Cossall - The Robbinetts Arm (Scenery)
w/e 23 January 2005
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

It was only a very short walk as can be seen from the red line on plan opposite but in a week where the weather was changeable to say the least - gales, mild, cold, rain, bright spells with even a few snow flurries thrown in for good measure - it was too good an opportunity to miss when we awoke one morning to a bright clear winter's day. So as we had an hour to spare, we answered the call of the countryside and drove to a car park on Dead Lane from where we set off to explore the Robbinetts Arm of the disused Nottingham Canal just south of Cossall Village. The red numbers 1 to 6 on the plan indicate the approximate positions of the following images.
Robbinetts Arm

When the Nottingham Canal was constructed in the early 1790s, this section to the south of Cossall was built in a loop and on an embankment so as to maintain its level aspect on its way to Nottingham from Langley Mill. The canal was slightly less a than fourteen and a half miles long and had seven short side branches of which the Robbinetts Arm is just one. This first image from the towpath is looking towards the Robbinetts Arm and the frosty fields beyond across the overgrown canal. We would shortly be walking along the towpath behind the wooden bench opposite but first we had to cross the canal.
Frosty Footbridge

A little further round the loop, this footbridge now provides an easy way across the canal. as we have already seen above, there had been a sharp frost overnight and although the ground was beginning to ease, this picture shows the frost still remained in the shadows where the sun had not yet reached. Through the hedgerow, Ilkeston can be seen in the distance.

Returning up the other side of the canal, a look back towards the bridge also showed some of the houses in Cossall Village. At this point the canal, built up on its embankment, is high above the fields to the left and Dead Lane to the right which leads into the village.
Hairpin Bend

Where Dead Lane and the Robbinetts Arm come together, there used to be a swing bridge but now motorists just have to negotiate a hairpin bend to drop down the hill (right) before rising again into Cossall or vice versa of course if travelling in the opposite direction to Trowell (left).

Towpath Contrasts

We carefully crossed Dead Lane here and I stress "carefully" for despite its name, the road is quite a busy one and visibility at this point in not the best so it is advisable to listen as well as look for traffic. The two views in the image above were both taken from the road but in opposite directions. On the left, the path back to the Nottingham Canal is well worn and, as can be seen by the notices and signs, is well used by walkers (but not fisherman) whilst on the right, the continuation along the Robbinetts Arm it is still grass-covered and is obviously less well used.
Overflow Channel

From the overflow channel looking back towards Dead Lane this is a peaceful scene today but two hundred years ago the same view would have been much different. In the first part of the nineteenth century, canals in this area were the main means of transportation especially for coal and they continued to be so until the railways took over about 1840. The Nottingham Canal continued to carry traffic until 1928 but was abandoned in 1937.
At The End Of The Path

This is about as far as you can go along the Robbinetts Arm without climbing fences and walking across fields and today there is little evidence to suggest why the Arm was built. But across the canal to the right and just a little further on, maps show the existence of a disused mine so it's a fair assumption that the prime function of the Robbinetts Arm was to allow the collection of coal from there for delivery to the River Trent at Nottingham.

Continued in Part 2 - Flora and Fauna

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