For once, I didn’t take the train on one of my adventures (although I will be doing so at the end of the week). Today, I went for a long walk to a village near my home town of Burton upon Trent called Tatenhill.
As part of my plans to travel more this year and explore more of my local area, I planned a trip out to Tatenhill. There is no regular bus service to Tatenhill, only school buses in the morning and afternoon. Only drivers, cyclists and walkers can get there, and I don’t drive or ride a bike, so it was on with the shoes and out in the Monday morning drizzle for a walk there.
To get to Tatenhill, I had to pass through Branston, a village to the south of Burton. When you mention Branston to people in the UK, most of them would associate it with Branston Pickle, which was indeed invented and originally manufactured in Branston. Branston is also home to many famous companies who have distribution warehouses in the area, such as Hobbycraft, Boots, B&Q and Waterstones. The location is in the centre of England with good connections to the national motorway network, which makes it ideal for distribution. One of the largest sites, Branston Depot, is currently occupied by B&Q, but it was originally built as a machine gun factory by the government during the First World War, although it hadn’t been completed by the time the war had ended and no machine guns were ever made there.
Main Street in Branston has a few local shops, businesses and a small retail park with a Co-op and a branch of Birds, a Derby-based local bakery chain. A side street off Main Street leads to a tunnel underneath the A38 road. It is a well-lit tunnel, with surprisingly very little graffiti on the walls, unless it has recently been repainted. The tunnel splits in two at the western end; one path leads to Branston Water Park, a former gravel pit which was converted into a nature park in the 1990s. The other path leads down a residential street to the main road leading to Tatenhill.
I emerged from the tunnel not really knowing where I was going. Normally I look at Google Maps before going on a trip, just to see where to go, but the area has changed a lot recently and Google Maps hasn’t been updated to reflect it. I arrived at a bridge over the Trent & Mersey Canal which runs through Branston, and crossed over the canal and past the new ground built by Burton Rugby Club to replace their former Peel Croft home in the town centre. Also on that road is a new secondary school built to serve the new Branston Locks and Branston Leas housing developments being built nearby.
I took the path past the school which led to Tatenhill. It is a pretty little village, mostly made up of small cottages, new build houses and converted former agricultural buildings. The civil parish of Tatenhill also covers nearby Rangemore, and within the civil parish are no less than 29 listed buildings. Near to the area are the former RAF Tatenhill airfield, now a private airfield, and St. George’s Park, the FA’s state of the art training centre.
I walked up the main street towards the local church, St. Michael & All Angels Church. Along the way, I passed the local village pub, the Horseshoe Inn.
I was struck by how quiet the place was. I know it was the middle of the morning and most people would have been at work or school, but I only saw about two or three people around the village, mostly dog walkers. It took me longer than I had expected to walk the almost four miles from my home there, and I had to walk all the way back as well. However, I liked the look of the place, and I may well return sometime later in the year when the weather brightens up a bit.
Thanks very much for reading this, and I will hopefully be back with another blog on Friday.