Jacksdale & Westwood - Part 01 - Wharf Green
w/e 11 July 2010
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490
Jacksdale & Westwood title panel

Jacksdale and Westwood are two inter-linked villages in the Ashfield District of Nottinghamshire but lie alongside the River Erewash right on the border with Derbyshire. They are former mining villages typical of the area and like so many others, on first appearance, have struggled to recover from the closing of the pits. For this series I am again using a leaflet picked up somewhere (I don't remember where) that includes a number of maps with a numbered list of of sites within the villages. Little information is given about each of the sites so this will be as much of mission of discovery for me as it is for you. We both have the benefit though of the Jacksdale & Westwood Community web site which soon dispels those first impressions and shows that although the major source of employment has disappeared, the community spirit is as strong as ever.

Main Road

Community CentreTo Wharf GreenWe arrived in Jacksdale along Main Road which is shown on the leaflet as being the main shopping centre with numerous small retail businesses essential for village life plus a Post Office, a dentist and a doctor. We parked on the free car park at the Community Centre (left) - evidence again of a close-knit community - and took a footpath (right) to the area marked as Wharf Green.
Wharf Green

An arched structure over the path leaves the visitor in no doubt about the area which was once part of an industrialised landscape that featured a canal basin with a railway station, viaduct and a row of cottages built in 1812 by the Butterley Company. The cottages, the first row of terraced houses in Jacksdale, were demolished in 1968, the wharf being filled in sometime during the 1950s but the area now developed as Wharf Green took shape during 2004 and 2005.
Giant Sculptures

Local schoolchildren were involved in designing the area along with the professionals and some also worked with sculptor Andrew Frost to create several wooden animals including a giant ant.
Into Derbyshire

This path from Wharf Green leads to a footbridge over the River Erewash and I found a note on a map in the leaflet saying "Footpath into Derbyshire" quite amusing as the bold type seemed to indicate it would be a journey into the world outside and the great unknown.

A corner of the area has been given over to a couple of paddocks where ponies and goats live side by side.
Skate Park

Another feature of the design is a skate park and although deserted whilst we were there, it appears to be well used. This path by the skate park continues to the trees at the southern end of the site which is where the Jacksdale Nature Reserve has been created.
Beyond The River

The path continues through the trees but an occasional gap offers views across the River Erewash and the disused Cromford Canal into that "great unknown" of Derbyshire beyond.
Nature Reserve

GrasslandThe Nature Reserve is bounded by trees and bushes but the majority in the centre is given over to grassland (left) created on the site of an old domestic refuse tip in 1974. The grassland has a lot of moisture-loving plants as it tends to become waterlogged during the winter months but at this time of year it is inhabited by several species of butterfly. They were flitting around us all the while we were in the Nature Reserve but proved extremely difficult to photograph and despite all attempts I only managed to capture the grasses and wild flowers (above) upon which they were feeding. Species of butterfly commonly Recreation Groundseen are meadow brown, common blue, comma, small tortoiseshell and peacock plus the burnet moth.

It is not unusual to see kestrels and skylarks overhead and a flash of colour near the river could well be a kingfisher. But pressing on the path out of the Nature Reserve (right) led us back to the recreation ground on Wharf Green, past the toddler's play area and back to the Community Hall car park. It is from there that we will resume in Part 02.
Forward to Part 02

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