Well it is now three weeks since we returned from our Xmas New year tour with the Bishops and apart from hosting a short visit by Svien Koningen, we have been conserving our resources. In this period we have walked our canal, visited Crown Derby Porcelain Factory, toured the peak District to see it in snow, a day tour commencing with a walking tour of Long Eaton, followed by visiting Attenborough Wildlife Reserve, University of Nottingham St Lawrence Centre, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Southwell Minster and Thoresby Hall. Then we tripped down to Thornton Reservoir, and Boswell Field Battle Visitors centre.
Walking the Erewash Canal
One of the only things flowering at this time is in the garden of our flats. Apparently it is a Himalayan bush hence the cold weather makes it flower. On this day I took a series of photos of our canal (Erewash Canal). Trent Lock (the canal junction with the River Trent) has two pubs, the Steamboat and Trent Lock. I have included some photos of places things and inhabitants of the canal. I have been playing with the settings on the camera so you will see some different effects.
Trent Lock Pub
Sea Scout Boat Shed
Narrow boat on the canal
the power station
as a water colour
the tow path to Trent Lock
one of our swans
We have previously always walked toward Trent Locke in the east, but on a particularly nice day we walked in the opposite direction toward Langley Mill in the west. I did not take the camera because we were just going for a walk. Next time I will get some shots.
What started out as a bright cloudless day turned a bit sour when the wind lifted and with the ambient temperature hovering around 1*C the wind had a real bite.
Despite the cold, we walked for about an hour arriving in Sandiacre yet another nearby village. Kerry spotted the Red Lion Pub and wanted to warm up so we crossed the road to find it was permanently closed. There are a lot of abandoned hotels throughout these villages and this one presented an interesting building which appeared to have the old stables still in the back of the hotel. She spotted the White Lion Pub 100m up the road but I was not interested and so we turned around and walked home. There are two further locks in this section. In all the canal has 14 locks and is approximately 11 miles in length.
People over here and at home often ask why we chose Long Eaton as our base. Well I think I can safely say Long Eaton chose us. Business brought us here but the diversity, centrality and hidden history of the area have kept us here. The history may not be momentous but it involves ordinary people and the development of life as we know it today.
Take the canal that runs behind our flat. Today it is a recreational waterway and walk connecting with the River Trent and the canal network that criss-crosses the UK. This canal has been my subject earlier so I won’t repeat the history. But once you get to the River Trent, the story just goes on – to Liverpool, Hull just about anywhere.
Here is a series of photographs of our recent walk and a bit of the story around the canals and the people who lived and worked on the canal. On this day we set out along the canal and stopped at the Steamboat for refreshment.
For us our walk of discovery started at the Steamboat now a pub but once serving the canal people.
Another satisfied customer
Beside the Steamboat is the Teahouse. Built in 1783 it still operates today providing tasty food and beverages. Its history includes a lockup. Underneath the shop was a cell used to hold people arrested on the canal. The cell is no longer there but the lock and key from the cell can be seen on the wall in the shop. This shop is crammed with memorabilia from the great days of canal industry.
Across the Trent is the boat club and rowing club and in the background the steaming pots of the power station may be seen. We follow the river toward Nottingham. It is possible to walk all the way but not today. After 40minutes we get to Cranfleet Lock; one of the many locks along the Trent and the River Soar. As we sit in the sun a narrow boat arrives to pass through the lock. It is a young family holidaying on the canal and we look and help as they enter the lock, release the water and sink down for the next leg of their journey.
On the way to Cranfleet
About the trail
Helping with the lock gates
ready to travel
Job done we turn around and walk home – a trip of 90 minutes.
Sunday August 10
Attenborough Nature Reserve and the Canal
There are a lot of places of interest around Long Eaton and in the shires generally. Last Sunday we visited the Attenborough Nature Reserve (not named after Richard Attenborough but named after the community in which it is located between Long Eaton and Nottingham). This area now 250ha in size started as a gravel pit and dumping ground for the fly ash from the nearby power station. It is now Britain’s second largest and second most popular nature reserve with over 50 species of bird living / visiting the water ways created by the extraction of gravel and return of the surface clays to create the ponds. There are long walks through the reserve and a conservation centre with information on the site. We took a free guided tour through part of the reserve and here are some of our photos.
Photo of the centre and our walk.
Within 100m of our flat is the Erewash Canal. Built in 1776 by a consortium of local merchants (collieries brick works and engineering workshops) it was the transport for all of the produce of the area until the railway started in 1846. It is approx. 13 miles long and joins the River Trent which flows to the North Sea. The locals chipped in 100 pounds each to cover the cost of 23,000 pounds to build and the cost came in under budget. There are 9 locks along its course raising the height of the canal 109 feet.
After the railways were developed the canals gradually lost commercial value and fell into disrepair. In 1969 the community formed a preservation group to restore the canal for recreational purposes. Today there is a fabulous walk down to the River Trent and there is a variety of wildlife and hedgerows along the way (about one and one half hour round trip flat to the pub [not allowing drinking time] and back). The canal is full of swans with their goslings and many other water fowl. It is also home to a canal boat industry with many variety of boat and industry supporting the boats along the canal. Here is a collage of the scenes I have viewed on my walk.
Date August 5
Long Eaton Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire
Long Eaton is a town in Derbyshire but lies just north of the River Trent about 7 miles south-west of Nottingham and is part of the Nottingham urban area but not part of the city itself. Long Eaton is referred to in the Doomsday Book as Aitone and is located at the lowest bridging point of the River Erewash. In 1228 the town gained the “Long” prefix due to the length of the town. In 1694 “the Great Fire of Long Eaton” destroyed 14 houses and several other buildings. The town developed around lace making with many old lace factories abandoned or converted in the town. It also had a railway wagon industry. (Source Wikipedia)
These industries were probably the influence for the construction of the Erewash canal which runs immediately behind our flat building.
One of the notable buildings in town is the Parish Church of St Laurence which local tradition dates from the 11th century (built by King Cnut) but it is more likely 12th century Norman. It is now overlooked by the eyesore Tesco Extra behemoth. There is some surprising architecture in town including the old Glitter and Dance UK headquarters at Harrington Mill built in 1885 with one and a quarter million bricks and is 167 meters long. There is also some pretty ordinary architecture from the 60’s and 70’s.
Our flat is in an old mill converted to the use and has retained its original chimney.
Photo of the building, entrance gates and chimney along with
• St Laurence Parish Church,
• The monstrosity Tesco store,
• Its companion ASDA,
• The old cinema showing some of the more acceptable 60’s architecture,
• The beautiful flower beds in the Main St,
• the High St which has been decimated by Tescoe and ASDA