The Battlefield Line

The delight of the Ashby Canal is not only that the Triumph Factory and Museum nestle on its banks at Hinckley but also, not much further north along the towpath, is the Battlefield Line Railway.  A short stretch of rails that run north from Shenton to Shackerstone via Market Bosworth, more or less parallel with the canal.  To the east and ten minutes walk from Shenton Station is Bosworth Field and its Heritage Centre – The Battle of Bosworth Field (or Battle of Bosworth) was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York that extended across England in the latter half of the 15th century. Fought on 22 August 1485, the battle was won by the Lancastrians. Their leader Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond, by his victory became the first English monarch of the Tudor dynasty. His opponent, Richard III, the last king of the House of York, was killed in the battle. Historians consider Bosworth Field to mark the end of the Plantagenet dynasty, making it a defining moment of English and Welsh history – Wiki – Battle of Bosworth Field.

The day was dark and damp which was entirely in keeping with a steamy outing.  My boyhood was spent hanging around once grand Victorian stations in search of trains and their numbers.  In the immediate post-war period these underfunded filthy cathedrals were a second home – the engines, the rolling stock, the buildings, the drivers and the firemen were all soot-blackened.  Rain, smog and the darkness were their perfect companions. This is what I remember, this is what I search for – judging by the volunteers of a certain age that run the Battlefield Railway, I am not alone:

5542 at Market Bosworth

5542 at Shenton

5542 at Market Bosworth

Paul, the ticket man

5542 at Shackerstone

5542 at Market Bosworth

Ticket Office at Market Bosworth

Waiting Room at Market Bosworth

Ticket Office, Shackerstone

The museum, Shackerstone

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Out and about …

… in Hexham.  It will be September before we start travelling again so the summer months will be based at home: playing golf, putting miles on the motorbikes and keeping up with the endless maintenance tasks that are part and parcel of owning a converted cow byre. This year we are experimenting with changing the colour of the external woodwork, something I may live to regret.

Although we live in the country, almost everything you need is within a few miles drive, in the local towns of Hexham and Corbridge.  Everything else is available on the Internet. The problem is that these last few weeks, Hexham has moved several miles further away.  The main access from north of the Tyne has been severed while essential repairs have been carried out to the railway bridge.  It can be quite pleasant wandering the much less crowded streets but it has done local businesses no favours.  In no particular order, these are some of the images captured around the town over the last week:

Hexham railway bridge...Bridge closure ...The places ...Holy Island House ...Say hello ...Motorcycle ...

To round off, this is the mill at The Linnels, just outside Hexham – it is too easy to pass by familiar places and take them for granted:

The Mill ...

Travel Theme: Through

Last week we walked to a hidden-away place that I had been meaning to visit for some time – it looked interesting on the Ordnance Survey Map (Landranger 87).  In the triangle between Allendale, Ninebanks and High Staward is the intriguingly named Old Town, sited just north of the now abandoned Hexham to Allendale Railway which closed in 1950. There is much evidence of the line’s high embankment whilst the road beneath Old Town descends in a deep cutting underneath a long since collapsed railway bridge.  It was here that the sign in the first picture was encountered – you can get through but definitely not in a van or lorry:

Through

The railway is no more and but for a few farm buildings, so is Old Town – I suspect that is all there ever was.

As with all the best walks, it was largely unplanned and once we had descended the steep lane to the Allen River at Oakpool, we had the joy of an equally steep ascent on the other side.  Turning right after about half a mile we headed towards Hindley Hill, emerged on to the A696 and then cut back across the fields to Bishopside.

Hindley Hill

The weather was a strange mix of very bright sun and dark clouds, the light breaking through every so often to illuminate specially chosen patches of the landscape:

From BishopsideAbove Bishopside(click on images to enlarge)