Butterley tunnel gets Scheduled Ancient Monument status

Eastern end of Butterley canal Only part of the 220-year-old tunnel is currently accessible, volunteers said

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Part of a historic canal tunnel in Derbyshire has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The 1.7 mile-long (2.7km) Butterley tunnel, which carried the Cromford canal, was opened in 1794 and closed in 1900 after a partial collapse.

A 700ft (213m) section, which includes a rare loading bay, has now been given protection by English Heritage.

Volunteers said they hoped the move would help with restoration of the entire tunnel and canal system.

The tunnel served the Butterley ironworks, near Ripley, which at its height employed 10,000 people and provided much of the metal for St Pancras railway station in London.

The loading bay allowed barges to stop without blocking the narrow canal. Vertical shafts meant the loads could be winched up to the factory.

Patrick Morris, of the Friends of Cromford Canal, said only a small section of the tunnel was accessible.

He said: "It is our long-term aim to restore the entire canal including the tunnel but, until we can get some sort of idea to its condition and what we would have to do to get it navigable, it is difficult to put a cost on it."

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