Over 200 people signed up for a guided tour of the wrought iron Bennerley Viaduct when it was recently opened up as part of the Heritage Open days and Derbyshire’s Autumn Footprints walking Festival.
The guided walks were put on so both local people and visitors to the area could walk around, under and over, the longest wrought iron viaduct in the country and learn about its fascinating history.
We're aiming to reopen Bennerley Viaduct as a walking and cycling route. This will help preserve the iconic “iron giant” for future generations and bring communities stradling the Erewash Valley closer together.
Speaking after the event Kieran Lee, Bennerley Viaduct Community Officer, said:
"The interest in the walks demonstrate that there is a huge interest and growing support to bring this viaduct back into use. We had to put on four additional walks to cope with the demand. People came from all over the region to take part in the walks. They learned about the ingenuity of our Victorian engineers and they were treated to the sensational views enjoyed from the viaduct deck towering over the Erewash Valley.”
The walks were guided by the Friends of Bennerley Viaduct, a group of local people who are active in supporting the project. Jeff Wynch, the chairman of the Friends group said:
“The interest in these walks is a massive public vote of confidence in the project. There is a real excitement at the prospect of the viaduct becoming the iconic centrepiece of the area’s walking and cycling network. The viaduct has the potential to play a really important role in the growing heritage tourism economy of the Erewash valley.”
These comments were reinforced by Paul Miller, the chair of the llkeston and District History Society. Paul Miller said:
"The potential of Bennerley Viaduct is limitless and I get excited about this project - it’s time has come. People will travel a long way to see this viaduct and its regeneration will have a huge positive benefit for the local economy.”