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.

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

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 or follow link

October Newsletter

If you get the chance over the next few weeks, take a visit to the viaduct, as the Autumn colours are currently looking quite magnificent, especially in the early morning or late evening light.  We are so lucky to be living in an area with such a rich industrial and natural heritage.

A lot of activity has been taking place behind the scenes since the last newsletter. The project is moving forwards again. I currently feel a real sense of optimism and excitement at the way that the project is taking shape.

I hope to see some of you at the meeting on Monday. Details included below. Our next newsletter will be coming out in December, if you want anything included, please forward items of news to me by email.

Happy Reading

With best wishes


Open Meeting: The Gate Inn Awsworth

The next open meeting will take place at the Gate Inn, Main St, Awsworth,  NG16 2RN on Monday October 15th at 7:00pm.  There will be three main strands on which we will need to move forwards. These are:

  1. Project Update: There will be a detailed update on the Railway Paths led plan to carry out critical repairs and access.
  2. A Shared Vision for Bennerley Viaduct: At the last meeting, there was support for the idea of the FoBV taking increased ownership of an expanded project. Kieran will be delivering an illustrated presentation which aims to give shape and structure to what we hope will be the basis of an agreed FoBV vision.
  3. An Appropriate Structure We need to create an appropriate structure for the group and to develop its capacity to deliver an ambitious project. We are currently looking towards converting the FoBV into  a Charitable Incorporated Organisation CIO. (We are grateful to the many individuals and organisations who are advising and guiding us through this process.)
An agenda for the meeting is attached. (Click here) If you missed the previous meeting, unverified minutes of the meeting of August 13th are attached. Click here  We look forward to seeing you.  Members and Non members welcome.
Critical Repairs and Access:
Railway Paths Ltd, the owners of the viaduct are developing a plan to carry out critical repairs and create access to the deck of the viaduct.  A planning application will be submitted this Autumn to both Erewash and Broxtowe Borough Councils. Surveying work has been undertaken, discussions are taking place with landowners and relevant organisations. The FoBV is giving this project its full backing and support. We would like to acknowledge and thank Bill Tomson, the project manager from Railway Paths Ltd for his work and commitment to the project. Click the button  below for more details of the plans and proposals
Read more
Above Snap – Time. Volunteers making a Difference

Saturday Workdays:
The current RPL led project will create lots of opportunities for people to volunteer and contribute to the project. The Friends Group will be taking out its own public liability insurance enabling us to restore Saturday workdays. We look forward to announcing in the very near future when these workdays will commence as we achieved a great deal in 2016 and 2017. Tasks in the new project will include the removal of all ballast from the viaduct, linseed oil treatment of the structure, vegetation management, pathway creation and many more tasks. In the meantime, there will be a Sustrans Greener Greenways led workday under the viaduct on Wednesday October 24th.
For further details click here
Linseed Oil and Viaducts!!
Linseed oil is usually associated with cricket bats but soon we may all be linking linseed oil with Bennerley Viaduct.  Recent research by Dr Dave Gent has indicated that the life of wrought iron structures like the viaduct can be significantly extended if coated with linseed oil.  An added benefit is that the oil is a non toxic, natural product so it can be applied by non specialists. When our volunteer workdays recommence, one of the important tasks that we will undertake will be the application of oil to the reachable parts of structure. Our thanks go to Dr David Gent for conducting the research and identifying a strategy to preserve the viaduct. If you want to know more about this fascinating research, click below.
Read More
Above: Visitors to Bennerley Viaduct contribute to the visitor economy.

The Visitor Economy
The rich industrial and natural heritage of Bennerley Viaduct and its surroundings is beginning to draw in visitors from all over the country. Recently, the Association for Industrial Archaeology had their annual conference at Nottingham University. The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct delivered a presentation  to the conference, followed by a guided walk on, under and around the structure. The group “greatly enjoyed” the visit.  In addition, the viaduct is increasingly becoming a venue for companies running heritage related tourism.  The visitor economy has the potential to bring in much needed trade to the area.
Explosions in the Canal!!

One of the delights of showing people around the viaduct is listening to the stories they tell. Recently, Ann Munsey a retired teacher from Bennerley School visited the viaduct with a Heritage Tour Company. She entertained us with stories of potassium explosions in the canal and pupils coming back to the school with grass snakes which they had caught under the viaduct. Anne put these stories down on paper and these were published in the Ilkeston Times. Ann was known as Miss Veni when she taught at the school. Thank you Ann for this entertaining bit of local history. To read the amusing account, click below.
Read More

Membership: As we approach the end of the year, this will be the time for members to renew their annual subscription at the bargain basement price of £5 for the year. Reminder letters will be coming out and we will try to ensure that there is a simple way for members to renew online.

Treasurer: Steve, our treasurer has moved up to the Lakes but he is continuing with the task until we can find a replacement. It would be absolutely wonderful if someone could step forwards to take on the role for a year. You would be taking on a key role within the group and this can be satisfying knowing that you are making a real difference. Help and support will be given if you think you could take on this role.

Trustees: We may be converting into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. If we do agree to take this route, we will be needing to appoint trustees to guide and steer the charity. We will disseminate information on the role of trustees later as we get to know more about the working operation of CIOs. There may be the opportunity in the future for you to make a valued contribution to the project by becoming a trustee.

Bennerley Viaduct Presentations

We are happy to deliver presentations on the fascinating history of Bennerley Viaduct to groups within the area. We have a large collection of images, stories, anecdotes related to the viaduct which we are happy to share at illustrated presentations. We have all the neccessary projection equipment which was purchased using a community grant from Erewash Borough Council. All we ask for is for a donation to the FoBV to help us with the project. If your group would like a presentation, contact Kieran Lee to arrange times and dates.

Friends Group at History Event.

Drop in to St Mary’s Church in Ilkeston Market Square on Bank Holiday weekend where the IDLHS will be taking a different slant on the history of Ilkeston and district.  Look out for the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct display among the many other topics presented. The church is worth a look too. 

Continue reading “Friends Group at History Event.”

Workday Arrangements. Oct 7th 2017

We are having another volunteer workday this Saturday Oct 7th again working between spans 1 and 3. A huge amount of work has been done between these spans and one more session will be enough to remove all the vegetation from the piles of rubble so we can get some machinery in to remove the major stumps and piles of rubble. A medium sized skip has been delivered  so we can make a start on removing some of the rubble.

The tasks for Saturday will include:

Litter picking:                                                           Light work

Cutting back brambles and scrub vegetation    Medium work

Exposing road from advancing vegetation       Medium to heavy

Filling skip with rubble                                         Medium to heavy

Breaking up mounds of solidified tarmac        Heavy

Removing bramble roots                                     Medium

Stump removal                                                      Heavy

Tea person (keeping Kelly kettle boiled)         Light.


The workday will start at 10:00 am and go on until approx. 3:00 pm. Come for as long or as short as you want. We will be meeting under the viaduct. Access from Newtons Lane. The barrier will be open from 9:30 am onwards. The track to the viaduct us situated between the River Erewash and the new railway bridge on Newtons Lane. The priority tasksfor the day is to fully fill the skip and to remove vegetation from the mounds so we can see exactly what and how much we have to shift.