Bennerley Walk

3 March 2024

Bennerley Walk 3rd March 2024 (Revised Itinerary)
Our next Sunday walk is something very different – a varied and interesting trip through history as we explore some of the hidden delights of the Erewash Valley and its surrounds. The walk begins at the edge of Kimberley and finishes in the pretty village of Strelley. Highlights include the spectacular Bennerley Viaduct, the tiny village of Cossall, the Hemlock Stone and an amazing panoramic view over Nottingham (from a safe distance). The walk will be around 12 miles long, with a shortcut option, if required, near the end. There are no refreshment facilities until near the end of the walk, so please bring along adequate sustenance.
After a short coach journey, we begin our walk along Babbington Lane, Kimberley. We pass the landmark of the now disused Swingate Water Tower, built to improve water supply from the Derwent Reservoir to Nottingham just after WW2. It is nearly 100 feet high and dominates the local landscape. We then descend steeply through farmland towards Babbington and the Erewash Valley. We follow the Nottingham Canal for a short way.
Just around the corner is an amazing relic of the Victorian era. The Bennerley railway viaduct is known informally as ‘The Iron Giant’; some 60 feet high and over a quarter of a mile long. It survived only because it was too expensive to demolish. Built for the Great Northern Railway in 1877, it has recently been converted into a footpath and cycleway. Depending on access restrictions on the day, we may be able to cross the viaduct, or just gain access from the far side.
We then descend to the Erewash Canal and follow the towpath before ascending a short distance to Cossall village. Here we shall have our first break of the day. The village is very pretty and contains interesting buildings, including the church and the remains of some very quaint almshouses.
We loop back slightly after leaving Cossall as we head back onto the Nottingham Canal. We follow the towpath past some very pretty scenery. This quiet section of the canal is usually full of bird life. We skirt Trowell and head under the M1 motorway before joining the Robin Hood Way. We pass a garden centre where there may be brief opportunity for toilets.
We soon leave the course of the Nottingham Canal. We head across fields and through woodland towards the Bramcote Hills. A brief shock to the system will be a rare hill on this walk – Stapleford Hill which rises to a mighty 101 metres above sea level. We have the option of skirting the worst of the hill. The brave may prefer climbing over the summit. Just beyond is the famous Hemlock Stone – a spectacular outcrop of New Red Sandstone. It is still debated whether this edifice is the result of quarrying, or natural erosion. We shall have a break here. There is often a coffee bar open in the park just opposite.
Duly rested and refreshed, we proceed through the Bramcote Hills before joining Moor Lane, said to be an ancient routeway. We get glimpses of Wollaton Hall to our right, which is just a short distance away. After negotiating the A6002 and the A609 in quick succession, any survivors will continue through pretty farmland across Trowell Moor. Just beyond Moor Farm we take a sharp right and head past Catstone Hill towards Strelley. It is along this stretch that we should get an amazing panoramic view of Nottingham and its environs. On a clear day, Wollaton Hall, Nottingham Castle, Green’s Windmill and even Belvoir Castle should be visible.
It is then a short stretch to the end of our walk. We reach the road through Strelley Village. The Hall, the church and an ancient stone pavement are just off to the left, if anyone is interested in exploring. Most will probably wish to head straight for the local hostelry instead. The Broad Oak pub is just down the road to the right. Our coach will pick us up outside the Broad Oak pub at 5:30pm for the short drive home.

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