Draycott & Wilne - Part 07 - Watery Wilne
w/e 03 February 2013
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Draycott & Wilne

In this final part of our look at the villages of Draycott and Wilne we pick up the route at St Chad's Church and continue down the lane to end our walk at the River Derwent but first we'll take a look at St Chad's Water.

St Chad's Water

And basically a look at St Chad's Water was all that was possible on this visit as the melt water from the recent snows had filled the former gravel pit opposite the church to capacity and then some. The path from the small car park adjacent to the Nature Reserve to the usual edge of the water was completely covered and the seats appeared like islands and were only usable by the resident waterfowl.

Notice BoardsPlaque on BoulderNotice boards (left) carry temporary information on one and permanent advice on the other. A plaque on an adjacent boulder reads: "This area of water and surrounds was purchased by the Draycott Parish Council from Tarmac Roadstone (Eastern) Ltd on 18th May 1984 as an open space for the benefit of the residents of Draycott and Church Wilne. The use of this area is subject to the laws of this Parish."
Viewing Platform

On a previous visit to St Chad's Water I was able to walk onto a raised viewing platform at the water's edge to read another information board that gives details about some of the wildlife to be seen in the Nature Reserve but such was the height of the water that it was not possible on this occasion.
Flood Water

We've also visited St Chad's Water both independently (see here for visit in 2004) and as part of a group in the Autumn Footprints Walking Festival when we've been able to follow a path all the way round the lake. Presently the anti clockwise route is not at all visible because of the high water level and although we were able to follow the path in a clockwise direction for a little way, this too soon became submerged.
Wilne Road

So with any further exploration of St Chad's Water thwarted we returned to the church and continued down Wilne Road towards the river.
Wilne Mill

Wilne Road leads directly to a complex that I have always know as the "Fireworks Factory" and at the entrance the road turns at right angles to become Wilne Lane which is where this image was captured from. The complex is centred on the old Wilne Mill which was first mentioned in parish registers in 1613/14 although there was probably a mill here at the time of the Domesday Book. The present building which is approximately twice as big as the mill mostly destroyed by a 1917 fire dates from 1923 but back in 1781 the cotton mill that stood here was one of the earliest water- powered cotton mills in England. The Village Trails leaflet for Draycott and Wilne says that the mill today produces pyrotechnics but my "Fireworks Factory" is actually part of the Chemring Defence Group of companies which according to their website is a "World Leader for the Manufacture of Proven Pyrotechnic and Demolition Store Products".

SignpostUpstreamIn years gone by a ferry operated close to the mill but now a little further along Wilne Lane a signpost points to a path (left) where a footbridge crosses the river. The mill site is visible from the bridge (right) and records from 1280 show that the Bishop of Chester owned weirs here. The river was famous for eels that were caught between the sluice, made from old mill stones, and a specially shaped trap.
River Derwent

Downstream from the bridge the Derwent continues its meandering way for another couple of bends when it flows into the River Trent.
Submerged Path

After crossing the bridge a footpath crosses the fields to the few properties that form the hamlet of Great Wilne which can be accessed by road from Shardlow. Although the line of the path was visible in part as it crossed the field, the flood water made it impractical to progress any further and brings to a close our Village Trail around Draycott and Wilne.
Back to Part 06

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