The Whittlestone Walk - Part 01
w/e 20 November 2011
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

It is possible to download many of the leaflets of the walks in Erewash, Broxtowe and Amber Valley and there are links to them from the Country Walks, Rambles and Routeways index page on this site. The Whittlestone Walk though, number six in the series of "Country Walks in and around Erewash" is an exception and I'm surmising that it may have been discontinued for a variety of reasons some of which I'll point out as we progress. I do have a leaflet describing the walk however but it is about eleven years old, dated 2000 and includes a map from prior to that date which has some obvious differences to the current landscape. The walk is of about five miles in length but at this point in time, I'm not sure how it will pan out due to the changed features. So with some reservations we set out on a damp and misty autumn afternoon and covered approximately the first mile of the route before returning home via another footpath.

Victoria Park

The walk which is named after the late Ron Whittlestone starts at the car park in Victoria Park near the children's playground and heads to the corner where Drummond Road meets Manners Road. Mr. Whittlestone was a tireless campaigner for greater access to the countryside and was the former Parks Manager for Erewash Borough Council.
Between The Houses

Entrance to Housing EstateThere is an immediate obvious difference to the published leaflet which says to "proceed down track" and "turn right through gardens to reach sandy path" which, when written, would have referred to the allotments that were here. In fact my maternal grandmother had an allotment here and I remember visiting it as a boy with an uncle on the back of his motorbike. A new housing estate now occupies the site with the entrance road where the track used to be (left) but there is still a footpath between the houses.The path in question once led to a footbridge over the railway line but both bridge and line have now disappeared.
ndistinct Path

Manners LinkThe sandy path is now known as the Manners Link (left), a path we followed in April of this year. It was at the meeting of the paths that we turned left but there was an encouraging sight of a way marker with the number six on a post directly ahead. Even if the leaflet is no longer available, it looked as though the direction pointers would still be in situ. The leaflet continues "bear right at fork" but this is not way marked and initially we missed the turning. We soon realised our mistake and backtracked to pick up the indistinct path skirting the industrial estate, mentioned in the leaflet but absent on the map in the same.
Up The Embankment

The industrial site to the right, like the housing estate, was also built on an area full of allotments many of which were accessed from a lane down to Manner Floods. The route we are following is actually a former LNER branch line towards Heanor which crossed the lane. The bottom part of the lane still exists but the railway bridge over it has been demolished and the path now descends from the embankment to rise up again on the other side after passing through the gate where another marker points the way. The climb up the embankment is much steeper than it appears here and the slippery conditions on the fallen leaves are perhaps a reason in these health and safety conscious days why the walk leaflet is no longer available.
Electricity Site

Top of EmbankmentFrom the top of the embankment (left) a major electricity installation to the right is one of the differences that has occurred since the publication of the 2000 leaflet. The leaflet includes a sketch of the "old EMEB warehouse"on this site which I always knew as Central Stores when I was employed by East Midlands Electricity. Even in 2000 the building was described as having suffered "repeated damage by fire and vandalism" and had an uncertain future despite being listed as having historical interest once being Ilkeston's power station. (Although no longer here, I found a photo of the building on the English Heritage site - click here to view).
And Up Again

Descent form EmbankmentA little further on the descent (right) from the embankment was equally as hazardous as the climb up to it.

The descent was only temporary though and to continue on the route of the old railway line it was necessary to climb back up again onto the embankment and pass the last of the industrial units. In passing I must mention that this low point on the walk opens out to an expanse of overgrown open ground crossed by several footpaths but where there used to be a football pitch in my schooldays. This walk is fast turning into a trip down memory lane.
Soft Going

View of Tree TopsLeft TurnBack on the embankment, the views over the gorse (left) revealed the tops of many trees along the Nutbrook Trail displaying their autumn colours but it was more important to keep an eye on the narrow path where horseshoe shapes in the soft surface showed it is well used by horse riders. Eventually we reached another path (right) crossing the railway route where we turned left towards the Nutbrook Trail.
Familiar Path

We have often walked this part of the route before approaching here by a different route from the Manners Industrial Estate and it's only a short walk across a field to pass through a gap in the fence to reach the Trail.
Nutbrook Trail

The familiar path joins the Nutbrook Trail at a right-angled bend. Ahead in this view is the route to the south and is actually the way we followed back home. To the right the Nutbrook Trail continues to Shipley and Heanor but the Whittlestone Walk continues through the fence on the right. Although we have often passed this point many times I never previously realised that there was another footpath on the other side of the hedge!
Pointing The Way

And this is the other side of the hedge where once again the reassuring yellow arrow on the stile with a number six in the middle points us ever onwards towards Mapperley - and that is the way we will go when we return to continue the Whittlestone Walk.
Forward to Part 02

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