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Nottingham's Hidden Treasures

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Nottingham's Hidden Treasures
Author: NCT, Published: 24 Apr 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guidestar1 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guidestar1 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guidestar1 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guidestar1 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guide
Nottinghamshire, Nottingham
Walk Type: Town or city
Nottingham's Hidden Treasures
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guide
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A 3 mile linear walk through Nottingham city centre discovering some of the hidden treasures within the city. This walk is one of the Nottingham Walks By Bus series, created to allow walkers to access some of Nottingham’s best walking routes via Nottingham City Transport bus routes. The walking route explores the city streets to discover some of the more unusual attractions including a secret tunnel, the old canal and the buildings of the lace district.

The walking route is fairly flat with just some gentle slopes and follows paved surfaces around the city centre. You will need to negotiate a couple of flights of steps so the route is not suitable for pushchairs or disability buggies. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours.

The walk starts at the Cathedral bus stop on Derby Road which is served by NCT Bus Routes Orange 34, 35 and 36, Pink 28 and 30 and Turquoise 76, 77, 78, 79 and 80. The walk finishes at the Collin Street bus stops alongside the Broadmarsh Bus Station. The bus stops are served by a number of NCT Bus Routes including Orange Route 34, Navy Routes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 48, Green Routes 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and Turquoise Routes 76, 77, 78 and 79. Buses run frequently seven days per week. For timetable and route details visit www.nctx.co.uk or get the NCT App.

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Walk Sections

Start to Park Tunnel
Start to Park Tunnel

Start point: 52.9551 lat, -1.1581 long
End point: 52.9541 lat, -1.1599 long

From the Cathedral bus stops on Derby Road, walk along the pavement heading uphill for just a few paces. Immediately after the pedestrian crossing on the right, turn left down the tarmac footway which heads towards the entrance of an underground car park. NOTE: Do not worry that you seem to be heading for a dead end; you are going the right way.

Pass the apartments on the right and keep ahead down the concrete slope heading for the dark entrance of the underground car park. Pass alongside any cars, go down the handful of steps ahead and you will emerge to the end of the arched Park Tunnel, carved into the sandstone rock. Follow the tunnel ahead, enjoying this magnificent piece of Victorian engineering.

The Park Tunnel was built to allow horse drawn carriages access to The Park Estate from Derby Road. The Fifth Duke of Newcastle appointed architect Thomas Chambers Hine to design and build the Park Tunnel (primarily as the main entrance to the Park) and work was completed in May 1855. The tunnel never fulfilled its expectations as a main thoroughfare into the Park. Development of other roads on the periphery of the Newcastle estate provided several more convenient routes, and the necessity for a tunnel had vanished almost before its completion. Today, the tunnel provides pedestrian access from Derby Road to the Park.

Park Tunnel to Tattershall Drive
Park Tunnel to Tattershall Drive

Start point: 52.9541 lat, -1.1599 long
End point: 52.953 lat, -1.1621 long

As you emerge back into the daylight at the far end, take a moment to look behind you where you will see a beautiful brick house perched high above the sandstone cliff and surrounded by ivy. The sandstone has been weathered into an amazing range of shapes and colours.

Continue directly ahead down the residential access lane, part of The Park Estate. This area was formerly the private deer park for the Duke of Newcastle who was the owner of Nottingham Castle mansion. As well as building the tunnel, Hine was also commissioned to develop the Park as a residential area in central Nottingham for the wealthier members of society. Its construction was controversial as many saw the area as public land. His influence on the Park is still evident on all sides - he designed the general layout of the roads and many individual houses. His approval of all other house plans ensured a high degree of control over building standards and maintained a consistency of architectural vision. In 1938, the Eighth Duke sold the Park to Oxford University but in 1986 ownership was returned to the residents under a newly formed company.

Keep straight on along the section of road, Tunnel Road, which leads you between the bowling green and tennis courts. At the crossroads, turn left into Tattershall Drive.

Tattershall Drive to Brewhouse Yard
Tattershall Drive to Brewhouse Yard

Start point: 52.953 lat, -1.1621 long
End point: 52.9491 lat, -1.1529 long

The road leads you past the entrance to the tennis club and then past the squash racquets club to the right. Just after this, keep left at the fork, a continuation of Tattershall Drive.

As you walk along you will notice the Victorian style streetlamps. These are not just for the sake of design, look more closely and you will see they are powered by gas. The whole estate is lit by automated gas lights set into these lighting poles.

At the bottom of the road you will come to a roundabout junction. Take the second road on the left (at about 10 o’clock), Peveril Drive. On this stretch of road you will have a clear view of the rear of the Nottingham Castle mansion ahead. Sat high on the sandstone rock, it is clear to see why it was renowned for its defensive position.

