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Archive for May, 2010

Local nature reserves can be a great place to go for a relaxed stroll – especially as many have well-graded paths, making them more accessible to people. The subject of this blog is one such nature reserve – Collier’s Wood, very close to Eastwood in Broxtowe borough.

Moorgreen Colliery

Collier’s Wood sits on the site of the former Moorgreen Colliery. The contrast between the old pit landscape and the regenerated field landscape could hardly be greater. The great steel winding wheels are used to mark the site’s entrance, and a lonely coal-waggon sits in the park. But without these the untrained eye would struggle to recognise the echos of the colliery in the area. Even local people now miss the scars across the field marking out where the old pit railways once ran. The colliery operated 1865, closing over a century later in 1985 when the seams were run dry. DH Lawrence often used the pit as  inspiration (positive or negative, depending on his mood) in his works. In Women in Love for example Lawrence described the modernisation of collieries in the early 1900s and the unrest it caused. Though Moorgreen was never named, it was obvious to anyone who knew the area which colliery the book described. Lawrence often used people and places from his own life by simply changing their names, a trait which earned his the ire of people and whole towns! Gerald Crich, the ‘industrial magnate’ of Women in Love was a very thinly-veiled portrait for example of Thomas Barber, of Barber, Walker & Co – the company who operated many local pits, including Moorgreen. The Barbers reacted angrily to Lawrence’s use of them in his books – especially the use of family tragedys.

Becoming Collier’s Wood

Although the pit closed in 1985, it wasn’t until the 1990s that a positive new vision for the area started to become a reality. The area was completly relandscaped between 1996-97, with the new nature reserve opening in 1998. There are various small copses and wood in the reserve now, although after only ten years they are still finding their way towards maturity. A wide variety of trees have been planted, with the aim of replicating more natural woodland from the local area. These include Sessile Oak, Birch and Alder. Other species such as Hazel, Rowan, Willow and Scots Pine, have been planted too, with the intention of encouraging Hawthorn, Geulder Rose, Dog Rose and Holly to thrive. The wide variety of plants along with the large pond (apparently just large enough for a swan to use as a runway!) also encourage a variety of birds and other animals to live in the reserve.

Walks around Collier’s Wood

There are two short walks that stick within Collier’s Wood and the old Moorgreen Colliery site. There are two very large kissing gates, and this along with the excellent paths makes the park and these walks open to people with pushchairs or wheelchairs. These walks are quite short however – but luckily Collier’s Wood makes  a great base for several longer walks. We have drawn up a route which takes you across the fields to the parish of Greasley (see the downloadable route or the map below). You could also try the woods around Moorgreen Reservoir, or the views from the fields around Coneygrey Farm.

Short walks around Collier’s Wood

Colliers Wood & Moorgreen Walk (see here for a route with an Ordnance Survey map)

Collier’s Wood and High Park Woods –  (from the AA website)

Links

These sites are a great source of more information on Collier’s Wood –

Friends Of Collier’s Wood – loads of information on the reserve, events and the wildlife habitats

Moorgreen Colliery on Healy Hero – good site giving details of the history of many pits, local and further afield. The picture of Moorgreen Colliery above is from this site.

Broxtowe Council – Broxtowe own Collier’s Wood

Birds in Collier’s Wood – about our feathered friend in the area

Margaret Thatcher Archive – read and either adore or detest, according to personal preferrence

Into The Breach – a local website

The Modernism Lab – discusses the characters and places in Women in Love

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Nottinghamshire Hospice first organised a Memory Walk in 2009 – and is running one again this July, starting from Nottingham Forest Football Club’s ground.

Nottinghamshire Hospice exists to help people suffering with life limiting illnesses, and also gives help and support to carers and families. A large amount of the hospices funding comes from donations – which makes this walk a great way to support the centre. The entry fee is £12.50 (or £7.50 for children), which goes towards supporting the hospice’s work.

This year the Memory Walk will start earlier in the evening (9pm), and will have a Moonlight theme. All participants are encouraged to get the glitter out and glam themselves up a bit! The initiative has been called a Memory Walk as it encourages people to remember those close to them who have suffered from illness and disability. The organisers are keen to hear your stories about who you are remembering, and why their experiences have encouraged you to take part. You don’t need to be remembering anyone in particular however – all entries will benefit the hospice.

To find more details of how to enter and the route visit the Nottinghamshire Hospice Memory Walk website

Memory Walks are becoming a popular tag for a new type of charity fundraising event. The first organisation to promote them was the Alzhiemer’s Society, who use the memory theme as a way of encouraging awareness of dementia. We’ll try and include all the Alzhiemer’s Society’s walks on the blog too (keep an eye on the Alzhiemer’s Society Memory Walk website too).

If you are promoting a charity walk please let us know, and we’ll include you on this blog.

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