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Trent Meadows Walk

An easy walk around the plain and meadows of the River Trent, approximately 5 miles in length. Starting point is Trent Meadows, off Meadow Lane, Long Eaton. Alternatively, from Trent Lock, Lock Lane, Sawley. Time is approximately 2 - 2 hours. Type of walk, along the river bank and tow path through very flat countryside. Part of the walk takes you alongside the Cranfleet Canal which was cut in 1797 to bypass Thrumpton Weir. Around halfway, it passes under the railway to Leicester, which disappears into Redhill Tunnel through a wonderful castle-like entrance - a Victorian desire to beautify our railways. Following the tow path along you reach the Erewash Canal. Running from Langley Mill to the Trent, the Erewash Canal was cut between 1777-79 to carry coal to the south. Nowadays, it is favoured by houseboats and Trent Lock itself has become a popular place for visitors. Near the end of the walk you pass by Forbes Hole which is one of a series of borrowpits dug to provide ballast for the railways in 1839. The site has now developed into a valuable local nature reserve.

The Cranfleet Trail
You can see plenty of wildlife and the history of Cranfleet Cut and the River Trent. This route is designed for wheelchair access. Approximately 2 miles in length, starting point is the Navigation Inn at Trent Lock. Time is approximately 2 - 3 hours. Type of walk, is along level paths suitable for wheelchairs, this route was chosen and designed with help from the Erewash Valley Access Group. One of the most notable narrow boats traveling this route is the "Fellows Morton and Clayton" one of the striking features of this boat is its brightly coloured decoration, traditionally of castles and roses. The artists who painted the boats became famous, with some of their individual styles easily recognised. This walk is a haven for a wide variety of wildlife, many birds, such as Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Heron and Dabchick, live in and around the canal. If you are lucky, you may also see a Kingfisher. In 1779 there were about 140 barges using both the river and canal, each one between 70 - 72 feet long and carrying about 40 tons of cargo each. The Redhill railway tunnel gets its name from the colour of its rich sandstone which was once the site of a Romano-British temple.

The Coffin Walk
A gentle stroll meandering around the edge of Long Eaton, Sawley, Breaston and Draycott. Approximately 5 miles in length, the starting point is Saint Michaels Church, Main Street, Breaston. Time is approximately 2 - 3 hours. Type of walk, easy walking through flat countryside. St Michaels Chapel dates from the early 13th century. Originally, only mass was said in the chapel and all weddings, baptisms and funerals had to take place at St Chad's, Wilne, to the south. Coffins were taken across the fields to Wilne and the route became known as the "Coffin Walk". Along the way you will see "Coffin Stones" used to rest the coffins on the walk to Wilne. The River Derwent rises at Ronksley Moor in the Bleak Low Ridge and winds its way for 60 miles through grit and limestone, joining the Trent between Wilne and Sawley.

The Long Eaton Centenary Town Trail
This walk begins at The Hall, a Grade II listed Georgian building of 1778, built by Joseph Pickford for Henry Howitt. Walk down the steps in front of the hall and across Derby Road. Turn right and continue walking up to the canal bridge. The canal was constructed in 1779, since which time there has been a bridge on this site. It has been rebuilt twice and the cast-iron parapets date from 1910. To the right is Bridge Mills. The chimney is 33m high, with a cast-iron head. It dates from 1902. It was the last steam powered lace factory to be built in Long Eaton. Over the bridge and just past Bridge Street is Hamilton Road, which has a war memorial, a plaque on the front of one of the houses, to the seventeen men from that street who were killed in World War I. At King Street, turn left and notice the Bethel Chapel (now the Oasis Christian Centre). Built in 1903, it is a Grade II listed building. Enter the cemetery and walk towards the Chapel Of Rest, also a Grade II listed building, passing some very grand Victorian and Edwardian gravestones on the way. Alongside the cemetery is the Harrington Mill. Built in 1885, this 168m long building still houses upholstery and lace manufacturers among other concerns.

On leaving the cemetery, turn right into West Park. A 5000 year old stone axe was discovered close to the bowling green. Continuing around West Park, you will pass Trent College. Built as an independent boarding school for boys in 1868, it was modeled on Repton and founded by Francis Wright, a descendant of a successful Nottingham banking family. The "Tree Trail" produced by Erewash Borough Council, covers most of the park. The path curves around to the left, past the bandstand which was donated by the Co-Operative Society in 1935. Fox Covert on your right, lies between the canal and Golden Brook. This Grade I wildlife site is explored in more depth elsewhere on this site, as is West Park itself.

Leave the park by the green painted footbridge onto Broad Street. A short distance on your right is the library built in 1906 by the Long Eaton Urban District Council to a design which came about as a result of a competition open only to local architects. The winners were Messrs Gorman and Ross. Before 1924, borrowers had to request books from a counter, after first looking through a catalogue of available titles.

Cross Tamworth Road from Broad Street to Salisbury Street and continue up to the Bourne Chapel. Built in 1873, two spires were removed in the 1960s. It has been a popular theatre since the 1980s and is now part of the Chatsworth Centre. Beyond this point, walk along West Gate towards Main Street. On the opposite corner is what was once the Long Eaton Co-Operative Society's central building. Built in 1900, the clock tower was added in 1927, but the clock hasn't worked for a number of years now.

