Bennerley Viaduct Selected for Inclusion in 2020 World Monuments Watch List.

Bennerley Viaduct, the grade II* listed Victorian wrought iron structure straddling the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire boundary, has gained international recognition by its inclusion in the 2020 World Monuments Watch list.  The railway viaduct, still on Historic England’s at-risk register, is one of just 25 projects selected from a competitive pool of 250 nominations worldwide, and the only site to be chosen in Britain this year.  All the sites included in the 2020 World Monuments Watch List were selected to support communities who are striving to save sites of outstanding cultural importance

Bennerley Viaduct. A structure of Outstanding Cultural Importance

World Monuments Watch is run by the New York based World Monuments Fund, a private non-profit organisation, which sponsors an ongoing programme for the conservation of cultural heritage worldwide. The World Monuments Fund identifies endangered sites and works with local communities to conserve their heritage and to explore ways of ensuring its long-term stewardship.

The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, who submitted the application, and owners Railway Paths Ltd, are delighted by this massive boost to their joint project. Kieran Lee of the Friends said:

 “Inclusion in the World Monuments Watch List is recognition of the cultural significance of the viaduct and of its potential to improve people’s lives. Over the next two years we’ll benefit from the support and advice of heritage experts and increase our chances of gaining further funding for our project.”  

Chair of the Friends group, Jeff Wynch, added:

“Our group has come a long way since its first meeting in 2015, but we need to grow and develop so that we can secure the site’s long-term future. This new partnership with the World Monuments Watch could not have come at a better time.”

Securing the long term future of the viaduct is a key aim of the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct

John Darlington, Executive Director of the World Monument Fund, Britain said:

  “Bennerley is an extraordinary monument – special because of its historical importance as the longest wrought iron viaduct in Britain, but also special because of what it means to the local community. It’s a delightful opportunity to showcase heritage and its contribution to health, wellbeing and as a home to nature. We’re so pleased that is has made it onto the 2020 Watch, and look forward to a catalytic partnership.”

John Darlington, Executive Director of the World Monument Fund (Britain) examines the wrought iron piers at the viaduct.

Plans to repair and restore Bennerley Viaduct and to create access to a new deck were approved this summer, and enough funds have been raised for the project to start in Autumn 2019. Recent weeks have seen a massive volunteer effort to relocate great crested newts, so that repair work on the brick piers can begin and vegetation has been cleared to create access for contractors.  Public engagement with the project continues to grow in all respects from increased membership and volunteer numbers to oversubscribed guided walks and attendances at illustrated talks. International recognition from the World Monument Watch will add to the amazing momentum that the project is generating.

The Great Crested Newts of Bennerley Viaduct in safe hands.

For further information about the World Monument Watch 2020, this short video highlights the important work done by the WMF. World Monument Watch Video.

Next Meeting:

The next open meeting will take place on Monday, December 2nd , 2019 at the Gate Inn, Awsworth at 7:00pm. Main St, Awsworth, Kimberley, Nottingham NG16 2RN

The first part of the meeting will be concerned with making sure everyone is updated with the latest developments regarding the restoration and repair work. The second part will be more interactive. We can follow up all the ideas put forwards at the last meeting regarding widening the appeal of the viaduct and looking at how we can increase our fund raising capacity as a group.

If that doesn’t float your boat, you can simply come down to a superb community pub with a brilliant choice of well kept beers and drink to the future of the viaduct. Our Inclusion on the World Monument Watch List 2020 is both amazing and humbling. It gives us every chance to secure the future of the viaduct so future generations can enjoy it.

7:00pm start. Hope to see you there.

Volunteer Workdays –

There will be four volunteer workdays in October, the focus of which will be the rehoming of our resident newt population. We need to prepare all the pier bases for restoration and it is likely that there will be Great Crested Newts loving in the cracks in the brickwork. The newts need to be rehoused into new newt shelters of hibernaculae.

These workdays will take place at the following dates and times.


Wednesday 23rd Oct – Pier bases – Newt relocation 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (full)
Thursday 24th Oct  – Pier Bases – Newt Relocation 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (full)

Friday 25th Oct – Pier Bases – Newt Relocation 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (spaces available)
Saturday 26th Oct. – Pier bases – Newt relocation. 9:30 am to 3:30 pm (spaces available)

This work will involve the following.
Removing loose brickwork (strenuous)
Stacking and cleaning loose brickwork, (Moderate)
Digging out pathways around pier bases, Strenuous
Constructing  6 hibernacula  (Moderate)
Clearing all debris from pier bases.
Making all surfaces sound ready for contractors.
Clearing all vegetation from around the pier bases.
An example of a hibernacula or newt shelter

The workdays will take place under the supervision of a licensed ecologist as Great Crested Newts are a protected species. Please contact Kieran at kieran.lee@bennerleyviaduct.org.uk if you want to take part. There are currently spaces on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th. Please be on time for the start of the sessions as there will be a briefing for participants prior to work taking place.

