This is a most enjoyable walk, which first takes you along the Trent and Mersey Canal, busy with boats at the weekends and during the summer, before visiting the pretty village of Findern. The final stretch of the walk returns to the canal bank for a short stroll back to Willington Marina.
James Brindley from Derbyshire, who could not read or write, but had a brilliant brain, was the engineer responsible for the building of the Trent and Mersey Canal. He died before he could complete the final piece in his canal network that revolutionised trade in the country. Hugh Henshall, his brother-in-law, completed the work. A milestone marks every mile along the route to Preston Brook.
There are two areas of woodland along the canal bank, where paths have been laid to enable visitors to walk round and enjoy the wildlife. The walk also takes you past the site of Stanhope Wood Community Woodland, where the first tree was planted on 18 November 2003. The planting of the wood was completed by the Findern Footpaths Group, other villagers and the National Probation Service during that month.
The Findern Village Green forms the centrepiece of the village, on which an impressive looking village sign was erected to commemorate the Millennium, and more recently a village map has been added.
Length: 4.25 miles. Note: The bridge (Point 2 Below) is closed following an accident and no date has been given for its reopening. Walkers might like to extend their walk about a quarter of a mile further to Stenson Lock and then return along the canal bank to Willington, perhaps visiting Mercia Marina on their return.
Start/Finish: Car Park overlooking the canal, on the Twyford Road, between Willington Railway Station and the bridge.
Location: Off the A38, on the A5132 road to Swarkestone.
Terrain: A level walk, with more than half taken up along the banks of the Trent and Mersey Canal. After leaving the canal you walk along quiet paths and a lane to Findern, returning to the canal along good footpaths.
1. Turn right out of the car park along the bank of the Trent and Mersey Canal, and continue for about two miles, passing under the road bridge leading to Findern.
2. After going under a railway bridge, with an open field and a path on the opposite side, cross Canal Bridge Number 20 (the number is to be found on the eastern side of the bridge). Bridge closed following an accident.
3. Turn left immediately you are over the bridge, and walk back in the same direction along a clear path by the side of the canal.
4. After a short distance turn right by a wooden seat and walk away from the canal, along a path, past a conservation area.
5. Continue straight ahead, passing a Stanhope Wood Information Board, to ascend two short flights of steps, at the top of which you turn left, along a wide access track.
6. Soon you go right through a wide tunnel, under the A50 and then after a few yards, turn left at a ‘T’ junction of tracks.
7. Follow the track, the quality of the surface improving the nearer you get to Findern. After passing a cemetery on your left, continue ahead aiming to the left of the church.
8. Walk up the road in front of the churchyard, to reach Findern Village Green, where you turn left to join the Main Street.
9. Immediately after passing The Wheel Public House, turn left down Heath Lane, and continue along the pavement to cross the bridge over the A50.
10. Once over the bridge take the footpath on the left, which takes you past a recreation field, before bending further to the right to re-join Heath Lane.
11. Walk down the lane past a row of houses to reach the Nadee, Indian Restaurant; the site was previously occupied by the Greyhound Public House.
12. Do not cross the road bridge, but keep close to the restaurant and go over the canal bridge. Turn right along the canal bank, which you came along at the beginning of the walk; this will take you back to Willington.
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PLACES OF SPECIAL INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Coors Visitor Centre (Tel. 01283 511000) formerly the Bass Museum of Brewing, including the Coors Shire Horses. There are excellent restaurant facilities. Café facilities are also available. Open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
Sharpe’s Pottery Visitor Centre (Tel. 01283 222600) the exhibits tell the story of the South Derbyshire Pottery industry from the 16th to the 21st century. The centre is equipped with interactive technology, a Coffee Shop, Conference suite and range of goods for sale. Open Monday to Saturday throughout the year.
Calke Abbey and Grounds (Tel. 01332 863822) ‘The place where time stood still,’ was the phrase used to describe this property when The National Trust opened it to the public in 1989. One of the most unusual of English country houses with large collections of birds, ornaments, paintings and photographs. Please telephone for details or visit website.
The Green Dragon (Tel. 01283 702327) is a pleasant canal side pub, situated close to Willington Marina. Food served all day during the week and at lunchtime and in the evenings at the weekends. Large Beer Garden.
Brook Farm Tea Rooms (Tel 01283 704438) housed in an attractive old barn next to Brook Farm at Repton. There is seating both inside and out with a brook side location. A wide range of hot and cold food is available all year apart from two weeks over Christmas.
THE DISCOVER DERBYSHIRE AND THE PEAK DISTRICT GUIDE
Provides a wide range of features with heritage trails and detailed countryside walks, through some of the most scenically attractive countryside in the UK.
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Situated midway between Derby and Burton, close to the A38 and new A50, it is hardly surprising that Willington is normally busy with traffic. It has been the hub of transport for many years.
Evidence has been found of habitation in the area long before the Transport Revolution. In 1970, traces of a settlement were found dating back to 2,000 BC, constructed by the Beaker People, who are named after their distinctive drinking vessels.
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