Canal Cottages

Alongside the proposed Hopwell Road end of the The Golden Mile”, there are derelict cottages that were built at the end of the 18th century soon after completion of the canal. The cottages started life as part of a mill complex, but were later converted to accommodate families working on nearby farms when the mill ceased to be viable. The Trust has able to purchase the buildings from a local developer and is now working on their restoration.

How will it be funded?

Plans have been developed to convert the building into a part residential and part commercial complex (see right for draft proposal of the ground floor plan).

It is intended to provide a base for the Trust to show off the heritage of the cottages and the wider canal and to form a base for activities. In addition the possibility of canal line services such as a cafe, farm shop, cycle shop, changing facilities would provide an attractive hub for canal side activities.

The cost of the work is currently being assessed, but the Trust is confident that the work can be financed through development loans supported by Trustees. The production of income generating assets will allow loans to be serviced going forward and provide an asset to support further activities elsewhere.

Progress to Date

We’ve made tremendous progress on the Canal Cottages so far. Since the purchase, we have:

  • Cleared the site of all unwanted or dangerous vegetation (including an number of dying or unsafe trees)
  • Cleared out rubbish, debris and general detritus from all the rooms.
  • Held a highly successful open day, showcasing our progress (as of November 2017) to members of the public
  • Reclaimed as many bricks as possible from the main structure and the dilapidated out-buildings.
  • Erected Scaffolding around the entire building to enable rebuilding work to begin.
  • Hired a heritage-specialist bricklayer to begin rebuilding of the main structure.
  • Cleared all the roof tiles off to provide access for the entire building.
  • Added new flooring and internal doorways added throughout the building.
  • Topping Off Day (February 2019) – The rebuild roof has been completed, allowing the scaffolding to be removed.
  • Held another Open Day in March 2019; well received by all who visited.
  • A water supply has been added to the site, via a bore hole.
  • A cesspit has been added on site for the waste management of the building.
  • Work on the interior has been started and is progressing well. Cottage 1 is nearly completion, with Cottages 2 and 3 well on their way.
  • Work has started on the retaining walls, garden walls and toilet blocks (both modern, and traditional!)
  • The car park has been cleared and shaped, with final surfacing planned once activity along the Golden Mile has subsided.

The Cottages have been a labour of love; this video (right) shows our progress as of Spring 2018. Progress has been steady, with plenty of photos of progress available below. During Winter 2019/2020 we had the pleasure of a visit from  Leo Hewitt-Provost,  a Sports Journalism student at the University of Derby, who created a very good video that serves as a very useful update of the Canal Cottages. It is linked below, so enjoy!

Like everyone, Covid-19 has slowed activity somewhat in 2020, but new video will be produced with the more recent footage of Cottages in early 2021.


We’ve provided an ever-growing gallery of images below showing the progress being made at the Canal Cottages. Considering what we started with, the change is tremendous! The gallery is approximately chronological, with an artist’s impression of the restored Cottages and Canal at the end!