Autumn Footprints 2022 - Erewash Meadows Living Landscapes
w/e 25 September 2022
All of this week's
pictures were taken with a Nikon D3300
About halfway through the Festival there was a Wildlife
Walk with representatives from the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust
and also the Cromford Canal and Codnor Park Reservoir Group.
They work closely together to maintain and look after much of
the landscape covered by this walk. It was classed as an easy
to moderate walk of a little over 2 miles and actually began
(and ended) in Nottinghamshire at the Jacksdale Community Centre.
Below are just a few images taken on what proved to be an informative
and enjoyable walk.
We left the car park at the Community Centre and walked into
Wharf Green, the Recreation Ground between Main Road, Jacksdale
and the River Erewash. On the right hand side of the path is
a grassy area bounded by the wall shown above which was the edge
of the basin off the Cromford Canal where coal from was once
transferred to barges for transportation along the canal. The
basin has now been filled in otherwise we would have been standing
up to our necks (at least) in water!
We made our way from Jacksdale Wharf to the edge of the Cromford
Canal crossing the River Erewash, the boundary between Nottinghamshire
and Derbyshire, on the way. Reaching the Cromford Canal we were
shown a number of old photographs of what the area used to look
like. This particular black and white image shows the same bridge
over the canal which has been restored by a local stone mason
who lives in Jacksdale. The new stonework will eventually weather
to match the original structure of the bridge.
The Erewash Meadows Nature Reserve lies on both sides of the
River Erewash all the way from Jacksdale to Langley Mill and
is in three sections. The southern area is called Aldercar Flash,
the middle section Brinsley Meadows and the northern part which
we walked through on this walk is along the disused Cromford
Canal. The bulrushes are a sign of the water's purity which is
tested regularly by the Reservoir Group to ensure it is
free of nitrates and other pollutants.
We soon came to a dam which has been constructed across the canal
and a discussion ensued about the different aims of various groups.
The Friends of Cromford Canal for example have a long term ambition
to restore the canal to its former glory but the aim of the Wildlife
Trust is to preserve the habitat for the likes of water voles
and to create wetlands and grasslands in the Erewash Valley.
Both are admirable concerns but the outcome is still a long way
The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, and the Nottinghamshire Wildlife
Trust for that matter, both have their own livestock which are
used to graze the grasslands. They have insufficient stock however
to cover all their needs so contracts are in place with tenant
farmers that allow them to put their own livestock on the fields
at certain times of the year to keep the land in good condition.
A little further along the Cromford Canal we reached the remains
of a former railway bridge, known locally as 'The Black Bridge'
which spanned the canal and originally formed a link between
the Erewash Valley Line and the Great Northern Railway. We climbed
the embankment and walked a little way along the route of the
old railway line to where a gap in the trees provided a fine
view over Erewash Meadows Nature Reserve to the south, the largest
area of floodplain grasslands and wetlands in the Erewash Valley.
Returning to the canal we continued south almost to Aldercar
Flash and learned of the many different species of birds that
had been spotted as well as the many invertebrates and water
voles that inhabit the site. Eventually we crossed the canal
and entered a wooded area on the other side.
This side of the canal is not owned by the Wildlife Trust and
part of it belongs to the Coal Authority. But having passed through
the wood some of which has sprung up on the old slag heap from
the Codnor Park Forge Works, we emerged onto a privately owned
area (open to the public) overlooking a pond and hay meadows
which is renowned for being a favourite place to spot butterflies.The
owners of the site were determined, to their credit, to preserve
the site as a nature reserve rather than let it be developed
as a building site.
We continued around the pond and made our way back to the Cromford
Canal which we crossed before returning to the restored bridge
(just right of centre in the image above) that we had seen earlier
at the start of the walk.
Our walk concluded by crossing a third
bridge, this one over the River Erewash, to return again to Nottinghamshire
along the path to Jacksdale Wharf and the Community Centre car
There's more about Erewash Meadows on the Derbyshire Wildlife
Trust site here.
Back to Autumn Footprints 2022
- The Festival Starts Here