Ken Brockway, Footpath Inspector
This article is from Signpost 67, Spring 2021
Erewash Borough in Derbyshire is a well populated place with a mixed history of engineering, furniture making and lacemaking. The parishes of Long Eaton and Sawley blend into one, as do many others here. Seventy five paths, many are urban snickets used by residents as short cuts which have the advantage of avoiding busy roads. Unfortunately most have barriers to perhaps prevent motorised use but they also obstruct pushchairs and those who use mobility scooters and wheelchairs. Reports have been made for the removal of these barriers but the reply is always, when funds permit.
Derbyshire ends at these parish boundaries, abutted by Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire but there are no linking paths across the wide River Trent. The pleasant river side paths draw the crowds along with two Inns at the ever popular Trent Lock (SK 49092 31124) which is the river lock of the Erewash canal. The canal towpath, Sawley FP20 is a multi user path busy with cyclists.
The parishes are well served or perhaps blighted by rail lines. Only one station remains. Once known as Sawley Junction on the Nottingham to Derby line it was hijacked and renamed Long Eaton. A third station, now completely vanished was Trent. It served no community but had a thriving refreshment room as passengers waited for their connecting train. Network Rail are attempting to remove all 'on the level' pedestrian crossings but one remains here on FP7 (SK 50313 33067) across the very busy Midland Main line. If HS2 comes to pass it will pass here over the top of Long Eaton FP12 so we make the most of the peaceful walk along Cranfleet Cut before more trains arrive on their way to Toton, Sheffield and Leeds.
Many of the paths here have been diverted to allow for gravel extraction but the exhausted water filled holes offer tranquil locations for nature to take over. There are oddity paths which record long gone river ferries. Derbyshire record the crossing points with a public footpath to the centre of the river, Long Eaton FP30 and Sawley FP18.
Lost ways research revealed an interesting story for LE FP59 (SK 49833 34167). This lies close to the River Erewash which forms the eastern parish boundary. Until a boundary swap in 1992 fourteen houses built in the 1920s on the bend of a quiet suburban street in Long Eaton were actually in Nottinghamshire along with the said footpath.
So if you like waterside walks these parishes should be on your bucket list of must do walks. And I can recommend an end of walk pint of Sawley Brewery bitter in the White Lion (SK 47252 31469) but if it's busy on a summer evening you might find FP11 obstructed through the outside seating.
This article is part of a series of Parish Notes which will be published both on the website and in future editions of the newsletter. Any readers who would like to contribute are encouraged to contact Mel Bale at email@example.com
All previous Parish Notes can now be viewed on the website at pnfs.org.uk/parishnotes
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