The Whittlestone Walk - Part 02
w/e 04 December 2011
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

We discovered in Part 01 that the "Country Walks in and around Erewash" leaflet for the Whittlestone Walk was no longer available for download although circuit markers were still in place at various point along the route. It becomes even more apparent in this part however, why the leaflet is no longer available. Whilst the Whittlestone Walk is a circular route I actually incorporated approximately this second mile into a linear walk as the start of this part necessitated about a mile's walk to reach the point on the Nutbrook Trail where we broke off last time. Although dry for the duration of the walk, there had been some earlier rain and conditions underfoot in places were a little muddy.

Bridge Over Nut Brook

Path Across FieldFarm TrackThe route from the Nutbrook Trail is down by the side of the hedge to a bridge over the Nut Brook. It then crosses a field (left) to reach a farm track (right). I still have a leaflet describing the walk which reads "The field boundaries here are not yet shown on the OS map following reinstatement after opencast mining" but the said leaflet was printed over eleven years ago.
Wood Pile

It is from here that the differences between the landscape and the description are at odds and it is obvious why the leaflet is no longer available for it talks of crossing footbridges, over stiles and heading for a particular tree. Judging by the wood pile at the side of the farm track, I am not even sure that tree still exists. The hedgerows seem pretty well established too and from old maps it appears that the farm track is actually following the route of a former railway line.
Former Railway Bridge

After passing the entrance to Head House Farm on the right (as per the leaflet) the railway theory is confirmed where the track crosses over Slack Road. I should have turned right immediately after crossing the bridge but that path was particularly muddy so I turned left instead to reach Slack Road and doubled back to pass under the bridge to regain the intended route.

The remainder of the route now into Mapperley Village is along Slack Road first of all rising up from the railway bridge to pass the farmhouse at Head House Farm.
Gate Post

A waymarker on the gate post adjacent to the farmhouse was enough to confirm that this was the correct route with a number six in the yellow arrow pointing the way forward.
Inquisitive Cow

Slack RoadSlack RoadSo far we have been heading in a generally north westerly direction but since leaving the former railway track we are now heading almost directly due north with the wood on Shipley Hill coming ever nearer. Inquisitive cattle in the field to the left gave me quizzical looks as I descended the bridleway (left) to turn to the west at a junction and continue along Slack Road (right) towards Mapperley.
Slack Road

There were still plenty of signs of autumn in the berries and the colours of the trees but it was the surface of the track that caught my attention too. It seemed to be compressed hardcore or slag and I'd surmise that the name of Slack Road although now adopted as such, originated as a nickname when coal mining was an important industry in the area. I remember heavy lorries driving along here in clouds of coal dust or very small pieces of coal commonly known as slack.
To Mapperley Wood

At another junction on Slack Road the now familiar waymarker points the way forward again. This path to the right leads into Mapperley Wood and Nature Reserve that we visited back in 2005 from the other side.
Gentle Rise

It's now just a gentle rise up Slack Road into the village.
Coronation Road

Passing through the gate at the edge of the village leads onto Coronation Road and the completion of the second mile of the walk. Which means we shall have to make our way to Mapperley to begin Part 03 which will probably be some time in the New Year.
Back to Part 01
Forward to Part 03

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