Stick Men, Old Mills and Canal Barges

The first week back may only have been four days, but we have managed to pack plenty in.

Our first news of the week was a fantastic performance by our Tri-Golf Team who competed in the cluster tournament and came in at 4th place. We are really proud of their achievement.

On Thursday, Forest Craft resumed with Mrs McManus and Mrs Ward leading the children in the recently revived pond area by the infant playground. Thank you to the team of parents who have cleared this area. The task this week was to whittle natural materials and create stick men.

On Friday, Class 4 set off the explore the local area, visiting first Masson Mills, and then climbing aboard Birdswood on Cromford Canal.

Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, we learned about the history of the canal, the route it takes, and how it fitted into the landscape of Cromford and the Derwent Valley. However, our first stop of the day on Friday, was to visit Masson Mills. A magnificent building constructed by Sir Richard Arkwright at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

We learned how raw cotton shipped from America was processed, carded and spun onto pirns ready for the weaving process. It was amazing to discover just what a huge impact the mill had on local industry. Home spinners were able to produce 9 feet of cotton thread per minute, but Arkwright's new machines transformed this into 9 miles per minute!

Masson Mills is also doing its part to protect the environment. Once powered by water wheels, then steam, we discovered that now the Mills produce their own electricity using water turbines and the flow of the river.

Inside the museum at Masson Mills

After sharing lunch with the children at Cromford School, we made our way to Cromford Canal where we boarded Birdswood, a former coal barge, now converted to carry passengers.

As we travelled down the canal, we kept our eyes peeled not only for those features of the canal we had leanred about earlier in the week, but also for the wildlife. We were very fortunate to see a dabchick on her nest, and a few of us spotted a family of Canada geese and their goslings.

On reaching High Peak Junction, we walked the short distance to the Wharfshed, Aqueduct Cottage and Leawood pumphouse. Here we saw another barge, still used for carrying coal, and compared the real life buildings with the old photographs we had looked at earlier in the week.

We would like to thank Kevin at Masson Mills and the crew of Birsdwood for a lovely day out.

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