History & Structure
The viaduct is potentially a valuable community asset for transport, recreation and education. The intention is for it to provide a traffic-free link across the Erewash Valley, connecting to surrounding routes, supporting local tourism and enabling people to enjoy the varied heritage and natural attractions of the valley. It could be a focus for learning about industrial heritage in an area steeped in coal-mining, iron-working, railways and canals, and as such is a potential resource for local schools.
To bring all this about will take a fair amount of money, plus effort and involvement from local people who share our passion. The viaduct is in remarkably good condition for its age but has suffered some corrosion. mainly at the exposed ends of the ‘troughs’ that hold the ballast on the deck. This is more apparent near the surviving railway, due to the corrosive effects of the smoke from steam trains in the past. Left to itself it will inevitably deteriorate, so some remedial work is needed.
The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct share Sustrans’ vision to develop it principally as a cycle path & footpath providing a direct route across the valley. This will require ramps at both ends, surfacing and other works. We would also like to see interpretation and loop walks from the structure around the valley where it can be seen at its best, along with a presence at the Erewash Museum in Ilkeston.
The structure is now owned by Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity which which has been instrumental in developing cycle routes throughout the UK. Sustrans are formulating a bid for Heritage Lottery money to fund much of the work needed to bring the viaduct into use.