jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG 31st May 2019

As anyone visiting my Blog previously will know I ain’t no spring chicken no more, but I am still amazed and excited by new discoveries I come across every day. So many incredible things that I did not realise existed.

Ok, I’ve lived a very sheltered life, but I do enjoy these discoveries.

This week I have mainly been discovering Straws Bridge Nature Reserve, Shipley Country Park and the Nutbrook Canal &Trail.


We parked at Straws Bridge, West Hallam. Straws Bridge is located on the border of Ilkeston and West Hallam in the county of Derbyshire. The car park is free and just off the A609. Use DE7 5FG for your satnav.

I‘ve passed this way before, many times on my way to the Bottle Kiln, a superb gift shop and coffee shop, which is worthy of a visit.

I have seen this small car park and just looked on it as a small local dog walkers’ park. But in reality it opens up in to a mega arena of wildlife extravaganza.

The small lake or large pond I think is just named Straw’s Bridge. Locals call it Swan Lake and you can see why with the number of swans that swim it and dance on the banks. But it could just as aptly be called Goose Lake, Duck Lake or Visitor Lake. But Swan Lake suggests more beauty and elegance as they put on a great show which is not quite as expensive as going to the ballet. We even saw one swan sitting, presumably on eggs, on a nest.

We set out on a circular walk from Straws Bridge taking in the Nutbrook Coffee Shop, the Shipley Country Park Visitor Centre, Shipley Lake and The Nutbrook Canal.

One thing we did not see which is on the borders of Shipley Country Park was the old American Adventure Theme Park site. We have fond memories of a birthday celebration in the 1980s for one of our daughters at the American Adventure. It opened in June 1987 but after a life filled with financial turmoil closed on 4 January 2007. I am told the site lies derelict although many plans have been put forward for its use over the years.

Part of the walk we did was along the route of the Nutbrook Trail. This is a 10 mile traffic free track from Long Eaton to Shipley Country Park for walkers and cyclists, which roughly follows the Nutbrook Canal.

The Nutbrook Canal is a canal which ran between Shipley in Derbyshire and the Erewash Canal, joining it near Trowell. It was built to serve the collieries at Shipley and West Hallam, and was completed in 1796. It was initially profitable, but from 1846 faced competition from the railways, and more seriously, subsidence caused by the coal mines that it was built to serve. With the mines failing to pay tolls for goods carried on the canal, and in some cases refusing to accept responsibility for the subsidence, most of it was closed in 1895, although the final 1.5 miles (2.4 km) remained in use until 1949

When built, the canal was 4.5 miles (7.2 km) long, with 13 locks Today’s status: Derelict.

Original owner: Nutbrook Canal Proprietors.  Date started: 1793 – Date completed:  1796, Date closed 1949

Start point: Shipley, End point: Trowell, Connects to Erewash Canal

The costs of construction overran, and were quoted as £22,801 (equivalent to $2,319,500 in 2018).

A coffee shop where we stopped for delicious scones, bacon sandwiches and lattes was also takes its name from the canal, the Nutbrook Coffee Shop. It boasts it was a “Food Awards England Finalist” in 2018 and it so, so deserves it. The sad thing is it only opens Friday, Saturday and Sunday. But it was open when we visited

We moved on to see many more waterways along the way which attract an abundance of water fowl, insects and general wildlife. Such as Shipley Lake. Shipley Lake is an angler’s paradise with a number of anglers camped out around its shores.

I picked up a leaflet all about dragonflies. Apparently dragonflies flock to Derbyshire in general and Shipley Country Park in particular, There are approximately 38 species in Britain around twenty can be found in Derbyshire mid-May until October. But we did not see any, although the weather was good dragonfly weather, beautifully sunny and hot. The leaflet informed me that “Dragonflies mate in a ‘wheel’ position joined head to tail”. I ain’t seen that one in the Kama Sutra.

We headed out beyond Shipley to Heanor, passing through Marlpool.  Marlpool has close family connections for me as my grandma used to live there. Both my grandad and grandma are buried in Marlpool Cemetery, My grandad having been killed in the pit in 1917 three days before my dad was born. My grandma was left to bring up three boys all under the age of four years old.

On our final stretch of the 8 mile walk, as if we had not experienced enough exciting and surprising treats we came across a guy driving a Sinclair C5. Many of you will be so unmoved by that but I could not believe my eyes.

The Sinclair C5 is a small one-person battery electric velomobile, technically an “electrically assisted pedal cycle” introduced in 1985. It was the culmination of Sir Clive Sinclair’s long-running interest in electric vehicles. Although widely described as an “electric car”, Sinclair characterised it as a “vehicle, not a car”.

The C5 became known as “one of the great marketing bombs of postwar British industry” and a “notorious … example of failure”. Despite its commercial failure, the C5 went on to become a cult item for collectors.

On chatting to the guy driving it he said he was a C5 enthusiast, buying them renovating them and selling them. He said the battery gave him a range of about 15 miles.

Our magical mystery tour ended where we began back at Straws Bridge.

So why is it called Straws Bridge?

Straw’s Bridge was a bridge over the Nutbrook Canal on the road from West Hallam to Ilkeston. It was originally known as Moor’s Bridge. After the opening of the canal an overseer’s house was built next to the canal on the right hand side of the road heading towards Ilkeston. In 1844 a man called Samuel Straw was employed as overseer and he moved into the house. From that time the bridge came to be called Straw’s Bridge.

Who would have thought it?


If you are irritated by every rub, how can you be polished? -Rumi




Me: “Doc I can’t stop singing The Green, Green Grass of Home.”

Doctor: “That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome.”

Me:  “Is it common?”

Doctor: “It’s not unusual.”


Love is…finding that special someone you want to annoy for the rest of your life


The Green, Green Grass of Home – Tom Jones

Highest Chart Position: No.1 1st December 1966 for 7 weeks

  1. Green, Green Grass Of Home Tom Jones 3:04


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