After all the fun and frolics in South Yorkshire and on the Cross-City Line so far this year, it was time to go back to the East Midlands, and to one of the remaining stations I have yet to visit in Nottinghamshire; Newark North Gate.
I first visited Newark in October 2019, ticking Newark Castle railway station off the list of stations to visit. My trip this year did take me to Newark Castle station again, from where I walked to Newark North Gate.
After leaving Newark Castle station, I walked a footpath which led to a footbridge over the River Trent. In stark contrast to my last visit, the sun was shining and it wasn’t raining.
It’s not too far to walk between the two stations. It is not possible to travel by train between them, however, as they are both on different lines. The Nottingham to Lincoln Line and the East Coast Main Line both cross over the Newark Flat Crossing, said to be the only one of its kind in the UK, where two lines cross over. Engineers have been scratching their heads for decades to separate the lines, but the close proximity of the River Trent makes it difficult to implement a solution.
Newark North Gate station sits between Retford in the north and Grantham in the south and opened in July 1852. It is a fully staffed station, with a coffee shop, waiting rooms and a ticket office. There are ticket gates within the station, so I couldn’t get to platform level for a look around inside. I could have caught a train here from Burton, but that would have meant a longer round trip via Sheffield and Retford, or via Nottingham and Grantham, so it was easier to walk there from Newark Castle station. I still count it as having been visited, same as Polesworth station and Lichfield City. My blog, my rules.
A line used to run to North Gate from Bottesford, but this closed to passenger traffic in 1953 and fully in 1963. Most of it survives as a public path.
A short walk towards the town centre took me to Friary Park, a small public park next to the former Newark Friary. The friary itself is still standing, but is a private house, so no photos.
On the way into the town centre, I passed a mural which depicts Newark’s former malting industry. The mural was painted in 1986 by the artist Bill Ming.
Further down Appleton Gate is the Palace Theatre, an Art Deco theatre opened in 1920 and still welcoming audiences to be entertained over 100 years later. Next door to that is the National Civil War Museum, but it was not open. Across the road from there is St Mary Magdalene Church, a large Gothic Church of England church considered to be one of the finest in the land. It is the tallest structure in Newark and dates back to the 12th Century.
I took a stroll around the town centre in Newark, which had a market going on in the market place just in front of the Town Hall. I also saw the Governor’s House, named for Sir Richard Willis, the Castle Governor in the English Civil War. It dates back to the 16th century, and is now a vacant retail unit. The historic Corn Exchange building is close to the castle. If my understanding of Roman Numerals from primary school is correct, then it dates from 1847. Also near the castle is a statue commemorating the English Civil War.
I made my way to the castle, but was disappointed to find it was surrounded by scaffolding and fenced off. It is still possible to have a walk around the grounds, though. There are several information boards around the castle grounds, giving interesting information about the castle’s history. It was first built in the 12th century, making it almost 900 years old. King John died there from dysentry in 1216 after eating a surfeit (excessive amount) of peaches, although it is suspected that he was poisoned. The castle was ordered to be slighted (ruined) in 1648 after the English Civil War. In the 19th century, efforts were made to partly restore the castle, and it is now a tourist attraction in the town.
The work being carried out is to preserve the walls and is estimated to cost close to £1million. I left the castle grounds after a walk around and headed back to Newark Castle station, after a quick walk around the Riverside Gardens. Last time I was there, I passed a curious sculpture, which I have now found out is actually a sundial. It wasn’t working at that time, seeing as it was raining.
It was a good day out in Newark, but I had to make my way back home. I could have changed trains at Nottingham again, but the train I was on went all the way to Derby, so I changed there instead for a bit of variety. Thanks very much for reading.
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