If you appreciate nature and love to take a stroll by the riverside this may well be a perfect location for you to explore. All can be gained via public transport. Long Eaton Train station where our journey begins in Derbyshire, has Bicycle and Disabled access, with a lift adjoining the platform for wheelchair access. This walk borders both Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and takes in a couple of cozy riverside pubs and a lovely tea room on route, ideal for a cold drink on a summers day or a warming hot drink and a meal on a crisp winter walk. The tow paths and river trails are very well maintained.
We started out on a lovely warm day in late summer to take a walk along a beautiful stretch of the river Trent and adjoining canals. We started our journey by train, arriving at Long Eaton Railway Station, late morning.
From this point the canal is a short distance away along Fields Farm Road, and with an excitable dog it is just as well since he acts like a hyperactive toddler when he’s on route to a walk. When reaching the canal side with Max being released from his lead, the tranquility is apparent instantly. We are just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of civilization and an industrial estate nearby on the main road, as soon as we step on to the canal tow path we feel relaxed and at ease. The kids take time to feed the ducks with corn from our hen’s feed store while Max sniffs every inch of the hedgerow as we stroll along the Erewash Canal tow path toward the Junction with the river Trent, where the Steamboat Inn is located, as is The Trent Lock and also a lovely little tea room.
Staying on route on this warm day in late summer we dropped into the garden of the Steamboat Inn for a refreshing drink and to watch the many hens and a few guinea fowl wander about the yard.
Time is ticking and there’s more to see before we get to our destination, Which for us is Beeston or in other words, home. We carry on along the track to our left past the canal lock and continuing on our journey.
Looking across the water is the Trent Valley Sailing Club, and further in the distance is the Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station, everywhere else in sight are farmer’s fields and woods as far as the eye can see.
The next Lock and boat moorings along our canal route is Cranfleet Lock, just one and a half miles from Long Eaton consisting of a small lock, a few residential barge moorings and a little bar open to club members and public.
Here is another place to stop for a break if you haven’t already paused to take in the view. Sheep and cattle graze in the fields across the canal and boats are moored alongside the towpath setting a laid back atmosphere. However we continue on our journey whilst watching a barge navigate through the lock.
We now join the river Trent trail which is much quieter and therefore gives more chance of spotting some wildlife and is also a haven for birds due to the nature of this diverse area. (A bit of advice, from personal experience,) I advise you to stop for a toilet break at either one of the, afore mentioned establishments as there are no more toilets from this point on for a while. If you’re a Twitcher, (Bird Watcher to you and I,) be on the Lookout for Kingfisher, Long Tailed Tit and Gold Crest. I hope you bring along a pair of binoculars and a camera.
Just around a curve of the River Trent is a Windsurfing lake to the left, a favorite place to let the dog go for a swim and a sandy little beach area that is nice for a picnic. We tend to stop here for a short while whether walking or cycling the route.
The river Trent snakes along and there’s always something new to see. Across the river is the occasional cabin or chalet with boats or barges moored beside it and swans meandering about.
Further along the track joins with Attenborough Nature reserve. This area is enriched to encourage wildlife to thrive, the wetland environment on the left has had extra reed beds introduced and further natural landscaping after essential work was completed as part of the Environment Agency’s flood defense scheme. Throughout Attenborough Nature Reserve are bird boxes to encourage various bird species, bat boxes and otter Holts. Birds for you to keep an eye out for through the reserve are multiple, a few of special interest are Bitterns, Marsh Harrier, Heron, Bearded Tit, and Reed Warbler. There are bird watching hides available to use throughout the reserve.
Depending on your time scale and plans for the day, there is an option to veer to the left and off the river trail along another track to Attenborough Nature reserves visitor Centre and cafe, this is clearly sign posted when you get to this point on the trial and is well worth a visit.
On this occasion we have continued along the riverside trial, and to the Right hand side across the river is Barton Island, used by the Sea Scouts for camping trips and training, the Island is only accessible by boat. There have been sightings of otters playing here during early summer 2014, which is an encouraging sign for the area. I hope to see one here one day.
As we stroll on there is an increase in traffic along the trail, more cycles, walkers and Twitchers, Showing that we are getting closer to Beeston Marina. Across the river are more cabins, chalets and barges. Soon the pontoon moorings of the Marina are in sight.
As a general rule we would make Beeston Marina our last stop of the day. There’s a lovely café here serving hot and cold drinks and food & yummy cakes all at competitive prices. The pub sells good ales, pop for the kids and meals too. The Chandlers have a kiosk selling ices cream, so there’s something for everyone. The view of the boats and the weir makes this a lovely place to stop and relax a while.
From here on there is a choice to veer left and through Beeston Rylands. Beeston train station is signposted from the road. The other option is to continue onwards and past Beeston Lock, then follow the Nottingham Canal through into Nottingham City, where the canal comes close to Nottingham Train Station, which is also signposted clearly from the tow path. This will add a few miles to the journey, but is a well maintained towpath and an enjoyable walk.
Our choice is to turn left and homeward bound, with a less excitable dog on his lead again. I hope you enjoyed my insight into this area and get the chance to sample this walk one day because it has always been a firm favourite of mine, whether on foot or on bike.
I grew up not a stone’s throw from Beeston Marina with my big brother, Jeremy Vass. I would like to dedicate this to him. 04.08.1968 – 30.11.1985
Until next time.