The viaduct deck is accessed by a ramp at the western end, from the towpath of the Erewash Canal. There is on-street parking near the canal, in Cotmanhay, and a 5-10 minute walk to the bottom of the ramp. Note, you will have to navigate the humpback bridge over the canal, and some A-frame gates on the towpath, both of which can be problematic for mobility scooters or wheelchair users. The eastern access is currently via steep and uneven steps (a ramp and car park will be installed at this end over winter 2023-24).
If you have questions, or would like to make any suggestions on ways to increase accessibility please do contact us.
We are fundraising to improve access at the viaduct for all our visitors. Projects in the works include:
- More benches
- A ramp and car park at the eastern end
- An accessible toilet
- New gates and a bridge over the River Erewash to make the area beneath the viaduct more accessible
Access to Nature Area Underneath the Viaduct
Under the viaduct we are creating the beginnings of a nature area: a wildlife corridor connecting the two canals. This area also gives great views of the latticework and construction of the viaduct. Explore the winding path between the spans and enjoy the birds, animals and plant life. Our volunteers and Site Ranger are nurturing this special area in the shelter of the Iron Giant, and new developments happen all the time.
Access to the underneath:
- From the Erewash Canal path, walk through the woods called Bennerley Woods, to the railway footbridge, Bennerley Rail Crossing, follow the path along the fence, turn left, then duck under a blue fixed gate and cross the bridge over the River Erewash. Turn right immediately and follow the winding path underneath the viaduct.
- From the Nottinghamshire side, if you are standing facing the steps, take the track to your left, through the wooden gate, and walk round until you find the underneath. Please close the gate behind you.
Some of the access to the land underneath is owned by our friends and partners, and it is through their generosity that these walking routes are open. Please close gates, keep dogs under control, do not light fires or barbeques, and take any rubbish with you.
Public access to the Bennerley Viaduct for leisure purposes is by permission of the owners, Railway Paths Ltd. The Friends of Bennerley Viaduct are keen that the public should have access for recreation purposes in a safe and sensible manner.
The viaduct is a former railway bridge built nearly 150 years ago. Its new deck is 60 feet above the ground and is accessed by a sloping path at one end and steps at the other. There are exposed iron troughs on the deck which should be avoided as they are very slippery when wet.
Cyclists should only use the eastern steps and wheel troughs for access and exit if they are confident in their abilities to do so. People using the viaduct do so entirely at their own risk. No liability can be accepted in these circumstances.
Places to Eat and Drink
We have compiled a list of cafes, pubs and hotels within walking distance of the viaduct. We hope you will feel able to support our local businesses (although FoBV is not recommending them as such). You can also pick up our information leaflet at the listed establishments.
Footpaths and Trails
The best place to see a panorama of the viaduct is from the viewing point on the Nottingham Canal at grid reference SK 475 438. This can be reached by walking north alongside the canal from Newton’s Lane for about 500 metres. There is also a good vantage point from the footbridge over the railway. To view the viaduct from here, take the footpath, marked with a white fingerpost ‘Bennerley Viaduct’, that branches off the Erewash Canal towpath near the ramp access. Go through the trees and arrive at the steps up to the footbridge over the working railway. There is no access to the deck of the viaduct from here. See map
At Bennerley Viaduct children and families can enjoy a walk in the beautiful countryside of the Erewash Valley, take in the amazing views from the top and explore the winding nature path walk underneath the viaduct.
Explore independently, or use our helpful family walk map for a planned accessible route.
Underneath the viaduct, our volunteers have created fun winding places, clearings, carvings, and magical tree decorations to enjoy on your walk.
To explore the paths underneath the most straightforward access point is a gate at the steps-end (east end, Awsworth side). Follow the path to the nature area. Or use the railway footbridge at Bennerley Woods, off the Erewash Canal towpath.
Download or print this fun free Nature Bingo Sheet to make your walk fun!
The viaduct does not yet have dedicated parking, toilets, refreshments or a changing station, although we are working to create these in the near future.
Use our Visiting the Viaduct page for information on the nearest parking, public transport and other ways to get to us.
Like other countryside walks, the paths around Bennerley Viaduct are best explored with sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing.
The Bennerley Viaduct Skywalk
Bennerley Viaduct is a rare national gem which can be best appreciated by visiting the structure. Join us on a guided skywalk on our monthly walks, or arrange a special group booking. Come and learn the fascinating history of the Bennerley Viaduct and enjoy magnificent views from the deck of the viaduct 60 feet above the Erewash Valley.
We run monthly guided walks on the history, people, nature and stories of the iron giant. These are available for anyone to book. After booking we’ll contact you with parking advice and directions. Walks take around 1.5 hours and follow a beautiful circular route over and under the viaduct, to our nature preserve area and the canal pathways of the valley. Tours are free, but a donation to our work is much appreciated, suggested at £3. There are around 60 steps, some uneven ground and one fixed gate requiring stooping. Discuss your access needs on booking or email for information.
Tailored to the needs of your group
Typically walks will be 1.5-2 hours and involve walking on canal towpaths, footpaths around the viaduct and paths on top of, around and underneath the viaduct. Walks can be tailored to meet the needs of your group. We are aware that people visit the viaduct with a range of interests. If you would like to hear a talk about Nature, History or Engineering let us know on booking and we will arrange a volunteer with that specialism to host your group. Whether you are interested in railways, engineering, industrial history, social history or wildlife, there will be something for you.
We would love to share our heritage with you. To arrange a walk for your group or society, or for information contact us
“Fantastic walk. We all really enjoyed the tour – so much information. The Viaduct is a real gem!”
“Brilliant! More of these Heritage Days please.”
“Me and Dad really enjoyed today. Thank you so much for the tour and so informative!!”
“Fabulous to walk over the viaduct. We found it fascinating. A wonderful structure.”
The Iron Giant that Survived
We would be delighted to deliver a presentation to your group on the fascinating Bennerley Viaduct story. The story charts the reasons for building the viaduct, the ingenuity of its design, the working life of the viaduct and the Zeppelin bombings to the reopening in 2022.
Using old images and rare archive footage, the story of the Bennerley Viaduct viaduct unfolds. The story illustrates the tenacity of a community that is dedicated to restoring, preserving and using this unique piece of history for the good of the local community. We’d appreciate a donation to the cause.
If you would like a presentation to your group, email our community engagement organiser.