Friday, 8 February 2019

Aldercar Flash Nature Reserve

With time to pass one morning, I've been out walking again back 'home'. This time down the hill leading to what is now Aldercar Flash nature reserve, run by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

When I was young, a disused railway line and canal ran alongside the Erewash river (there's still one railway line running up the valley), but then (as I've mentioned before) the area was outcropped and a lot changed.

 I remember walks alongside the canal, and farmland on either side, but at some point the valley flooded and now wetland nature reserves lie alongside the river; Aldercar Flash under Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, and Erewash Meadows belonging to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

This particular morning the wetlands were frozen, and we didn't leave the country lane that runs alongside the reserve.

Looking upstream (right) and down (below) from the bridge over the Erewash. I remember a wider river with steeper banks, but how much is due to change caused by outcropping, and how much due to childish distortion, I don't know.

One thing hasn't changed - the walk back up the hill. It's steeper than it looks here, getting even steeper at the top, and to my younger legs it always seemed an impossible mountain to climb.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Back 'Home'

 It seems odd that you could grow up in, and regularly visit, a place but actually have forgotten what it's like beyond the small area that you visit, but this seems to have happened to me.

The house I grew up in sits in a Nottinghamshire mining village, which sprawls alongside an 'A' road. A no-through road leads to the heart of the old village - tightly lined with a mix of new and new housing, a pub, farmhouse, barns and vicarage which have been converted to houses, and the one remaining pub.

We usually drive as far as my family home and stop. We've no one else to visit further down the road so there's no need to carry on. Last week, having some time to kill, we took the dog and walked down the road, past the last straggling houses to open countryside. I'd almost forgotten it was there - and unlike other places around the village, it seemed unchanged.

There's another farm with barns and outbuildings turned into houses, but beyond it the fields spread out as they (almost) always have. 'Almost' is because for several years some of them were 'opencast' by the coal board, and a lot of 'wrinkles' in the land smoothed out when the area was restored to fields.

In the days when children were allowed to roam quite freely, this is where I played with friends - climbing trees and building dens - and yet I'd forgotten how rural and peaceful it is.
I must make the effort to visit more over the summer.