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.



Update on Workdays.

The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct plan to reinstate Saturday work parties to enable the brilliant work which has been put in by friends and volunteers to continue. We hope this will be operational by the end of the year. In the meantime, Sustrans Greener Greenways team will be carrying out some workdays though these take place on weekdays. Details of the workdays are attached. If you want further details of the workdays, please contact the greener greenways team. Bennerley Schedule of works Summer Autumn 2018

Volunteer Workday Saturday June 2nd 2018

A volunteer workday will be taking place on Saturday June 2nd under the first four spans of the viaduct and on the approach road. The day will take place in two distinct halves.

10:00 – 12:00 The first part of the day will be an onsite workshop led by Sustrans Greener Greenways ecologist David Watson. We are keen to ensure that the viaduct surroundings are looked after and  the area as ecologically rich as we can make it. People visiting the viaduct will spending time in this area. How best do we make the area welcoming? How do we add interest? Be creative. Your thoughts and ideas are wanted.  These ideas can be incorporated into a management plan for the first four spans. (If you do not want to take part in the workshop, then you can work on the actual tasks.

12:00 – 3:30pm The second part of the day will be planting a wildflower mix under spans 1 and 2 and on the approach road. Following the removal of flytipped rubble by AMCO, the ground is bare so it is an ideal time to plant the wildflower mix before the invading species dominate. .  We are most grateful to AMCO and to Harworth Estates for supplying the wild flower seed mix.

The work will involve the following tasks:

Some lopping of bramble.

Some removal of larger pieces of rubble

Breaking up the topsoil / ground surface which may be compacted in places

Raking the topsoil / ground surface

Planting wild flower mix.

Tools will be provided but if you have loppers, spades, rakes or a wheelbarrow, bring them along.  The barrier will be open from 9:30pm onwards. We look forward to seeing you. The image below shows the seedmix which will be used. It contains 26 native wildflower species designed to attract bees and butterflies. The seed is being kindly provided by AMCO and Harworth Estates.




Forthcoming Volunteer Workdays 2018

Volunteer Workdays take place on a monthly basis and can involve a range of tasks concerned with the practical management of the viaduct environment.  The proposed dates for Volunteer workdays for the first half of this year will be:

Saturday February 3rd:  10:00am start

Saturday March 3rd:  10:00am start

saturday April 7th:  10:00am start

Saturday May 12th:  10:00am start

Saturday June 2nd:  10:00am start

We meet underneath the viaduct. Access from Newtons Lane. The barrier on the track leading to the viaduct will be open at 9:30 am.

Details of the activities to be undertaken will be published on this site on the week prior to the workday. The environmental management of the site will be guided by the Sustrans ecologists and engineers. tasks undertaken could include: vegetation management and removal, habitat creation, clearing pier bases, litter clearance etc.

Tools are provided. If you are attending a workday, could you let Kieran Lee know so he can ensure that there are adequate tools to enable people to do the jobs required. Contact kieran.lee@sustrans.org.uk


Volunteer Workday. Saturday December 2nd 2017

The workday this Saturday Dec 2nd will go ahead as planned.  There will be no contractors on the site.

The focus of the work this Saturday will be:

  • Removing soil and debris from pier base 1. (Strenuous)
  • Removing bricks from pier 1 to pier 5 by wheelbarrow (strenuous)
  • Cutting back hawthorn and other invasive vegetation under the Nottinghamshire spans.
  • Collecting all cut materials and creating habitat piles.
  • If you have tools and equipment, bring loppers, gloves, slashers.
  • We can also provide tools and gloves.
  • Tea and coffee provided but bring your own packed lunch.

Newtons lane Barrier open at 9:30 for a 10:00am start. Finish at 3:00pm Come for as long or as short as you like.



Volunteer Workday: Saturday 2-9-17

The focus this Saturday will be to continue the work in spans 1 to three. This area will eventually become an events area where we can have open day events, theatre groups performances and arts events. It is currently overgrown with much unwanted vegetation which covers a lot of tipped material. We want to prepare the area for a skip or two to remove all the unwanted materials and rubble.

The tasks will include:

  • Lopping of vegetation, brambles, bindweed etc. (Moderate)
  • Litter picking on and around the viaduct. (Gentle)
  • Pruning back vegetation on approach road. (Gentle)
  • Recovering the road from encroaching vegetation (Moderate)
  • Stump and bramble root removal. ( V Strenuous)
  • Removal of old mesh fencing and posts. (Moderate)

Times:  Meet under the viaduct at 10:00 am. The barrier from Newtons Lane will be open from 9:30 onwards. The workday  will finish around 3:00 pm. Come for as long or as short as you want.

Equipment: Tools will be provided. Gloves will be provided but if you have your own, please bring them.  I would also suggest sturdy footwear.

Weather: The forecast is for good weather so if you burn easily, take all the necessary precautions. Tea, water and biscuits will be provided followed by refreshments in the Dewdrop afterwards.