The Water Tower Walk - Part 01
w/e 14 February 2016
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

When chatting with a friend recently about local walks he mentioned a route he had followed from Swingate to Ilkeston calling at Babbington where he was able to enjoy a reasonably priced cup of tea. He had caught a bus to Swingate and the obvious advantage of the route back to Ilkeston in addition to the drink was of course it was mainly downhill. The disadvantage at this time of year was the field paths which were likely to be muddy.

Panoramic View Of Route

I determined to try and find a similar route between Ilkeston and Swingate that stuck mainly to bridle paths and farm tracks and after studying maps and satellite images came up with such a route that avoided using the public footpaths across fields. I decided to walk in the opposite direction to my friend despite it being uphill but it meant the sun was at my back. The above image taken from the Erewash Museum gardens some time ago shows much of the route beginning at the bottom right hand corner on the Erewash Canal, passing Cossall Village in the centre to the water tower at Swingate on the horizon at the far left.


I began the walk proper at Potter's Lock on the Erewash Canal which can be approached from several directions either along the towpaths or directly from the Larklands area of Ilkeston. Crossing the bridge over the adjacent River Erewash I followed the path to climb the ugly green footbridge over the railway line.
Mill Lane

From the railway bridge the uphill path that is Mill Lane can be seen rising to the Nottingham Canal and then on to Cossall Village. This is a path walked many times before. (See "Ilkeston To Cossall" in the Sentimental Journeys section or even "The Other Side Of The Tracks" under Miscellaneous Walks).
Cossall Village

In Cossall Village the road sign on the right indicates where Mill Lane changes to become Robinettes Lane. The road off on the right where the car is emerging behind the walkers with the horse is Dead Lane to Trowell but the route for this walk is straight ahead along Robinettes Lane.
Oakwood Grange

Although the route from start to finish is uphill the majority of Robinettes Lane is fairly level and traffic along here, which at times can be heavy through Cossall, is limited to the odd farm or residential vehicle. There are a few houses on the left ahead at the entrance to Grange Farm which once also served as the access to the former Oakwood Grange Colliery.
Robinettes Lane

The lane then loses its footpath at the side of the road and narrows as it continues on its way passing only another solitary property set back on the right, Keepers Cottage.
Holly Lodge

At a little over a mile from Potter's Lock at a bend in the Robinettes Lane a footpath heads off to the right through the fields to Strelley. It was this path I walked when we traced the steps of The Monk's Way but then I were heading in the opposite direction towards Ilkeston. On this walk though I ignored the path and carried on past Holly Lodge to a T-junction.
Across The Fields

Robinettes Lane turns to the right at the junction and continues to Strelley but I took the farm track on the left to Strelley Park Farm. Walking along the track a little way and looking across the fields to the left, the tower of St Mary's Church in Ilkeston was just visible on the skyline in the centre of this picture just to the right of the tree.
Farm Track

There's a slight dip in the farm track as it swings first to the right and then to the left.
From The Dip

From the dip, there's a good view of a wind turbine at Swingate Farm which is on the route I had planned. To the right of the turbine is Spring Wood and the eagle-eyed might spot the top of the water tower at Swingate midway between the turbine and the tree on the left of this picture.
Strelley Park Farm

The farm track continues to Strelley Park Farm where it turns right to Swingate Farm. A footpath to the left leads to Babbington but I turned right towards Swingate. All was going to plan as I continued my walk on tracks and lanes and having avoided muddy fields so far I was on the last leg to my destination. Two miles behind me and another one to go and apart from a few puddles on Mill Lane I had walked on solid ground and tarmac all the way. What could possibly go wrong? Little did I know!
Forward to Part 02

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