Sunday, 19 May 2013

A watery walk for those in search of healthy retail therapy

This is one of my favourite walks, probably because the bus links are so good and there is a choice of places to stop along the way for a drink and eats if I am so inclined.  I walk from Lenton, where I live, but you could just as easily begin at Nottingham Railway Station or the Broadmarsh Bus Station.

The map shows linking bus routes. To and from Beeston Marina, you need to use Trent-Barton bus routes 18 (Monday–Saturday every 30 minutes) and 20 (Sunday every hour), which run from the Broadmarsh Bus station via Friar Lane, Derby Road and QMC, to Beeston Rylands, then Beeston Bus Station and onto Bramcote and Stapleford). For other points, use either the Trent-Barton Indigo or SkyLInk services, which run every 10–15 minutes daily and link up at at a number of points along the way.

I usually start at the new canal and cycle bridge by Castle Marina in Lenton,

and pass under Gregory Street, which gives this great view of the Nottingham Canal from its bridge in Old Lenton, looking south-west towards Beeston.

The only remaining boatyard on the canal in Lenton.

This unimposing wall of steel shuttering marks the point in Old Lenton where the Nottingham Canal used to turn north and head towards, Wollaton, Awsworth, Eastwood and Langley Mill, where it ended at its junction with the Erewash and Cromford canals. From this point on what remains of the canal is actually the Beeston Canal. The line of the old canal is now used for the River Leen as far as the Derby Road.

Runners on the towpath, having just passed under the old Chain Lane canal bridge in Dunkirk. Two hundred years ago this would have been deep in the middle of country side. Later, Dunkirk Farm would beginning appearing on maps and, by the end of the nineteenth century, had moved half-a-mile north-east and given its name the new community of Dunkirk, which was being established south-west of Lenton.

Along the south side of the canal, for a good mile, your view is blocked by a high flood wall, which is decorated along its length with brick and tile works of art based on designs drwan by local school children.

On reaching Beeston Lock and Marina, you come to the western end of the canal, at the point where it joins the River Trent, and you can linger awhile if you wish in the Marina café...

...before continuing your walk towards Attenborough and the Chilwell Retail Park alongside the River Trent.

There is good riverside signage and plenty of opportunities to turn away from the Trent and head towards the Attenborough Nature Reserve Visitor Centre, which has an excellent café and is where we like to stop and rest.

As walks go, it's one of the best, especially if you like retail parks and shopping. The Carrington Street canal bridge by Nottingham Railway Station is within sight of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre, then you walk past the Castle Marina Retail Park in Lenton and half-a-mile on from the Attenborough Nature Reserve is the Chilwell Retail Park. What more could any health shopper want, especially when, all three are no more than a few yards from a Trent-Barton SkyLink bus.

Canals are really great for urban walking, as I hope this post shows.

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