Derbyshire Wildlife Trust launches Cromford canal cottage crowdfunder

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Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support its restoration of a historic cottage on the Cromford canal.

The environmental charity is aiming to revive the ruined 19th century Aqueduct Cottage, at Lea Wood Nature Reserve, as a space for visitor information and education.

Plans were submitted to Amber Valley Council in March, and now the trust has begun the long work to raise funding for the project.

Spokesman Kate Lemon said: “We are working to repurpose the cottage as part of our efforts to help as many people as possible understand why Lea Wood and the wider Derwent Valley is so special.

“We’ll make sure the work will remain true to the original façade and we’ll ensure people feel welcomed in so they can learn why the building and its location are so distinct and then go on to discover the magic and beauty of Lea Wood and its wild surroundings.”

The lock-keeper’s cottage was built in 1802 by the industrialist, and one time partner of Richard Arkwright, Peter Nightingale.

His great niece, the famous nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale, was known to be friends with the occupants during the time she lived at Lea Hurst, in Holloway, and visited several times.

The cottage was finally abandoned in the 1970 and has been allowed to fall into ruin since.

Kate said: “Throughout 2020 there are national celebrations to mark 200 years since Florence’s birth.

“We’d love to hold a grand opening of the cottage to coincide with these celebrations but can only do this if building work is completed this summer — and we can only do that with the public’s support.”

She added: “Over the winter months we can continue to work on the landscaping and outside of the cottage, then finally work on the interpretation and inside space.”

The ‘buy a brick’ crowdfunding campaign is aiming to raise £10,000, with various rewards available for different levels of donation.

For more information, go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/aqueduct-cottage.