If you are a regular reader of this blog, since it began in 2019, you may remember that I visited Narborough in the summer of that year, ticking it off the East Midlands Ranger Area list along with Nuneaton and Leicester on a wet day. I liked it there, despite the weather, so on Monday 27th March 2023, I came back for another look around. Also, I didn’t take a photo of Narborough railway station at the time, so I had to get one to complete the photo album.
The weather was fine as I caught the two trains from Burton on Trent to Tamworth and then to Nuneaton. There was hardly any waiting time between trains, which was good. I arrived at Narborough station at around half past ten.
Narborough railway station was opened in 1864 by the South Leicestershire Railway company, who were taken over by London & North Western in 1867. It serves the villages of Narborough and Littlethorpe, as well as the nearby villages. For a village station, it is surprisingly busy, averaging almost 400,000 passengers annually in pre-pandemic years. It is staffed, with a ticket office and waiting room. In March 1968, it was closed by British Rail as part of the Beeching Cuts. After a public outcry, and the council having to step in to stop the demolition of the station in February 1969, Narborough re-opened on 5th January 1970. A local group called the Friends of Narborough Station have adopted their local station. They look after the station, installing floral displays and lobbying for increased train services to the village. It is a prime example of what can be achieved when a community embraces its railway station.
I left the station and headed for the local church, All Saints. It dates back from at least the 13th century, having been largely rebuilt in the late 19th. The church sits in what I believe to be one of the oldest parts of the village. Next to the church is a cemetery, containing the village’s memorial to the local men who died in the First and Second World War.
Just down the road from the church are two more churches; All Saints Parish and the Congregational Church. Also on the same street is the Robjohns Memorial Hall, built in 1932 as a Sunday School, but now a community venue.
Also in the village is the Grade II* listed Narborough Hall, a manor house which dates from around 1596. In the mid-20th Century, the building had become run down and was close to being demolished. The current owners bought and renovated it in the 1970s, and opened up the front rooms of the house as a gift shop, which still trades today.
As much as I was enjoying Narborough, I had to head east to get to my next destination, part of an old railway line which has been preserved as a walking route called the Whetstone Way.
The Whetstone Way was originally part of the Great Central Main Line which ran from Sheffield to London until it was closed in the Beeching Cuts in the 1960s. On the way, I passed the site of the former Whetstone railway station, which opened in 1899 and closed in 1963. There is nothing left of the station, apart from the old station house.
After leaving the Whetstone Way, I walked through the village of Littlethorpe, to the south of Narborough. I passed the war memorial in the centre of the village on the way back to Narborough station.
Getting home from Narborough station was not as easy as it should have been. My train to Nuneaton was badly delayed (there had been some problems with points failures at Leicester all day). Luckily for me, there are two ways to get to Burton from Narborough, via Nuneaton and Tamworth and via Leicester and Derby, so I took the latter route and made it back to Burton.
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