This work has to take place prior to October 31st as a pre commencement planning condition. If the newts are not safely rehoused prior to the 31st, there will be a considerable delay to the works. Your help is therefore critical to the project. Out thanks go to those who have already volunteered. Please get in touch if you can support on either the Friday or Saturday.

The Iron Giant That Survived.

Illustrated Talk on Bennerley Viaduct. Tuesday September 3rd. 7:45 pm

United Reformed Church, off Albert Street, Ilkeston

Illustrated Talk on Bennerley Viaduct.  
The Ilkeston and District History Society have invited Kieran Lee from the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct to give an illustrated talk on Bennerley Viaduct. The talk will incorporate the fascinating history of the viaduct, the ingenuity of its design and its miraculous escape from demolition. Bennerley Viaduct is a tribute to our intrepid railway pioneers but it is also a testimony to the resilience of communities who have fought for nearly 50 years to save the viaduct and bring it back into use.  The “Iron Giant” is a genuine survivor!  The talk will take place at the United Reformed Church, off Albert Street in Ilkeston with a start time of 7:45. on Tuesday September 3rd. It is likely to be a popular event so you are advised to get there early.  There will be a charge of £3 for those who are not members of the History Society.
Bennerley Viaduct under Construction.

Meeting: Monday August 12th 7:00pm 2019

The Gate Inn, Awsworth. NG16 2RN

Planning Consent has been granted, A substantial proportion of the funding is in place and the work will be moving forwards in the Autumn. Now the real work begins. This will be a busy time for the group as we deliver events such as the September Guided Walk programme, develop fund raising activities and negotiate with the project designers on our how best FoBV volunteers can practically contribute to the works. These are exciting times.

With a project such as this one, there are an array of complexities and hurdles to overcome. the meeting will give everyone as much knowledge as we have on all the conditions and recommendations which have been attached to the project.

Come along, get involved and enjoy the brilliant selection of beers which The Gate offers at the same time.

Autumn Footprints Walking Festival

Sunday September 22nd: 2019 Start Time 11:00am

Thursday September 26th 2019 Start Time 11:00am

Bennerley Viaduct “Skywalk”

Length & Grading: 3 miles, Moderate. 2 – 2.5 hours

Come and learn some fascinating history of Bennerley Viaduct and enjoy magnificent views of the Erewash Valley on this guided walk. Experience the magnificent monument to our industrial past and learn about the exciting plans to bring the viaduct back in use as a walking and cycling trail. This event will include walking across the deck of the viaduct 60 feet above the Erewash Valley. Access to the deck and descent from the deck is via steep banks. There will be a hand rope to help keep your balance. (No stiles).

Starting Point: Ilkeston Town Football Ground, Car Park, New Manor Ground, Awsworth Road, Ilkeston DE7 8JF. Grid Ref: SK 469 431. Parking courtesy of Ilkeston Town Football Club.

Start Time: 11am. Finish: 1.30pm.

Booking: BOOKING ESSENTIAL call 01629 533991. or via this link http://www.autumnfootprints.co.uk/thursday-26-september.aspx


Guided Walks 2019 Heritage Open Days

Sunday 15th September 2019. 10:30 am start

Tuesday 17th September 2019 . 10:30 am start

Find out about fascinating history of Bennerley Viaduct and enjoy magnificent views of the Erewash Valley on our guided walks. This iconic structure is a monument to our industrial past and a tribute to the ingenuity of our Victorian engineers. Learn about the exciting plans to bring the viaduct back into use as a walking and cycling trail. This event will include walking across the deck of the viaduct 60 feet above the Erewash Valley. Access to the deck and descent from the deck is via steep banks. There will be a hand rope to help keep your balance.

All the walks are completely free of charge but there will be the opportunity for participants to buy Bennerley Viaduct merchandise, the proceeds of which will go towards opening the viaduct and bringing the structure back into public use.

Starting Point: All the walks will start and finish at Ilkeston Town Football Ground, Car Park, New Manor Ground, Awsworth Road, Ilkeston DE7 8JF. Grid Ref: SK 469 431. Parking courtesy of Ilkeston Town Football Club. The walk is about three miles and will last about two hours. The route will take you along the Erewash Canal, then around under and on top of the viaduct.

To book a place, contact kieran.lee@bennerleyviaduct.org.uk or follow link https://www.heritageopendays.org.uk/visiting/event/bennerley-viaduct-skywalk