June 2022 – Bennerley Viaduct, Derbys/Notts.

On Monday 20 June 2022, I signed, as Chairman of Railway Paths Ltd (RPL), the 99-year lease of Bennerley Viaduct to The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, who will now promote and develop it as a local landmark and tourist attraction. With the generous help of supporters such as the Railway Heritage Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund, RPL raised just under £2m to repair this iconic structure.The gentleman in the picture with the plaque is Rick, one of the viaduct’s rangers. The structure is a quarter of a mile long, has a path beneath it which runs from end to end, and links the towpaths of the Nottingham Canal on the east side, and the Erewash Canal on the west side.Bennerley Viaduct is grade II* listed and one of the largest disused viaducts in the UK. It is built of wrought iron, one of only two such viaducts left in the country – the other is at Meldon, west of Okehampton on the continuation of the LSWR main line to Tavistock and Plymouth, which could/should be re-opened in the next decade. Bennerley has gained international recognition due to its inclusion in the 2020 World Monuments Watch list, and has appeared twice on The Architecture the Railways Built, presented by Tim Dunn.The Friends will now work with the Heritage Lottery Fund to install a length of embankment and ramp at the east end so that cyclists, wheelchair users, buggies, etc. have easy access from that side as well as the west.RPL is a small charity by national standards, but this is an outstanding achievement. (Jeff Vinter)