2020 Travels – Burton Joyce and Lowdham

It was a cloudy but warm September day, 16th September 2020 to be precise. I was coming towards the end of my week off work, and so I decided to tick off another two stations on the list of 76 railway stations in the East Midlands Ranger area.

Whenever I book train tickets online and start typing in “Burton” as my start destination, it always offers “Burton Joyce” and “Burton on Trent” as an option. I always wondered where Burton Joyce was, and it turns out that it’s a few miles east of Nottingham, on the line towards Newark on Trent. I worked out, through the magic of Google Maps, that it was possible to walk from there to Lowdham in less than an hour, so I figured out a way of doing two stations in one trip.

The day started, as ever, at Burton on Trent station. Unlike when I went to Cromford last week, I arrived in plenty of time for my train up to Derby, from where I would change for Burton Joyce. Unfortunately for me, I had a near forty minute wait for my next train, and there isn’t much to do or see at a railway station for that amount of time. I decided to walk from one end of the platform to the other, and then back again. That got rid of about ten minutes.

Eventually, my East Midlands Railways train arrived to take me to Burton Joyce. The station at Burton Joyce is quite unremarkable, to be honest. It has two platforms, waiting shelters, a help point and that’s pretty much all.

Burton Joyce railway station

It was opened in August 1846 by the Midland Railway. In previous years, there were wooden station buildings on the platforms, but these have since been removed. The station has a regular service with trains every two hours (more run at peak times) and a Sunday service. Entrance to the platforms is via a wooden gate, and there is a level crossing between the two platforms, which I thankfully didn’t have to use.

I left the station to have a bit of an explore around the village. It’s not a big place, but it has several amenities and a few shops. On the way up the main road towards Lowdham, I saw this sundial:

Burton Joyce Millennium Sundial

It was installed to mark the Millennium back in 2000, and the plaques describe what the place was like in the Domesday Book era (1086) and also the turn of the century (2000). I don’t know if the sundial works, as there was no sunshine.

Religion seems to be big in Burton Joyce, as there are at least three churches that I saw there, plus another one in Bulcote, to the east of the village.

It took less than an hour to walk to Lowdham. There was pavement all the way down the road, so I didn’t have to walk into the traffic, except when I had to walk through a transport cafe area. When I got to Lowdham, I had to cross over a busy roundabout to get to the village itself.

Lowdham seems to be around the same size as Burton Joyce. There’s a park just on the edge of the village that was being used by dog walkers, and a main shopping street with several local shops, a convenience store whose sign advertised that you could get groceries and also rent videos there. Perhaps it’s time for them to get a new sign, as nobody has rented videos for about twenty years. Lowdham’s post office also boasts a golden post box, honouring the locally-born Paralympian Richard Whitehead, who won a gold medal in the 200m T42 event at the London 2012 Paralympics.

I had a walk up the Main Street and then crossed the A6097 by-pass which bisects the village to see if I could find the church of Saint Mary the Virgin. It’s not the easiest place to get to, with several streets to walk through and a narrow lane to walk down. I found it, though, and it was worth the effort to get there. I’m not religious myself, but I do like a good church.

Saint Mary the Virgin, Lowdham

I had a read of some of the grave stones, not for any morbid reason, but I’m interested in looking at old grave stones. Some of them dated back to the 18th century. It was really quiet there, which is always a good thing in a graveyard. The church itself is Grade I listed and dates back to the 13th century.

I had less than an hour to get back to the railway station to catch my train back to Derby, from where I would get the train home. I walked back the way I came, across the by-pass and back down the main street. The station was easy enough to find, and unlike its neighbour down the line at Burton Joyce, Lowdham is the very definition of a classic railway station.

As I got to the station, the level crossing activated and the barriers came down. It’s one of my great fears that I will get to a level crossing and be half way over when the barriers come down. I know it’s unlikely to happen, but it still gives me the fear. I waited for the train to pass, and crossed over to my platform.

Lowdham station was opened in August 1846. Originally, a goods shed was located next to the station, as well as the combined station master’s house and station building which survives today. It is a private property, having been so since 1990, but the owners have restored the building to its former glory on the outside. They are currently trying to restore the signal box across the line to a working museum. You can find out more about that on Facebook.

The signal box, decommissioned in 2016 and soon to be restored.

I waited for my train back to Derby, which duly arrived. I was so tired, though, that I almost fell asleep on the train. I changed at Derby (after another 40 minute wait) and got the train back to Burton.

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