Posted by: lensweb | September 27, 2016

LENS Autumn Footprints

Autumn Footprints is a 2 week walking festival organised by Marion Farrell of the Groundwork Trust. 16 people from as far as Matlock and Derby came to visit Long Eaton for the LENS Wildlife Wander. What a glorious day! We followed the usual route looking at trees by the canal, and the beautiful water loving plants, white water lily,  jewel weed, marsh woundwort, hemp agrimony and giant water dock were flowering. The lesser bulrush was also looking very handsome. Hops and ivy trailing along the hawthorn hedge were bursting into flower. Swallows were lined up on the telegraph wire saying it is time to go.


Over the rickety stile onto the footpath through Cranfleet Farm we looked at the strip and furrow made long ago by an oxen plough. As we gazed across the tranquil water of Fletcher’s Pond a sparrowhawk swooped putting up about 50 birds. It sat on a branch, then chased again, the swallows, house martins and goldfinches could not settle and circled round and round. As we turned away a kingfisher screamed and we looked back to see a streak of brilliant blue.

Ferns, hart’stongue, wall rue and maidenhair spleenwort grew in the lime between the blue bricks of the railway tunnel. We negotiated a huge puddle. Following the farm road we tried to name some of the agricultural machinery, a plough, a harrow, a hay tedder, a hay wagon, a muckspreader and that essential item a tractor. Old staddle stones aren’t needed any more but the grinding wheel looks still in use. Is the owl box occupied? Time will tell. The pink pea flowers of spiney rest harrow was still decorating the flood bank as we walked over the grand metal stile to Cranfleet Cut.

In the hedge a walnut tree was reaching up but it is doomed, too close to the overhead wires. Busy with boats, manoeuvring backwards and forward, the river was full of all sorts of water craft with many more narrow boats squeezing through the last lock of the Erewash Canal into the Trent Navigation.1bcz71

Reluctant to waste such a lovely day, after refreshment at the Trent Lock tearooms – where the Measham Pottery and Canalware were much admired, we followed an extension walk alongside the river Trent, over the Harrington Bridge to Tamworth Road. Crossing the river via the road bridge (with great care) we walked back along the flood bund at the back of Sawley Church where there was a mysterious mound.


A bright orange splash on the ripe blackberries could only be a comma, a closer look and there were six of them drunkenly supping the purple juice.


The footpath led through a sheltered green lane in the middle of the Trent Lock Golf Course, through Grounds Farmyard and continued as an open path through another section of the golf course where the driving range is well fenced, although the fence was not high enough for the slice of some of the golfing amateurs whose lime green balls narrowly missed a human hit.

1bczguThe path finished at Lock Lane which we crossed to walk over the narrow canal bridge back to the Erewash Canal towpath where a red admiral was basking.  It was still bright sunshine but now we really did have to say our Goodbyes and make our way home.

Marion Bryce 18 September 2016


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