On a grey and windy autumn day, 28th October 2021, I ticked off station number 58 of 76 on the East Midlands Ranger Area list when I travelled to Langley Mill in Derbyshire.
As usual, I caught the train from Burton on Trent, then changed at Nottingham. The bulk of my travels have been with CrossCountry and East Midlands Railway, but today it was Northern who were taking me to Langley Mill. I like their trains; they have a very useful screen which tells you which side of the train to leave when your train gets to a station. As it was half term, the train was quite busy, but I found a seat for the short journey from Nottingham to Langley Mill.
Langley Mill railway station was first opened in September 1847 as Langley Mill for Heanor. Over the years, it changed its name to Langley Mill and Eastwood (in 1876), then the more long-winded Langley Mill and Eastwood for Heanor (1933). The latter was the name it had when it was closed in the Beeching Axe in 1967. All the station buildings were demolished, but the station was re-opened by Councillor David Bookbinder on 12th May 1986. How do I know this? Because there’s a plaque at the station, that’s how.
A new platform 2 had to be built, because the original was demolished when the station first closed. There is a ramp leading up to the northbound platform 1, but access to platform 2 is via a staircase. There are minimal facilities at the station; help points and waiting shelters.
I left the station and headed east towards Eastwood, one of the larger towns either side of Langley Mill; Heanor being the one to the west. I walked to the entrance to the Erewash Canal, which would take me to Eastwood, across the county border in Nottinghamshire.
It was a peaceful walk up the canal towpath, with the autumn leaves in full colourful effect. I left the canal at the bridge in the fourth photograph above and walked up a quiet road, over a busy dual carriageway and into Eastwood.
Eastwood is famous for two things; it was here in 1832 that a meeting took place in the Sun Inn public house (which still stands today) which resulted in the creation of the Midland Counties Railway company, who built a line from Derby to Rugby via Leicester. They later merged with two other railway companies to form the Midland Railway.
The other thing that Eastwood is famous for is the author D.H. Lawrence, who wrote Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Sons and Lovers and Women in Love, amongst other works. He was born in the town in 1885 and died from tuberculosis in France in 1930. His family grave is located in a graveyard which I visited in Eastwood, but I wasn’t able to find it. I did see a very nice chapel there, though.
I had a walk through Eastwood to Coronation Park. The park has many facilities and amenities, including a skate park and an all-weather 3G football pitch, which is the home to Nottingham Forest Women FC and Eastwood Community FC, who were formed in 2014 and play in the United Counties League Premier Division North. As it was the school holidays, there were a lot of young people around enjoying the park. I saw an older man and what I assume was his grandchild practising football, with the child in goal. They made a couple of very good saves. Maybe I saw a future football star?
After leaving the park, I walked into the town centre in Eastwood, which was very busy with shoppers. I walked down a side street to have a look at DH Lawrence’s birthplace, which is now a museum.
As well as D.H. Lawrence, Eastwood was the birthplace of the West Bromwich Albion and England footballer Jeff Astle, who died in Burton on Trent in 2002 aged just 59.
As much as I enjoyed my time in Eastwood and Langley Mill, it was soon time to head home. I walked back to the station and caught the train back to Nottingham, from where I caught the train back to Burton on Trent. For once, all of the trains I caught today were on time.
Thanks very much for reading. I will hopefully be back next week with more travelling tales.