East Midlands Ranger Area Station #66 – Langwith-Whaley Thorns

Before I start the blog post proper, I think a little explanation is in order regarding the name of the place I visited on a grey and slightly rainy Friday, 20th May 2022. Langwith is actually a collection of six small settlements; Langwith, Langwith Maltings, Nether Langwith, Upper Langwith, Langwith Bassett and Langwith Junction. Whaley Thorns is a different place entirely. The railway station serving the two areas is called Langwith-Whaley Thorns. For clarity, I am just going to refer to everywhere in the various Langwiths as ‘Langwith’, as it is not entirely clear to me where one Langwith ends and another begins.

So, as I said before, it was a rather grey and drizzly day when I caught the train from Burton on Trent to Nottingham, and then caught another one from Nottingham up to Langwith-Whaley Thorns station, the 66th station I have visited in the East Midlands Ranger Area. The whole journey took two hours, and it was the third time this year that I have been up the Robin Hood Line, having done it twice in March when I did the Nottingham Trams and the two stations in Mansfield.

Langwith-Whaley Thorns railway station was first opened in May 1998 as part of the final stage of the re-opening of the Robin Hood Line between Nottingham and Worksop. There was a station at Langwith Maltings around half a mile south of the present station between 1875 and 1964, but this was closed and subsequently demolished when the line closed to passengers. Langwith-Whaley Thorns has the basic facilities; a help point, waiting shelters and dot matrix displays. There are ramps to both platforms for those unable to use stairs. The service frequency towards Nottingham and Worksop has been reduced from hourly to two-hourly in recent times.

Adjacent to the railway station is Poulter Country Park, a country park on the site of an old mine. There are various pathways to explore, and also a sculpture trail with several artworks to discover along the way.

Among the sculptures is Top of the World. Installed in 2015 and created by Ewan Allinson, it invokes the Stone Age, when wild hyenas and woolly rhinoceros roamed the area.

On the sculpture itself are various carved handprints, which I thought at first was vandalism, until I figured out it was the handprints of local school children, along with their initials.

A short distance away from Top of the World is a piece by David Mayne called Industrial Fossils, symbolising the coal which used to be mined in the area until the mine closed in 1993.

I followed the path around the west to the south end of the park. There are two further sculptures there; Scimitar Flower by Ewan Allinson and Dragonfly by Phil Neal, the latter of which is located right next to the small lake at the south of the park.

There are another three sculptures located within the park and on the Archaeological Way, a newly-created trail which currently leads from Whaley Thorns down to Shirebrook. Unfortunately, this blogger didn’t research this while compiling his itinerary for this trip, so he didn’t visit them. Happily, this does give me an excuse to go back sometime to walk the Archaeological Way.

I left the park at the south entrance and walked a short, quiet road to the main road in Langwith. There is a lot of red white and blue bunting hanging around for the upcoming Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

I followed the main road (called “Main Road”) which has the River Poulter running alongside it. I found myself in Nether Langwith, which is actually in Nottinghamshire, as the photo above shows. Along the way, I passed the Village Hall and walked to the Cenotaph War Memorial.

The war memorial was first installed in 1920, following the First World War. Years of decay caused a lot of damage to the original stone cross, and it was refurbished in 2012 using as much of the original cross as possible. Two metal plaques next to the base of the cross give further details of the men whose names are engraved on the memorial.

I carried on walking up the road to the north, where I found myself in Whaley Thorns, and back in Derbyshire. The area was mostly a woodland until the mid-19th century, when most of the trees were cut down after coal was discovered and subsequently mined. The village grew, with houses, shops and churches built to serve the mining community. The coal mine itself closed in the late 1970s.

The village hall remains, as does the local church, St Luke’s, which was built in 1879.

Time was beginning to run out on my trip, and I didn’t want to miss the train and have to wait another two hours, especially on a Friday afternoon, so I headed back towards the station, but not before having a walk around a small open field near to the station.

At the front of the station entrance, there is an old preserved colliery wagon which stands outside the local heritage centre, which is only open on one day per week (Wednesday), and not the day I went, unfortunately.

I’ve been to many places over the last few years for this blog, and most of them I probably won’t visit again. However, I definitely want to come back here sometime, as there’s so much more to explore. I still have to visit nearby Shirebrook station at some point, so I may head back up to Langwith & Whaley Thorns when I do. Thanks very much for reading, and don’t forget to like the blog on social media to be first to receive updates on new posts. All the links are here.