Long Horse Bridge – Walk Saturday 8th Sept. 2012

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Brian’s walk on Saturday 8th September 2012 was put on the programme to celebrate the reinstatement of Long Horse Bridge. The bridge was an important link in the canal network as it allowed the boat towing horses to cross the river Trent and enter the Trent and Mersey canal. Originally a wooden bridge, the last reconstruction was a concrete bridge erected by the Trent Navigation Company in 1932 this was demolished by British Waterways in 2003.

The new bridge, costing £1.4M became available for walkers in November 2011 but eventually it will link the Leicestershire and Derbyshire sections of the Midshires Way, at present the bridge is only served by a footpath in Leicestershire.

Waiting for the train to cross our path

Waiting for the train to cross our path

We set out from Castle Donnington on a beautiful warm and sunny day sharing the first path with a group of four taking a half day walk to Hemington and Lockington. Our ways soon parted and our path was muddy having been partly trampled by cattle. One of the group lost a boot trying to extract his foot from the mire which unfortunately was not just mud!

There was some quiet road walking on the route which Brian admits was a challenge to devise. We admired the old canal warehouses in Shardlow then walked along the towpath to Derwentmouth Lock where boats queued to pass through. Derwentmouth Lock is also the end or start of the Derwent Valley Heritage Trail. The other end being Ladybower dam. A walk of thirty five miles I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in industrial heritage.

Brian leads the group over Long Horse Bridge

Brian leads the group over Long Horse Bridge

We had Long Horse Bridge to ourselves and posed for pictures before pressing on along side the Trent and under a bridge which carries two huge pipes transporting water from Ladybower to Leicester. Lunch was taken at Sawley Marina where a cafe offers refreshments if required.

Long Horse Bridge

Long Horse Bridge

The afternoon walk was more adventurous. Brian had already encountered a problem which he had found a way around but we did more exploring on a path he had not been able to locate on his prewalks. Little used but well worth Leicestershire Footpath Association members walking as we aim to protect all Leicestershire paths.

Footpath crossing the railway

Footpath crossing the railway

It was interesting to me that we crossed a well used railway line on the level three times. I suspect this will soon be a distant memory with all rail crossings by under or over bridge or perhaps applications to close the path, we must be vigilant.

Brian ended the walk with with a steep climb that sorted the men from the boys but offered far reaching views to the north over the Trent valley. To our right the city of Nottingham and left Derby.

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An interesting walk, thanks Brian.

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