A Dog Walk from Kings Newton to Swarkestone Lock Derby Derbyshire


Mile Walk

This easily accessible dog walk has expansive countryside views across open fields, as well as wooded areas and takes you back in time along a disused railway line, over the River Trent and alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal.

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Trent Lane
Kings Newton
DE73 8BT
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This easily accessible dog walk has expansive countryside views across open fields, as well as wooded areas and takes you back in time along a disused railway line, over the River Trent and alongside the Trent and Mersey Canal. From Kings Newton to Swarkestone Lock is about 3 miles and there are fascinating reminders of by-gone constructions to be seen, such as the 18th century canal and lock and remnants of the old Victorian railway. A good flat off-lead countryside walk, or gentle cycle ride, that keeps your dog (and others) in view!

I started this walk from Trent Lane, Kings Newton, where it meets Route 6 of the National Cycle Network, heading north along the well surfaced lane. It was a pleasant Spring day and the going was easy, through the gate, along the lane and continuing on the flat tree- lined metalled path where the former railway line had run. The dogs were having a good run, yet always remained in sight as we walked past trees and hedges that ran along each side of the wide path and kept them from wandering off!

The first landmark is the bridge over the River Trent, at one of its many bends as the river meanders through the Derbyshire countryside, on its way from Staffordshire to join the Ouse and form the Humber Estuary. This wide bridge has sturdy 4ft metal posts and rails along each side, allowing clear views along the river and its banks up and down stream, where birds swooped and dived after insects, or perhaps just for fun?

A short distance further along, you get your first view of the canal as you cross over it and continue along the old railway line cycle route as it passes through a pleasant broad-leaf wooded stretch. The path then forks and I followed the wider and slightly higher right hand path and over another bridge. The walk becomes enclosed by high Victorian cast-iron screens on each side over the bridge and then passes under an old stone arch bridge. We were soon into broadleaf woods again, catching the sounds of birds in their branches, although I could start to hear the sounds of a few cars on a road nearby.

The walk has curved away from the canal by this point and starts to run parallel with a railway line that is still in use. However, the railway line soon swings away and the walk joins Swarkestone Road, a ‘B’ road, for about 1⁄4 mile, passing under the railway bridge, which is approximately the half-way mark of the walk, before taking a left turn away from the road to meet the canal again and crossing over a small bridge to follow the tow-path.

Enjoy the heritage and views along this 250 year-old canal. The canal is popular amongst narrow-boat owners, so you are likely to see a number of these brightly coloured renovated boats making their way along it. Their owners are invariably friendly offering cheery waves as they leisurely chug past. Other river cruisers use the canal too and it is a bit of a squeeze when boats needed to pass each other! It’s good to be able to share these old waterways, which have been restored and kept in good order for the public to enjoy.

Constructed by James Brindley (1716-1772), the 18th century Trent and Mersey canal runs for 931⁄2 miles from near Runcorn, a few miles from the Mersey, to meet with the Trent in Derbyshire, after it served the Staffordshire Potteries. Brindley’s constructions always followed the contours of the landscape, so the Trent and Mersey winds its way more harmoniously through the countryside than later canals, which went straight through by way of cuttings and embankments. There is no commercial traffic on the canal now, but it is an attraction for people who appreciate its scenic qualities and the leisure activities it provides.

The walk continues pleasantly along the gravel tow-path; still following the Cycle Route all the way to Swarkestone Lock. It passes under a bridge carrying the A514, and then under the railway line, so some traffic noise may be encountered at these points; otherwise there’s peaceful arable farmland and wide vistas in each direction.

Swarkestone Lock is just wide enough for two narrow-boats at a time and has a pool on its northern side providing mooring for up to a dozen narrow-boats, so it can be quite a hive of activity. There are refreshment and toilet facilities available and an area for people to picnic as the lock attracts visitors by boat, bicycle and car, as well as on foot.

It’s then time to turn round and walk back, enjoying the scenery from the different perspective. There are many types of wild flowers, plants and shrubs to discover that have been allowed to grow undisturbed along the canalside and it’s possible to find grasshoppers and other insects that seem to have become so rare these days. The dogs get a great walk and cannot easily stray out of sight. Likewise, you can easily see other dogs approaching - a useful point if you worry about other people’s dogs or how your own dog will behave.


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