Worksop: Brand new Cuckoo boat officially named at Water Day

A brand new Cuckoo boat, believed to be the first one built in over 80 years, was officially named at Worksop Water Day at the weekend.

Coun Sybil Fielding at the official naming of the new cuckoo boat
Coun Sybil Fielding at the official naming of the new cuckoo boat

‘Dawn Rose’ was officially unveiled by Coun Sybil Fielding, chair of Notts County Council, as friends and families gathered along the Chesterfield Canal.

It was a culmination of over a decade of planning and fundraising by a group of volunteers at the Chesterfield Canal Trust.

As part of the event, Worksop residents enjoyed boat trips, fishing and canoeing in the hot weather on Saturday 6th June.

Residents enjoy the hot weather at the official naming of Dawn Rose

Rod Auton, of the Chesterfield Canal Trust, said: “Cuckoo boats were unique to the Chesterfield Canal. They never had engines, being horse drawn right up to the end of commercial working in the 1950s. They had a mast in order to sail when they ventured onto the River Trent.”

“The last Cuckoo boat known to be in existence rotted away over 20 years ago, it was called Dawn. This gave the inspiration for the name of the new boat.”

“The actual building work started four years ago. It was led by David Bownes who worked on Cuckoo boats as a young man, so he was one of the very few people alive - possibly the only one - with real working knowledge of their construction.”

“The volunteers decided to do it the traditional way, so they used only hand tools, no power tools were used at any stage. Even the dead straight 25’ mast was carved out by hand.”

The cuckoo boat on the Chesterfield Canal

Worksop Water Day was organised by the East Midlands Waterways Partnership, the Canal & River Trust, Chesterfield Canal Trust, the Angling Trust, Focus on Young People in Bassetlaw and Bassetlaw District Council. It was supported by the Grafton Angling Association, Worksop & District Anglers Association, Pleasley Canoe Club and the Lock Keeper Pub.