About this walk

The walk described below starts in Kimberley town centre and finishes in Nottingham city centre and both the start and finish points are well served by a variety of Trent Barton and Your Bus services. The overall route covers just over eight miles of easy walking, along mainly flat ground, firstly along the route of the old Midland and Great Northern Railways, eventually continuing along the River Leen into Nottingham city. There are several pubs, fairly evenly spaced along the route, serving good cask ales. So, you can sample some of the pubs en-route, allowing you to arrive home calorie and carbon neutral and none the worse for wear. The pubs include: the Nelson and Railway, Kimberley; the Royal Oak, Watnall; the William Peverel, Bulwell; the Lion Inn, Basford; and the Gooseberry Bush, Nottingham city centre.
As well as good ale, there are also along the way a number of points of historical interest. These include: the Great Northern the Midland Railways; Hardy & Hansons and Shipstone Breweries; the Magnesian Limestone Ridge; Sankey’s Pottery; the Arboretum and the Forest Recreation Ground; and Nottingham’s General Cemetery. Some background information about these points of interest, and relevant images, are featured in the route description below

The route description

1. From Main Street, in Kimberley town centre, walk down Station Road, past the Sidings on your right, where you can see what remains of the old Great Northern Railway Station. Walk to the bottom of Station Road, past the Nelson and Railway, and turn right onto Hardy Street. The remains of the old brewery and the site of the old Midland Railway Station are off to the left on the opposite side of the road. A hundred yards up Hardy Street, bear right onto Hardy Close. Walk approximately a hundred yards up Hardy Close and then take the footpath that runs parallel to the railway cutting of the old Midland Railway.

The close proximity of the stations of the Midland and  Great Northern Railways in Kimberley, aptly demonstrates the competition and rivalry between the two companys in the 19th and 20th centuries. To begin with, the Midland Railway was able to dominate the transportation of coal and iron ore in the area until, in the 1870s, the Great Northern Railway built its Derbyshire Extension to compete for this lucrative business fuelled by the industrial revolution. The Great Northern station, known as Kimberley East, closed in the 1960s. The Midland station, known as Kimberley West, closed to passenger traffic in 1917 but remained open for goods until 1 January 1951. Two branches from the Midland line serviced the then separate Hanson’s and Hardy’s breweries.

The Hardys & Hansons Kimberley Brewery has a heritage dating from 1832 and it was the oldest independent brewery in Nottinghamshire. In 1930, increasing pressure from larger brewing companies resulted in Kimberley’s two rival breweries – Hanson’s and Hardy’s – amalgamating. In 2006, the brewery and all of its public houses were sold to Greene King. Brewing at Kimberley soon ceased and the whole site was sold to a private developer for housing.

2. The footpath running parallel to the railway cutting of the old Midland Railway leads to a new housing estate at Fairburn Way. At the mini roundabout, at the end of Fairburn Way, turn right and walk to the bottom of Holly Road where it meets the B600, Main Road. Turn right onto Main Road and after three hundred yards cross over the road at the pedestrian crossing. Having crossed onto the opposite side of Main Road you will find the entrance to the Nuthall Multiuser Access Track that follows the line of the old Great Northern Railway. Take the Multiuser Track and in approximately half a mile you will pass under a bridge that carries the M1 motorway. Just before you each the M1 bridge, you will see on the left-hand side of the track exposed sections of the honey-coloured magnesian limestone that forms part of the old railway cutting. Having walked under the M1, carry on the Multiuser Track for another half mile until you reach the A6002, Low Wood Road.

Magnesian limestone is a relatively rare form of magnesium-rich limestone that has a characteristic colour ranging from a pale yellow to a pinkish hue. The limestone outcrops as the Magnesian Limestone Ridge that stretches northwards along the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border, including the caves at Cresswell Craggs, through Yorkshire to County Durham. The limestone ridge was formed 260-285million years ago in the then Zeichstein Sea which spanned as far as modern-day Poland. The stone has been used widely over the last millenium to construct some of our most famous historic buildings, including the cathedrals of York, Beverley and Southwell, the castles at Conisborough, Pontefract, and Bolsover, and more recently the Houses of Parliament (1839-52). In addition to its colour, one of its attractions as a building material is that it is relatively soft and can be easily cut. However, this may explain why some of the stonework of the Houses of parliament is crumbling and is  being replaced. In Nottinghamshire, the limestone, known locally as Bulwell Stone, was quarried extensively at Mansfield Woodhouse and Linby and was used to build much of Victorian Nottingham.

3. Cross over the A6002 to enter Hempshill Lane. A hundred yards down Hempshill Lane, and just before the primary school, take the footpath on the left-hand side of the lane. Follow the footpath, crossing over Springfield Drive, until you reach Meadow Rise. Turn left onto Meadow Rise and on the opposite side of the road take the footpath that leads through the middle of the Northern Cemetery. After three hundred yards, with the main cemetery entrance to your left, continue straight ahead on the footpath with playing fields on the right and a BMX track on the left where once was situated Sankeys pottery. At the end of the footpath, cross over Seller’s Wood Drive and walk through the industrial estate, down Greasley Street, until you reach Lillington Road. Turn left onto Lillington Road and, after a hundred yards, cross over to the other side and walk down the embankment to enter Gilead Street. At the bottom of Gilead Street turn right onto Bulwell High Road. Cross over to the opposite side of Bulwell High Road and turn left onto Pilkington Street at the bottom of which is Bulwell Town Square.

