East Midlands Ranger Area Station #51 – Radcliffe on Trent

After an absence of nearly six weeks, I went back on the trains again this Saturday morning (7th August 2021) to tick off station number 51 on the East Midlands Ranger Area list, Radcliffe on Trent in Nottinghamshire.

The trip started in the morning, just before 8 o’clock, at Burton on Trent station. I caught the train up to Nottingham, from where I would change for Radcliffe on Trent. The journey to Nottingham took just over 40 minutes. When I arrived at Nottingham, I had to join a queue to catch the train to Radcliffe, as it was the service to Skegness, and it was quite busy with people on their way to their holidays in “Skegvegas”. I was asked by a member of staff if I was going to Skegness, and I told them I was going to Radcliffe. After conferring with a colleague, he confirmed that the train was going there, and that I could get on board. I expected it to be packed, but there was plenty of room.

The train stopped off firstly at Netherfield, a station which doesn’t get much of a service. I was there last October on my way to Carlton, five minutes walk away and on a different line. Around ten minutes later, it arrived in Radcliffe.

Radcliffe station, or Radcliffe (Notts), as it’s sometimes known, was opened in July 1950 by the Ambergate, Nottingham, Boston and Eastern Junction Railway, which was later taken over by the Great Northern Railway. In 1974, it was renamed from Radcliffe-on-Trent to simply Radcliffe. There were some buildings at the station, but these have either been demolished or converted into a private home. Access between the platforms is via a road bridge over the track. A footbridge previously existed, but this has been removed.

There is not a regular service from Radcliffe, which is reflected in the low passenger numbers the station receives. However, the numbers have almost doubled from around 6,500 to 12,500 in recent years. The station is looked after by a local group, who maintain flower beds and keep the place clean and tidy. There is artwork on the Skegness-bound platform. The facilities are minimal, with waiting shelters and help points on both platforms.

I left the station and had a walk into the centre of the village. Radcliffe seems like a very nice place, with plenty of history. There are several information boards dotted around the village. There is also a village sign, near to a pretty little park in front of The Grange Hall, which is an events venue.

I was on my way to the Cliff Path nearby, more of which later. Before that, I stopped to take in the splendour of the magnificent Olympic Stadium in Radcliffe. That is the Recreation Ground, which is the home of Radcliffe Olympic FC, who play in the Nottinghamshire Senior League Division One.

The football ground is part of a larger park which has a skate park, exercise equipment and play equipment for the youngsters. I had a stroll around the edge of the football ground, before heading to the pathway which leads to the Cliff Path.

There is a stairway that seems to go on for a long time which leads up to the pathway. The path is a pleasant walkway which leads to Rockley Memorial Park, which I visited on the way back. The pathway is lined with benches, all dedicated to the memories of people who had passed away. On the other side of the path is a fantastic view over the River Trent.

The path was busy with Saturday morning dog walkers, joggers and families enjoying a morning stroll. There is a steep stairway leading off the path which leads to an area next to the river with pathways through the long grass. I had a walk down there, being careful not to fall down the stairs. I followed the path next to the river, headed for the Radcliffe/Stoke Bardolph Weir on the river.

After a pleasant walk around the paths in the sunshine, I had to climb all the way back up to the main pathway. After catching my breath at the top, I entered Rockley Memorial Park, a small but spectacular park.

Rockley Memorial park was created by Lisle Rockley, a local businessman who made his fortune in the USA in the billposting and advertising trade in the late 19th century. While in New York, he had a son, William Lisle Rockley, who was called up to fight in the First World War. Sadly, he was killed in action at the age of 21 in Ypres, Belgium. His body was never recovered. Lisle purchased the land next to the cliffs and created the pathway and the park in memory of his son, that would be “worthy of the dead, and a joy to the living”.

I found myself with a bit too much time on my hands as I left the park and headed back to the centre of the village. As I mentioned before, Radcliffe station doesn’t have a regular service, so I had around an hour and a half before my train back to Nottingham was due. So I had a walk around the village, which was very busy in the sunshine. Two men were selling eggs on a stall. I didn’t buy any; I didn’t have my bag with me and I don’t think they would have survived the train journey back. I did buy a sandwich and a bottle of water from the local Co-op, then went back to the station to await the train back to Nottingham, from where I caught the train back to Burton on Trent.

The weather in Radcliffe was very pleasant; sunny with a fine breeze. Back in Burton, it was raining heavily. In all, though, it was a great day out, and I highly recommend a trip to Radcliffe and a walk on the cliff path.

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