Historic sites
in erewash

Erewash’s history blends an industrial and agricultural heritage with the arts and culture. Explore the canals, rivers, towns and villages to uncover insights into the area’s past.

The Erewash economy was founded on coal, iron, textiles and the railway, which all shaped the physical landscape. The building of the Erewash canal was encouraged by colliery owners, keen to move their product around the country.

Trent Lock is the first lock on the Erewash Canal and once had a major role in transport. Positioned at the junction of four rivers and canals, it was crucial to the movement of boats and their cargos and was known as ‘Waters Meet’. 

Above water level, the Iron Giant, also known as Bennerley Viaduct, is the longest Victorian wrought iron viaduct in England and was built to carry the railway and its cargo from Nottingham to Derby. 146 years old, 20 metres high and one of only two of its kind that remain, it spans ¼ mile of the Erewash Valley and now has a new lease of life carrying walkers and cyclists.

At Dale Abbey, the ruins of the chancel window are a reminder of how the village got its name. The village Church of All Saints is probably one of the smallest in the country and was once used as a pub, with a door into the aisle. Beyond the church is the Hermit Cave, a small home hewn out of the cliff in the 12th century by a baker.

DH Lawrence was born, lived and worked in Eastwood. The opening lines of The Rainbow mention the Erewash river and the story is set against the backdrop of the area’s industrialisation.

HISTORIC sites in erewash

Looking down towards Ockbrook from the surrounding countryside


Elegant Georgian villas, silk stockings, gitties and repurposed flagstones are all part of the history of Ockbrook.
READ MORE Ockbrook
The remains of the chancel window at dale abbey in Erewash

Dale Abbey

A village, Abbey ruins, a hermit cave and maybe one of the country’s smallest churches.
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The Bennerley Viaduct crossing the Erewash River plain at sunset

Bennerley Viaduct

The Iron Giant stands 20m tall, stretches for 1/4 mile providing a unique view of the wildlife haven below.
READ MORE Bennerley Viaduct

Erewash Canal: Long Eaton to Langley Mill

Originating in 1779, the canal runs for 11.5 miles and has 14 locks.

A piece of local history, the canal has been used to carry coal, metal goods, bricks, quarry stone and bomb shells. Today, it is an ideal route for peaceful walking, cycling and boating.

Harrington Bridge

In the south of Erewash, the bridge crosses the Trent into Leicestershire.

There has been a crossing of some kind here since the 14th century, from fords to wooden bridges, although many were washed away in floods.

In 1788 an Act of Parliament authorised the construction and a stone bridge, 91 metres long and made up of 6 arches, was started. The toll bridge collected income until 1882.

Following damage in 1904, the steel girder replacement was built in 1906, connecting the original stone approach arches which are now Grade II listed.

Nutbrook Canal

A partially open canal running from Stanton to the Shipley Estate.

Built to join the Erewash Canal to the Shipley Estate, the Nutbroook is now only partially open but can be explored at various parts. One end is at Stanton Lock and the towpath still runs from Stanton Bridge to Lock 3, up to Sow Brook and beyond.

Trent Lock

A major waterway junction where rivers and canals meet.

The first lock on the Erewash Canal, the Trent Lock is where the Soar and Trent rivers meet the Erewash and Trent and Mersey Canals. Known as Waters Meet, it’s a great spot to watch the boats, try some fishing or explore further along the tow path to the next locks.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there are a choice of pubs and cafés nearby.