Richard Sankey and Son Ltd was arguably the best known manufacture of earthenware flower pots in the world. It was founded in 1855 by Richard Sankey and was located near Nottingham’s Northern Cemetery close to the original Midland Railway enabling the export of their pottery all over the world. The company made use of local raw materials to produce up to 60,000 hand-made, high quality, clay pots and saucers a day. The range of pots produced was vast, including pots weighing as much as 84lb and, up to 1939, all were produced by hand and stamped with ‘Sankey Bulwell’. By the 1960’s the demand for plastic pots grew and so Sankeys invested in new high speed plastic-molding machinery and by 1976, almost 121 years after the first clay pot was made, the last was produced. In 1980, a devastating factory fire destroyed the building, machinery and stock and in the following year production moved to a new industrial estate, less than a mile away from their original location.

4. Bear left in the town square and walk two hundred yards through the shopping area to the William Peverel Wetherspoon pub on the left. Walking back down through the shopping area, the walk continues by crossing over the town square, bearing right, onto Main Street. Fifty yards down Main Street, on the left, take the footpath by the River Leen, cross over the bridge, and continue along the river path for just over a mile until you reach David Lane tram station in Basford. Cross over David Lane and walk all the way down Lincoln Street to enter Church Street. Carry on down Church Street, bearing left as it meets Basford Road, and then bear left again in front of Leodegarius Church to cross over the Leen and the railway line. At the end of Church Street, bear right and cross over Western Boulevard and walk down Radford Road, passing on your left Isandula Road and other roads whose names commemorate the 19th century Zulu wars.

The Bulwell Wetherspoon pub is named after William Peverel who was granted extensive lands in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire by William the Conquerer in reward for supporting him during the Norman Conquest of England. Peverel is said to have been the illegitimate son of the Conqueror by a Saxon princess Maud Ingelrica, born prior to the king’s marriage to Matilda of Flanders, though this claim remains unsubstantiated. The Domesday Book records Peveril as the holder of 162 manors in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, including Nottingham Castle. He also built Peveril Castle, at Castleton, and Lenton Abbey. William Peverel died in 1114 and his son, known as William Peverel the Younger, succeeded to his estates.

Isandula Road, Zulu Road and Ekowe Street, were named to commemorate the 19th century Zulu wars that included the battle of Isandhlwana (frequently reported at the time as Isandula), the Siege of Eshowe, and the defence of Rorke’s Drift (portrayed in the film ‘Zulu’). Chelmsford Road, Pearson Street, Durnford Street, and Chard Street, are all named after British army officers who fought in the Zulu wars.

5. Past Isandula Road, carry on down Radford Road for a further quarter of a mile, passing the old Shipstones Brewery on the left, until you reach Mosley Street, also on the left. A hundred yards up Mosley Street, on the right, is the Lion Inn. After Mosley Street, carry on along Radford Road for another quarter of a mile until you reach Gregory Boulevard where you will turn left. A hundred yards along the boulevard, cross over the road to the tram stop on Noel Street next to the carpark across from the Forest Recreation Grounds. Walk up the hill, through the Forest Recreation Grounds, walking parallel to the tram line. At the top of the hill, cross over Forest Road East and, at the traffic lights, turn left and walk down Waverley Street, passing Nottingham Highschool on your left, until you reach the entrance to the Arboretum. Walk through the Arboretum to the ornamental lake and aviary, and exit to re-join Waverley Street.

Shipstones Brewery was founded by James Shipstone in 1852 and it remained an independent family business until 1978 when the company was bought by Greenalls. Production at the brewery ended in early 1991 after 139 years. The brewery was known as the ‘Star’ brewery because of the red illuminated star on top of the brewery tower which became a familiar Nottingham landmark. Many of the brewery’s Victorian buildings, including the tower, remain standing and have been put to alternative business uses.

The Nottingham Inclosure Act, 1845, allowed for the enclosure of 1069 acres of open land, the majority of which was to be developed privately to accommodate the growing population of the city. However, what made this inclosure act particularly significant was that 120 acres of the newly freed land was allocated in perpetuity for public use to provide green spaces for relaxation, exercise and clean air. It’s thanks to the Nottingham Inclosure Act, 1845, that the city enjoys one of the most generous allocations of urban open spaces in the country. The Forest Recreation Grounds, and the first public park to be opened in Nottingham, the Arboretum, are two examples of the open spaces that can trace their history back to the Nottingham Inclosure Act, 1845.

6. Having exited the Arboretum onto Waverley Street, turn left and walk up Peel Street for about 100 yards where you will find the Gooseberry Bush on the left. To complete the route, from the Gooseberry Bush, walk back down Peel Street and, at the junction with Waverley Street, cross over the road to the entrance to Nottingham General Cemetery. Walk through the cemetery to the top of the hill where you will find the main entrance that leads onto Canning Circus. There are several pubs in Canning Circus with a range of good cask ales, including the Falcon and the John Borlace Warren. To the right of Canning Circus, at the top of Alfreton Road, is the Organ Grinder.

The Gooseberry Bush Wetherspoon pub is named after the place where babies are said to arrive because it occupies a refurbished building on a site that once housed the specialist maternity unit, Nottingham Women’s Hospital, colloquially known as ‘Peel Street’. The hospital closed in 1981 and the site was partly cleared, with the main building converted into flats, now called Charleston House, in 1982 and in 2011 another building on the site was refurbished and extended and opened as The Gooseberry Bush.

The main entrance to the General Cemetery is flanked by Canning Terrace, off Canning Circus, built as a series of almshouses named after George Canning, who briefly became the British Prime minister in 1827. At a time when it was common for private companies to run cemeteries, the Nottingham General Cemetery Company was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1836. The company purchased 12 acres which, in 1856, was extended to 18 acres thanks to the Nottingham Inclosure Act, 1845. The company maximised its profits by burying people as closely together as possible and, by 1923, over 150 000 people had been buried on the site. Concerns about dangers to public health increasingly restricted burials resulting in the Closed Cemetery status of today.