Turn left into the High Street and notice above the modern shop fronts, original buildings can still be seen. Union Street to the right was the birth place of the artist Dame Laura Knight in 1887. The Old Bell Public House was almost certainly the original village pub. The foundations are ancient, but the present building probably dates from 1700. Long Eaton Village's meeting room was on the first floor and school classes would have been held here before the first purpose built schools were built. Across the road is Therm House, a 1930s Art Deco style building designed by Dodd and Wilcox for the Long Eaton Gas Company.

Around the now pedestrianised Market Place, there are several imposing Victorian banks, some of which are Grade II listed. Turning to the right and out of the Market Place by the Halifax you find yourself in Saint Laurence's churchyard. In the 1850s, a row of thatched cottages and farm buildings, many dating from the 1690s, stood to the side of the church, with almshouses in front of the church. The church itself is by far the oldest building in Long Eaton, being late Norman, and may even be built on the site of an earlier building. On leaving the churchyard, turn right past the war memorial and the Refuge Building of 1895. York Chambers is of Dutch influence and designed by Messrs Gorman and Ross in 1903. Further along are the Oxford Buildings of 1906. The area known as The Green was still relatively open ground as late as 1912. Across The Green is the Congregational Church, built in 1876 of Bulwell Sandstone. Follow the path around the church and return to the start of the walk.

Forbes Hole

Forbes Hole is one of a series of borrow pits dug in 1839 during the construction of the railway network. Gravel removed from these pits was used as ballast in the building of the railway embankments. In 1991 the Borough acquired the site from British Rail, when it came under the threat of development, with plans to keep it as a Local Nature Reserve and recreational area.

Part of the Trent flood plain, the pond is the main feature of the site. Soon after excavation, the hole would have filled with floodwater from the nearby river. As the date of its creation is known, study of its development and colonisation over time makes it particularly important, and the Long Eaton Natural History Society has kept wildlife records of the area for many years.

Classified as a Grade 1 site on the County Biographical Sites Register in 1982/83, Forbes Hole was declared as Erewash Borough's first Local Nature Reserve on November 6th 1991. There are a number of habitats included in the 3.3 hectare site, ranging from open water, willow carr, dry woodland and an area of grassland, scrubland and a mature hedgerow. Although initially created by man, the site has been allowed to develop into a semi-natural area of great importance to wildlife.

The pond is one of only four locations in the county containing Water Violet. Common Clubrush and Fine-leaved Water Dropwort are also found here. It was once the home of giant carp, but they are thought to have perished during exceptionally cold weather in 1981. Tench are still found here and it is intended to re-introduce fishing at specific zoned areas around the pond. Many birds use the old trees in the willow carr as a nesting site. At the edge of the carr are found flowers such as Marsh Bedstraw, Water Mint and Lady's Smock.

Sycamore, Oak, Ash and Alder dominate the dry woodland. Shrubs include Hawthorn, Elder and Guelder Rose, providing berries throughout the winter for Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Song Thrush and Redwing.

A notable flower found in the grassland is Yellow Rattle, but Birds Foot Trefoil and Meadow Vetchling are also found here. Forbes Hole is also an important habitat for insects such as the Cinnabar Moth, the Common Blue, Small Copper and Orange Tip butterflies.

Bramble and Dog Rose grow in the scrubland, providing good cover for nesting Wrens, Lesser Whitethroat and Linnet. Butterflies thrive on Stinging Nettle and Ragwort. Small mammals such as Wood Mouse, Common Shrew and Hedgehog are found among the Oak, Ash, Hawthorn and Birch, which make up the mature hedgerow.

Erewash Canal Walk

In the early 18th century, Britain possessed a road system that was very basic, in poor repair and totally inadequate for the growing transport demands of the time. Many rivers had already been improved for navigation, but what was needed were cheap transport links to the developing industrial areas of Britain. The problem was solved by constructing a network of artificial waterways across the heart of England. These allowed coal, iron and stone, the raw materials of the industrial revolution, to be transported cheaply and easily. The canals were therefore the equivalent of today's motorways. Work on the Erewash Canal began during 1778, and the canal was opened in July 1779. The canal cost 21,000 to construct and is almost 12 miles long and closely follows the course of the River Erewash. Along its length are 14 locks rising 109 feet from Trent Lock to Langley Mill.

Trent Lock, the first lock on the Erewash Canal, gave its name to the substantial settlement which grew up where the Erewash Canal joins the River Trent. The Erewash Navigation Inn was built by the canal company in 1791 and doubled as a farmhouse. It became the "Fisherman's Rest" in the 1950's and is now the "Steamboat", complete with mock funnel. A former landlord used to operate a ferry on the River Trent.

Associated canals are:

  • The Cromford Canal - opened 1794 engineered by William Jessop and Benjamin Outram at a cost of 78,900
  • The Nutbrook Canal - opened 1795 engineered by Benjamin Outram at a cost of 22.800
  • Derby Canal - opened 1796 engineered by Benjamin Outram at a cost of 100,000
  • Nottingham Canal - opened 1796 engineered by William Jessop and James Green at a cost of 80,000

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