Travel Review of the Year 2019 Part One – January to March

At the beginning of 2019, I decided that I needed to visit more railway stations, and generally travel more and see more of the area where I live. I also decided to start a blog where I would write about where I have been, what I have seen and share some pictures. I didn’t have a proper plan of places to visit until around the end of February, when I decided I wanted to visit all 76 stations in the East Midlands Ranger Area.

This post is just a look back at where I have been this year, and also a look forward to future adventures in 2020.

February 13th 2019 – Bournville

While idly looking at Google Maps to find places to go, I thought that Bournville near Birmingham was an ideal place to visit. It looked quite nice from the map.

I took the train from Burton on Trent to University station, which is located to the south of Birmingham and serves the nearby University of Birmingham and Queen Elizabeth hospital. It is also one of the busiest railway stations in the West Midlands, with a staggering 3.5 million passengers served in 2017-18. There’s not much at the station, just two platforms with frequent trains in both directions. I changed there for Bournville station, just two stops down the line.

Bournville station is next to the Worcester and Birmingham canal, and also the Cadbury factory. This is reflected in the fact that part of the station is painted purple (the Cadbury corporate colour) and has signs advertising Cadbury World, where I went in 1996 on a school trip and ate far too much chocolate. Bournville station opened in 1876, three years before the chocolate factory nearby.

I didn’t do much in Bournville, as it was cold and I didn’t really feel like doing much. I bought a sandwich at the Co-op in nearby Stirchley and had a walk around there. I sat in a park, Hazelwell Park, and ate my sandwich. I had a bit of a walk around the outside of the Cadbury factory, and then got the next train home, via University station.

February 28th 2019 – Cromford, Derbyshire

My first visit to Cromford in February was the subject of an earlier blog post that I made. To summarise, I had a look around the Cromford Mill, the world’s first water-powered cotton mill which has been partly restored and opened as a visitor attraction, with shops and an on-site cafe. It’s well worth a visit.

I also took in the views of the Derbyshire countryside, although it was a dreary and cloudy day, so it didn’t look all that great. I vowed that I would return later in the year.

March 29th 2019 – Tutbury, Hatton and Uttoxeter

By this time, I had formulated my ongoing challenge to visit all 76 railway stations in the East Midlands Ranger Area. To explain this, there is a ticket available to buy which covers 76 stations in the East Midlands (with some in the West Midlands), and I plan to visit all of them. Some are more easy to get to than others (Polesworth, for example, has one train per day at 6:51am at the time of writing).

Two of the stations on the list were quite local to me in Burton upon Trent. I had been to both of them before, but never by train, so I decided to right that wrong on a sunny spring day.

My plan was to get my ticket from Burton station (Tutbury & Hatton station has no ticket facilities), walk to Tutbury, catch the train from the station to Uttoxeter, and then get the bus from Uttoxeter to home.

It takes about an hour and a half to walk from my home to Tutbury, but it’s a pleasant walk, especially in the sunshine. I eventually arrived at Tutbury, looking down the road at the old village centre with the famous Tutbury Castle in the background. That’s on the list of places I need to have a proper look around one day. I made my way through the village towards the adjoining village of Hatton, over the border in Derbyshire, where I reached the railway station.

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Tutbury & Hatton Station, with Nestle’s Tutbury factory (which is not technically in Tutbury) in the background.

The original Tutbury & Hatton station first opened in 1848. It was the terminus for the old “Tutbury Jinnie” service from Burton to Tutbury which called at the now-closed Horninglow, Stretton and Rolleston on Dove stations. This ended in 1949 and the line was uplifted in the 1970s and later turned into the Jinnie Trail nature walk.

A new station was built for Tutbury & Hatton in 1989, with regular services to Derby and Crewe. I boarded a Crewe-bound train to ride the one stop to Uttoxeter.

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Uttoxeter railway station, right next to the racecourse.

I had a little walk around the town centre in Uttoxeter, calling in to Asda for some food and water on the way. The town centre is in a quite sorry state, with a retail park on the edge of town taking away most of the trade. It’s a similar story all over the country, sadly.

I caught the bus home, which took a long while. It passed through pretty little villages like Abbots Bromley and Newborough. I may go and explore those one day in 2020.

That’s it for the first three months of 2019. In the next part, I will be looking back on trips to Matlock and Sileby, among others. Thanks very much for reading.

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