The Big Track Your Guide To Nottingham’s Waterside Car .

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The Big TrackYour guide toNottingham’swaterside carfree route

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Welcome toThe Big TrackTen miles of pure walkingand cycling pleasure You can use the Big Track to getaround the city on foot or by bike.It goes all the way from TrentBridge to Beeston Lock, with thecity centre in between, so youcan pop up at all sorts of places,like the football clubs and cricketground, the Broadmarsh Centre,Nottingham Train Station orCastle Marina.If you want to de-stress - or maybelose a few pesky pounds - The BigTrack runs past loads of workplacesand is a great way of getting to theoffice. Or if you just fancy a saunterfor a pint or a cuppa, you’re definitelyon the right track. The Big Trackbrings some big benefits - makinggetting fit and feeling good reallysimple - and, like the best things inlife, it’s free.But beware - the Big Track might notjust change the way you get around -it could also change your life!The Big Track will help you unwindand go with the flow. You might alsostart to appreciate the little things inlife - like spotting a heron, chattingto a walker or just enjoying the greatoutdoors.If you’ve used the Big Track before,there have been some improvementsto the track itself - see page 30 fordetails of what’s new. We’ve tried tomake the map easy to use, with exitand entrance points marked on themain and smaller maps, along withlinks to the National Cycle Network’sRoute 6.However you use the Big Track - forgetting to work, to the shops, or justfor a leisurely weekend stroll - you’llbe making the most of what’s on yourdoorstep, getting some exercise anddoing your bit for the environment byleaving the car at home.So what are you waiting for?www.thebigwheel.org.uk3

Your body,Your transport systemYou’re in charge of the world’sbest transport system - your body.It doesn’t cost anything to get youfrom A to B and the more you useit, the better it will be.dramatically lower your chancesof heart disease, diabetes and someforms of cancer. And it’s good for yourbrain too, as exercise reduces stressand gives you more energy.We all look and feel better when we’removing a bit of muscle. The heartis the most important muscle in thehuman body and it needs exerciseso that it can pump blood effectivelywith each beat. Around a third ofpeople say they would walk more ifthere were better facilities - and theydon’t come much better than this.With 7 out of 10 of us not gettingenough exercise and nearly half of usoverweight the Big Track offers theperfect solution - a ten mile watersidegym right on your doorstep!There are other ways that the BigTrack could tip the scales in yourfavour. If you’re 60kg, or 9 ½ stones,a brisk 30 minute walk burns up 150calories and if you’re heavier you useup even more.Cycling gets through lots of caloriesand if you’re worried that the air nearroads may be a little stale - don’t be.Car drivers breathe in far more trafficfumes than walkers or cyclists - sothere’s even more reason to get outand about and enjoy the fresh air.Believe it or not, a quarter of all ourtrips are one mile or less, which formost people can easily be coveredon foot. In addition, three quartersof all personal journeys are less thanfive miles - just half an hour by bike.Those thirty minutes could hardlybe better spent. Just half an hour’sexercise, five times a week, canwww.thebigwheel.org.uk5

The Big Track time tripthe history of the Trent ValleyWritten by local historian Chris MatthewsPeople have always used waterto find their way, by boat, onhorseback or by foot. The Big Trackfollows some forgotten routesalong the Trent Valley that tracemuch of Nottingham’s history.The Big Track is a trip through timeas well as space. If you start by thecanal you can imagine the coal beinghauled from boats at Castle Wharf tofuel the swelling town as the IndustrialRevolution started. Bleach works,leather tanners and lace factorieswere built here, all feeding off thewater in Tinker’s Leen. The canal alsoborders the Meadows and Eastcroftareas - agricultural names for pasturelands where animals used to graze.This pastoral scene became anindustrial landscape after the MidlandCounties railway cut through it in 1839.To the south you can still see theremains of the medieval HethbethBridge - low, narrow and no doubtterrifying to cross when the riverran high. Along the Embankmentyou enter the later years of QueenVictoria’s reign when prosperitybrought new pleasures for the middleclasses who built wide promenadesfor summer strolling - perfect forladies holding parasols!Further west, tall reeds and shallowpools remind us of how the Meadowswould once have looked. There aremore macabre reminders of theriver’s power, too. Within St Wilfred’schurchyard there is an 18th centurymortuary, used for bodies washed upby the Trent’s fearsome currents.Following the river, as invaders oncedid, you reach a Saxon landscape.Around 730 AD a Germanic tribesailed down the Trent and settled ona high place they called Clifton, orCliff Farm.As you turn back towardsNottingham along the canal, localindustry becomes global in the20th century with internationalmodernist architecture at Boots andnearby Players. Coming back to theCastle the canal flows with you - awatercourse which has long servedthe needs of humans, it was divertedfrom Lenton by William the Conquerorto defend, equip and drive the mills ofhis forbidding cliff top fortress.www.thebigwheel.org.uk7

