History and exploring, local old industry, and D H Lawrence the author. Days out with a theme – short and local, long and two Counties.
Once, before Motorways, you could travel on the River Trent, and by Canal all the way from Gunthorpe (or even from the East Coast) which is on the bottom left of the photo grid, all the way to Bakewell in Derbyshire; top right of the photo grid, and Lord Middleton, who owned Wollaton Hall and Estate back then, (as well as a larger estate in Yorkshire) and whose Wollaton Hall Main Doorway is top left of the photo grid; had a stairway of 15 Canal Locks that went from Middleton Boulevard Crown Island, all the way round by Coventry Lane, Ilkeston Road crossroads, to Swansea Bridge at Cossal and to Robbinettes Lane. You can still walk or cycle some of the route, at Bramcote, and along to Trowell (Swansea Bridge) and Cossall? The village featured in several of D H Lawrence’s books and theres a small heritage centre.
Further out, Bakewell Town in Derbyshire has a large bank holiday monday market as well as smaller markets each week, and sells their Bakewell Tarts and Puddings and has a few small cafes. Monsal Dale is just beyond Bakewell and Ashford, with it’s huge viaduct and old railway walks (if you walk down to the river it can be a really steep walk back) There’s a beautiful waterfall along Monsall Dale.
It may be possible to navigate the waterways to Bakewell still and info would be on the new Canals and Waterways link, and you can hire a narrow boat from Gunthorpe for a day to see part of the route, but it’s doubtful you could travel to Bakewell or even Matlick there and back in a day. The boathire people would know. It’s easier to go by road or rail, Haddon Hall, Chatsworth Estate, Matlock, Youlegrave and Alport (where they filmed one of D H Lawrence books) Matlock Bath and Gullivers Kingdom (kids theme park) and Wheatcroft Wharf at Cromford (with a cafe) are all along the route or a couple of miles away.
There are lots of walks from Ambergate or Cromford along the canal.
D H Lawrence also lived for a while at Wirksworth in Derbyshire, another lovely Derbyshire town, it’s off the canal route at Ambergate and up the hill. Or up the hill at Cromford. There are roads, and probably footpaths. There was a rack and pinion railway to go up the hill along the main road once upon a time.
It’s quite amazing to think all the places were connected by river and canal, or trains at one time.
Old Industrial history, transport links, romantic fiction and modern days out!!