Attenborough - Peace and Tranquillity
w/e 28 May 2023

All of this week's pictures were taken with a Nikon D3300

Despite being surrounded by Toton and Long Eaton to the west and Chilwell and Beeston to the east, it's relatively easy to find a peaceful spot in the village of Attenborough these days - but that was not always the case.

The Strand

One such quiet spot is The Strand. Not as grand as its namesake in London but the road does have some impressive properties on its northern side and one, towards the far end, is actually Grade II Listed.
Village Green

On the other side of The Strand is a sporting complex where the peace is only disturbed by the sound of wood on wood from the Bowls Club; leather on willow from the cricketers; the shouts for offside from the football players or the cries of excited children if an event is taking place on the ground which also doubles as the village green.
Tween Pond

These days the sports ground - and The Strand and other properties in the village - are protected from flood waters from the River Trent and the Attenborough Nature Reserve by a high wall, built recently as part of a Flood Prevention Scheme. The Reserve has seven large "ponds" that are known by various names. This one, accessed from The Strand, is almost surrounded by four of them and is named Tween Pond.
Two Trails

There are several paths and trails around the ponds and this one along the northern edge of Tween Pond, forms part of the route of two trails, the Tufted Duck and the Kingfisher, and leads to Church Pond. Although a wildlife sanctuary, a recent outbreak of bird flu appears to have had an effect and we saw very few birds as we walked along here. There were probably more at the Visitor Centre which is usually one of the busiest parts of the Nature Reserve.

St Mary's Church

There are several smaller ponds and inlets from the main ponds, often providing tranquil scenes like this one across to St Mary's Church - which was where we were heading.
Common Tern Board

The trails through the Reserve are interspersed with information boards at strategic points. This one at a junction in the paths between Tween Pond and Church Pond was all about Common Terns.
Church Pond

The peace of Church Pond is only disturbed these days by the sound of trains as they thunder along the tracks on the far side on the journeys between Nottingham and Derby.
Church Path

The only other sound to disturb the peace is perhaps that of aircraft passing overhead from East Midlands Airport but before the Nature Reserve was established it would have been the sound of industry as gravel was extracted for the pits that now form the ponds. From the Common Tern board the path leads directly to the Visitor Centre but we turned the opposite way towards the church.
Ireton House

Next to and in the shadow of the church is the peaceful setting of Ireton House, a Grade II Listed building.

A plaque on a wall at Ireton House shows that Henry Ireton was born here. Although peaceful now and probably peaceful then too, this was the Henry Ireton who became a general in the English Civil War and married Oliver Cromwell's daughter. He signed the death warrant of Charles I and living in such troubled times would hardly have had a peaceful life. The second plaque is in the St Mary's churchyard.

Explosion Memorial

This second plaque records the moment near the end of the First World War which was anything but peaceful. 139 souls lost their lives at the nearby Chilwell Ordnance Factory in a massive explosion. Some of the victims were buried in a mass grave in the churchyard. When we last visited the graves were marked by stone slabs in the turf (see picture by Dave Sommerfield at Wikipedia) but since then, two plots opposite each other have been created, one with a simple but fitting memorial cross that, with the plaque, records the tragic event and now allows the victims to rest in peace in this tranquil churchyard.

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