1Nottingham canal wharfs,warehouses & Tinkers LeenStarted in 1796, the canal was builtto link Nottingham to the coal minesof the Erewash valley to the north andthe markets of Grantham to the south.The warehouse of carriers Fellows,Morton and Clayton, now a pub (seeWaterfront bars), still has a crane forlifting goods from the boats.Heading south along London Road, theformer lace factory, Hicking Ltd, is nowan apartment block. Turneys Quay,just before Trent Bridge, has beenturned into apartments too. It was ahuge leather dressing works that youcould get to by canal, river and road,although only the roadside building stillsurvives. You can see the oldest bridgeon the canal next to Iremonger Road.Fellows Morton & Clayton canal carriers depot,now the Canal House pub“At its time the canal provided a greatoutlet for the colliery owners. When therailways came they saw an opportunityand that’s why they came to the samepoint in Nottingham as the canal”Andy Smart,Bygones Editor

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2Trent Bridge &Hethbeth BridgeThe word Trent is an old English wordfor trespasser, here meaning a riverthat often flooded its banks andchanged course. Hethbeth Bridge wasthe medieval causeway. From theremnant that survives you can seehow low and near the powerfulcurrents it must have been. It had ahistory of collapsing too - which can’thave been reassuring for the kings,queens and their followers who edgedacross it on horseback or in carriages.Today’s bridge was built in 1877 bythe Nottingham Corporation. Between1924 and 1926 its width was doubledto cope with the growth in traffic.Medieval Hethbeth BridgeVictorian Trent Bridge“There didn’t used to be a midlands in theMiddle Ages, England was divided into“The Royal Forests South of the Trent”and “The Royal Forests Northof the Trent”.Adrian WoodhouseHistorian

CntyRd011NottsCounty F. C.TrentNavigationneLaayws Wc analNott’madn RoL ond oouA6MeadoC a tt l e Mar k etRd)pathtlinot(foidentsTreTENTRRaddeR520Trent BridgeInnNotts CountyCricket s st F. C.TrentBridgorough neysQuaykMPi Her ore lmpo enteadowTheGlobeFollowing the construction of a new bridge you can now follow the canal right down to the river and directly access VictoriaEmbankment. When travelling in the other direction along the River, continue under Trent Bridge, carry along next to the Riverwhere you will be able to cross the canal and continue towards the City Centre along the canal.www.thebigwheel.org.uk11

3Victoria Embankment,Parks & GardensNottingham has a long history ofenjoying itself. And the riverbank haslong been an area for fun and games.In the Middle Ages it was reputed tobe one of the best open spaces inEngland. In the eighteenth centurylocals played football, early morningcricket and raced each other onShrove Tuesday. By the end of the19th century sport had becomeregularised. Nottingham’s biggestsports clubs - Forest, County andNottinghamshire County Cricket Club,as well as the rowing clubs, are stillnearby, which means that Nottinghampeople continue to come down to theriver for their recreation.In 1901 the Victoria Embankmentprovided a setting for moreamusement. The boat clubs, treelined roads, war memorial, gardensand suspension bridge are all idealfor promenading - seeing and beingseen. The park west of Wilford Grovewas bought by the NottinghamCorporation with money raised fromthe sale of land for the new MidlandStation.The suspension bridge, originally built in 1906 to carry waterto Wilford Hill Reservoir.“The Captain of NottinghamshireCounty Cricket Club was William Clarke,landlord of the Bell Inn. He married thelady who kept the Trent Bridge Inn in1837. He then created a fence around thefield at the back of the pub and started acricket ground.”Peter Wynn Thomas, NottinghamCounty Cricket Club Head LibrarianThe war memorial and gardens.

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4Wilford Toll Bridge& The Ferry InnThe bridge was built by the Cliftonfamily in 1870 to pay off their debts.Before that a chain ferry was hauledacross the river, carrying goods,animals and people to the meadows,as the seventeenth century FerryInn reminds us. Queen’s Walk in theMeadows, which goes from the TollBridge to Nottingham, is a Victorianpromenade designed as a recreationwalkway for the working class.The Ferry Inn“Big Track is an ideal route to watchwildlife, there’s always something tosee. Look out for swans, salmon andGreat crested grebe diving for fish.”Erin McDaidNottinghamshire Wildlife TrustRight: Statue of Sir Robert Clifton - Strandmagazine called this, “the worst pair ofsculptured trousers in England.”There is a statue of Sir Robert Clifton,a popular Liberal MP during thenineteenth century when Nottinghamwas famous throughout England forits riotous and radical politics, in thedays before the private ballot.

From the bridge you can cut across the Big Track using Birdcage Walk which will bring you out by Games Workshop nearto the canal, creating a shorter five mile circuit in either direction.vdle BlCastLentA6005onLaNG2neGamesWorkshopodWayMeadows WayQueens DrB i rdcagewRivalker Le enClif ts DrTottle RoadE l e c t r i c Av elvdon BQueenWayin RMaTottle RoadNorthernFoodsivideHodRDunkirkserbinTollB ri d geRoWilford VillageCoro nationFerryAv eInnVer nonAveWhen travelling along Queens Drive away from the Embankment, look out for the ramp to take you back down to the river.NorthernFoodswww.thebigwheel.org.ukr15

5St Wilfrid’s Church& Wilford GazeboBeneath the shadow of the medievalchurch of St Wilfrid’s are magnificentcarved slate headstones and an 18thcentury gazebo. This curious structurewas built to enjoy views of the Trent.Its ground floor was also used as amortuary for bodies washed up bythe river. Wilford’s tall grass, poolsof water and flat, marshy landscaperemind us of how the Meadowswould have looked before the