East Midlands Ranger Area Station #65 – Melton Mowbray

On Monday 25th April, I visited Melton Mowbray at the third attempt. My first attempt in November was thwarted by the weather, my second in January was ended by a cancelled train, but there were no such problems this time, apart from another cancelled train. I was able to catch an earlier one, so it didn’t affect my itinerary.

I had to catch three trains to get to Melton Mowbray; Burton on Trent to Derby, then to Leicester, and then to Melton Mowbray. I had long waits between trains at both Derby and Leicester, but I always find that time seems to go quickly at railway stations for some reason.

Upon arriving at Melton Mowbray, the Rural Capital of Food in England and home of Stilton Cheese and Pork Pies, as a sign at the station proclaims, I headed north to Melton Country Park.

Melton Country Park is a huge park, spanning 140 acres and full of amenities and attractions. There are many walking paths, a lake in the middle of the park, fitness equipment, play equipment for children, a visitors centre and café and much more.

Also in the park is the Queen Elizabeth II Ruby Jubilee avenue, with forty trees planted in 1992 to commemorate Elizabeth’s forty years on the throne.

A pathway runs through the park which is a former railway line, the Great Northern and London and North Western Joint Railway line which served the now-demolished Melton Mowbray North railway station which closed in 1953 to regular passengers, although summer special excursion trains to Skegness ran until 1962.

I left the park and headed back into the town centre. Melton Mowbray has many historical buildings, and a butter cross in the market place. I could have found out more about the history of the town at the Melton Carnegie Museum, but it is closed on Mondays.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post. Melton Mowbray is famed for its food, including Stilton cheese, which is still manufactured at the Tuxford & Tebbutt creamery in the town. It is also most famous for pork pies. Only pies made in a designated zone around the Melton Mowbray area using uncured pork can lawfully use the “Melton Mowbray” name.

I left the town centre and headed for the various parks within the town. The memorial gardens at the rear of Egerton Lodge have a war memorial dedicated to all those from the area who died while serving their country in various conflicts. Also in the garden is “Sculpture for Osaka” by Antanas Brazdys, a metal sculpture which was exhibited outside the British Pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan.

Near to the memorial gardens is Priors Close, a small park with a pond in the middle and plenty of wildlife to spot, according to the information boards dotted around the place. While I was there, I happened upon a canal lock buried in the middle of the park. It turns out that there was once a canal flowing through Melton Mowbray, and there are plans to reopen part of it in the coming years.

The parish church of Melton Mowbray, St Mary’s Church, stands close to the town centre, as it has for hundreds of years. It is the largest parish church in the whole of Leicestershire, with some parts dating back to the 13th century.

I headed back to the station to await my train back home. I noticed near the entrance that there were some old railway tracks and crossing gates near to the station. I don’t know if they are still used occasionally, or where they lead to.

Melton Mowbray station opened in September 1846 as Melton. It was later renamed Melton Mowbray, then had the suffixes South, Midland and Town added at various times, before settling on its present name in 1965 after the previously-mentioned Melton Mowbray North station had been closed. It retains almost all of its original buildings, and is staffed. There is a café on platform 1 and waiting rooms on both platforms, although they are not opened all of the time. Step-free access is provided by a barrow crossing over the line. Passengers wishing to cross over have to use a phone provided to gain access through the gates.

Soon, it was time for me to head back to good old Staffordshire, back the way I came via Leicester and Derby. Fortunately, the return journey wasn’t as long as the journey out, with less waiting time at the stations. However, there was some jeopardy when my train from Leicester was running late, meaning I had only two minutes to catch my train at Derby back to Burton. It all went smoothly until I discovered that they had altered my platform at Derby, so I had to rush back over the bridge and just caught the train back in time.

Thank you so much for reading, hopefully I will be back soon with more travel tales.

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