The latest instalment of my travel adventures has taken me to Hucknall in Nottinghamshire.
The weather on this February morning was sunny, but absolutely freezing cold with it. As usual, my journey started at Burton on Trent station as I caught the train to Nottingham, from where I would change for Hucknall. It was still freezing cold at Nottingham, so I stood on the sunny part of the platform to keep warm as I waited for my East Midlands Railway train from platform 3A. I then had my platform altered, which wasn’t too painful, as it was only to platform 3B, just a couple of hundred metres from 3A.
I had a half hour wait in between trains, but the time soon passed and I boarded the train to Hucknall. It only took about fifteen minutes to get to Hucknall; the only intervening stop was Bulwell, which I had previously visited back in November.
Hucknall station is the terminus of the Nottingham Express Transit tram network, as well as having a train platform. The track is singled and trains run both ways, as at Bulwell. It was first opened in October 1848 and relocated to its present site in 1895 and renamed Hucknall Byron, as there were formerly two other stations in the town; Hucknall Town and Hucknall Central, both of which have now closed. Hucknall [Byron] itself was closed in 1964 to passenger traffic, but reopened in 1993 as part of the Robin Hood Line. Nothing of the original station remains.
Hucknall station has minimal facilities, including a waiting shelter, benches, a help point and a ticket machine. It is unstaffed.
As I arrived in Hucknall, it was still sunny and still cold. I had planned where I was going to go, and it was to The Ranges, an open space north of the station, around a 15-20 minute walk from there. I found it in spite of my woeful sense of direction, and I started to wish I had worn more substantial footwear than my old trainers with holes in the sole, as some of the paths were a bit muddy and slippery.
Undeterred, I struggled up the paths, taking care not to slip over and get caked in mud. It got a bit steep at times as I ascended the hill, but the views were magnificent, so it was well worth it.
If you are ever thinking of visiting Hucknall and The Ranges, take my advice and wear proper footwear, and also be warned that the paths get a bit steep at times, so it’s not really suitable for wheelchair users or people with mobility issues. Aside from that, it’s a great place to walk, especially if you have a dog. I don’t, but there were plenty of people there who did. The dogs didn’t bother me, apart from one which took an interest in my backside for a moment, but it was fine.
After I exited The Ranges, I stopped off at a Tesco Express for some food, and then headed into Hucknall town centre. Hucknall is a former mining town and there is a statue near the station depicting two coal miners and a Davy lamp, along with memorials to local miners who lost their lives while at work.
Not only is Hucknall famous for mining, but it also used to have an airfield owned by Rolls-Royce, who used it for testing planes. The airfield closed in 2015. Famous people associated with Hucknall include Lord Byron, who was buried in the graveyard of the Church of St Mary Magdalene in the town. His daughter Ada Lovelace was also buried in Hucknall. She is considered a pioneer of computer programming and is celebrated on “Ada Lovelace Day” on the second Thursday of October each year.
After waiting at the station and eating my lunch, my train back to Nottingham arrived, and so I got on it. At Nottingham, my train back to Burton was already sitting at the platform, half an hour before it was to depart, so I got on that and ate my packet of Cadburys Mini Eggs that I had bought at Tesco while I waited for the train to fill up with passengers and make its way back to my home town.
Overall, I had a really good day out in Hucknall. If I was to do it again, I would have worn better shoes to go up The Ranges, but apart from that, it’s a nice little town.
I might take a little break from travelling for a few weeks, but I will hopefully be back sometime soon. Thanks very much for reading.