Nothing quite gladdens my heart like stepping out along a towpath on a sunny day. Canalside people seem to me to be some of the friendliest in the world. I hadn’t planned to walk along the canal at Nottingham, but I had a couple of hours to spare before meeting my daughter for lunch. The canal runs right by her office, and the sparkle of the water had me hooked before I knew it. Added to which, I couldn’t possibly get lost following a towpath! (my sense of direction being notoriously lacking)
There’s something really delightful about being in the heart of the city and yet totally removed from the hurly-burly and the bustle. Come and walk with me, and we’ll leave our cares behind.
It was part of their morning routine to attend to the canal’s wildlife. The young man was happy to chat while he fed the goslings. The dog resisted its strong impulse to give chase.
Nottingham Canal came into being in the 1790s as a means of carrying coal from the mines, which were scattered around the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire borders, into the city. Previously the coal had been hauled overland, or via the Erewash Canal and River Trent. The new canal, which ran for a little under 15 miles, would more than halve both journey and cost. But, with the advent of the railways and the increasing cost of tolls, the canal was no longer viable.
Following privatisation in 1947, almost any local authority who wanted it could have the land, with the result that much of the canal has been filled in and built over. I was oblivious to this as I pursued my stroll along the canal. The downstream section through the city centre, and connecting to the River Trent, remains in use.
The towpath is also part of Nottingham’s Big Track, a 10 mile cycle route which follows the canal from the railway station in Nottingham to Beeston locks, and returns via the Trent riverside path.
I don’t walk far before I’m having more encounters with the wildlife. A coot is a little curious about me, but not sure if he wants to hang around. Smart apartments line the canal at this point, and I’m rather surprised to come upon a heron, nonchalantly preening himself. The young man with the dog catches me up and tells me that this is the heron’s regular haunt, seemingly oblivious to observers.
The canal twists and turns through the city. Around the next bend I find a colourful narrowboat and pause to admire the painted canal ware displayed on deck. A passerby stops to tell me that the boat sells beautiful things. He thinks it must be moving on today as there are usually many more goods to see. The owner pops his head out, and we chat about his next destination.
All manner of boats are tied up along the towpath, or come chugging towards me. I’m looking out for Castle Meadow marina, where I hope I might find some breakfast. As I approach a barman is putting umbrellas up to shade the outdoor tables. When he smiles, I ask if he’s doing coffee. “Not till 11” he says. My face falls because it’s only 10.20am. I hover, looking at the boats, and he takes pity on me. I don’t push my luck and ask for toast, but it’s very pleasant sitting there, at the ‘Water’s Edge’.
You know that I couldn’t resist a wander among the boats before carrying on along the towpath, don’t you? They’re all so colourful and individual. Do you have a favourite?
I carry on, not sure how much further I should go because I have a lunch date. There are some lovely canalside homes and even a boat builder’s yard. Hawthorn tumbles from the trees and I take many more photos.
I turn back reluctantly, not sure how much further I could have followed the canal. If you are interested in the history, this link will tell you a little more. I joined the canal at Trent Road.
I’m sure some of you will have glazed eyes. I just can’t help my fascination with boats, and for me it was a lovely respite from a sometimes stressful world. Time now to put that kettle on and see what everyone else has to share.
As always, if you click on my logo it’ll take you to the Jo’s Monday walk page, where I explain how to join me. Thank you very much to all my contributors for keeping me so well entertained. Your company is priceless.
First up, it’s a little dainty stepping out in the desert with Drake this week :
Tobias enjoys looking for the details :
If you like walking, sometimes you just have to ignore the weather :
Or how about a pretty little village stroll, complete with clogs?
Going from green to blue, with somewhere rather nice to sit :
Does anyone write a better ‘gardens’ post than Jude? I don’t think so!
Let’s travel to Toronto with a newcomer next. Please say hello!
A luscious cacti garden in Arizona next, and Amy’s first humming bird!
Geoff made the very most of a Bank Holiday Monday with…
Not so much a walk as … varoom- varoom! A ride :
Rosemay is ‘under the weather’ in Munich, but what a beautiful city!
And last, and totally fabulous- Gilly has us flirting with death on the cliff tops!
Thank you so much, everyone! Definitely living up to my name this month- next weekend sees me in Norfolk, visiting with Polish family. I hope to schedule a Monday walk, and I’ll be back Monday evening to chat with you. Till then, have a wonderful week!