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Last few tickets for Aqueduct Cottage Visit - Sunday 14th April, 2pm

We have a few tickets left for a tour of the historic Aqueduct Cottage next Sunday (14th April) by volunteer project manager, Ron Common.

Please book your place via the Eventbrite link below.

Aqueduct Cottage was built around 1802 by industrialist and landowner Peter Nightingale, great, great-uncle of healthcare pioneer Florence, as a lock-keeper’s cottage for his canal arm which he built to serve his factories at Lea Bridge and the valley beyond.

It stands at a key point in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, marking a junction on the late 18th century Cromford Canal south of the ancient aqueduct which spans the River Derwent.

Following the departure of the cottage’s last resident in 1968 and short period as a walker’s shelter, the cottage was abandoned for over 40 years.

The wooded hillside it stood against was gradually reclaiming the decaying building. Its roof and gable-end chimneys collapsed and its windows and door rotted away. Cracks ran across its surviving stonework. Trees and ferns grew in the soil and rubble inside. In summer it was almost invisible from the towpath.

The turning point came in 2019 when Derbyshire Wildlife Trust formed a steering group and partnership with the Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust (DHBT) represented by architect and technical adviser, James Boon Architects.

What followed was a remarkable 4-year restoration to authentically rebuild the cottage thanks to the efforts of a steadfast group of volunteers trained up in the craft skills needed to bring it back from dereliction, helped along by cash and materials donors. It now serves as a public gateway, information centre and events space for the Lea Wood Nature Reserve owned by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (DWT).

The project has since won several awards including a “special mention” in the prestigious RIBA Journal’s 2024 MacEwen Award.

There is now an opportunity for a personal guided tour of the cottage and to hear about it’s remarkable restoration from Ron Common, DWT’s Volunteer Project Manager.


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