Chelsea wins place on Cromford team

13-year-old Chelsea was the star of successful horse-drawn passenger boat trials on the Cromford Canal on Monday 17th March. The sturdy Dales-cross-Clydesdale mare pulled 70-foot heritage narrow boat Birdswood from Cromford Wharf through High Peak Junction to Leawood Pump House at a quicker pace than ever achieved under motor power. And then she hauled the 21-tonne boat back again – all without undue effort.

Chelsea will be the key player on the Friends of the Cromford Canal (FCC) team that is bringing horseboating back to this previously unused waterway. Lance and Corinne Rose of working horse specialists Arraslea Shires (based in Alderwasley) are new to horseboating, too, so Monday’s outing represented a steep learning curve for all concerned.

With trials concluded satisfactorily, the FCC has just announced 14 public horseboating days for the 2014 season:

 •   Easter Sunday 20 April, Easter Monday 21st April
•   Bank Hol Sunday 4th May, Bank Hol Monday 5th May
•   Sat 7th June, Sun 8th June
•   Celebrating Cromford Sun 22nd June
•   Sun 6th July
•   Sat 2nd Aug, Sun 3rd Aug
•   Sat 4th Oct, Sun 5th Oct
•   Sat 1st Nov, Sun 2nd Nov

These special days are in addition to narrow boat Birdswood’s weekly Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday motor cruises. Full details of trip times and fares are at

In addition, schools in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire can enjoy the Birdswood horseboating experience on Tuesdays 24th June and 8th July. The boat can seat up to 35 pupils plus teachers and helpers. Contact Schools Liaison Officer Judy Berry at for details.

Birdswood on the Cromford Canal

Boat horse Chelsea with handler Corinne Rose setting off with narrow boat Birdswood from Cromford Wharf. Photo: Dave Miller

Birdswood on the Cromford Canal

Horse-drawn narrow boat Birdswood behind boat horse Chelsea at High Peak Junction, Cromford. Photo: Dave Miller

Birdswood on the Cromford Canal

Boat horse Chelsea with Corinne Rose of Arraslea Shires. Photo: Dave Miller