Keep straight ahead, passing the old coach house on the left and on through the vehicle boundary gates for the Park Estate. Look to the left here and you will have a magnificent view of the sheer sandstone cliff on which Nottingham Castle is perched. You will notice the gated entrances to some of the labyrinth of manmade caves and tunnels that run beneath the castle. The legends of Robin Hood often tell of him being held in the castle dungeons but always making his escape. Who knows, he may have even used these caves and tunnels to escape back to Sherwood Forest!

Follow the pavement swinging steadily left around the sandstone cliff and then turn left through the black gates to enter the parkland area of Brewhouse Yard.

Brewhouse Yard to Canal Towpath
Brewhouse Yard to Canal Towpath

Start point: 52.9491 lat, -1.1529 long
End point: 52.9477 lat, -1.1515 long

Take time here to enjoy this spectacular setting. The sandstone formations of more of the caves tower above you and ahead is a row of 17th century cottages. Brewhouse Yard once contained a thriving community of 20 houses with, at its peak, a population of some 127 people. Today, the remaining houses form a museum of social history. Depicting Nottingham over the last 300 years, they contain a mixture of reconstructed room and shop settings, and gallery displays.

When you have finished enjoying the yard, return back through the gate to the road. Turn left to continue along the pavement and, almost immediately, use the pedestrian crossing to swap to the right-hand pavement. When you reach the junction with traffic lights, cross over the three pedestrian crossings and then turn right to join the left-hand pavement of the side road, Wilford Street. Follow the pavement over the canal and then turn left down the slope to join the canal towpath.

Canal Towpath to Viewing Platform
Canal Towpath to Viewing Platform

Start point: 52.9477 lat, -1.1515 long
End point: 52.9486 lat, -1.1402 long

Follow the canal with the impressive old British Waterways building across to the left. This surviving section of the Nottingham and Beeston Canal was once part of a much longer route, which is now derelict. The present-day stretch remains a vital link for boaters, allowing them to bypass an unnavigable section of the River Trent. The coalfields of Nottinghamshire brought great wealth to the region, but transport by the local roads was slow and expensive. As canal mania swept the country in the 1790s, the citizens of Nottingham resolved not to miss out, and planned a new waterway from the city to Langley Mill. There, it would connect with the Cromford Canal, which was already busy with coal traffic. A grisly episode in the canal's history occurred in 1818. The canal was often used to ship gunpowder to the mines of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire - offering a tempting prank for the more mischievous boatmen. One of them dropped a hot coal onto a small piece of gunpowder, expecting a minor flash. In fact, the damage extended over several nearby streets, killing ten people and destroying the canal company warehouse.

Continue ahead over the arched bridge, passing the modern Justice Centre on the right. Follow the right-hand towpath for some distance further passing under Bridge 7 (Carrington Street), Bridge 6, Bridge 5 (watch your head as this one is very low) and further along, the footbridge for the impressive modern apartment complex, Nottingham One. Immediately after this, in stark contrast, is one of the old canal warehouse buildings.

Continue under Bridge 3, follow the towpath as it swings right and then you are forced to leave the towpath, climbing the steps up to the end of Bridge 2. Pass through the gap in the wall and turn sharp right, heading back on yourself along London Road. You will come to a small viewing area with benches on the right.

Viewing Platform to Stoney Street
Viewing Platform to Stoney Street

Start point: 52.9486 lat, -1.1402 long
End point: 52.9511 lat, -1.1423 long

This viewing platform is located on the former site of the Great Northern Railway London Road High Level Station. Continue along London Road, passing the NHS and BBC buildings on the right. As the pavement begins to swing right, cross over the road using the two pedestrian crossings. Turn right along the pavement, heading uphill past the cream building of the former hospital on the right.

Continue along this road, Hollowstone, and then turn left into the side road, Hollow Stone (yes, they are spelt differently, but both give a clue as to the next secret!). On the left here is another section of Nottingham’s network of caves. Sadly they are marred with litter and rubble but all the same they are worth a glance inside. In fact there are nearly 500 caves beneath the city. They have been used for a vast array of purposes, including dungeons, beer cellars, cess-pits, tanneries, malt-kilns, houses, wine cellars, tunnels, summer-houses, air-raid shelters, sand mines, follies, dovecotes and even a bowling alley.

At the top of the slope you will come to a junction with a church ahead. Turn right here to join Stoney Street.

Stoney Street to High Pavement
Stoney Street to High Pavement

Start point: 52.9511 lat, -1.1423 long
End point: 52.9509 lat, -1.1438 long

You are now entering the city’s old lace district. These beautiful old buildings, now predominantly home to commerce, were once the thriving heart of the lace manufacturing industry. Glance down a road on the left, Broadway, to see a particularly impressive collection of these buildings. The lace district was at the forefront of UK lace design and manufacturing throughout the 1700s, when there were more than 130 lace factories in this area of the city. The rise of the lace trade in the 1800s resulted in the distinctive high density offices and factories of Nottingham’s lace merchants that you see around you.

Just after passing Barker Gate on the right, you will come to the city centre campus for New College Nottingham on the left. The campus is housed in the Adams Building, take time to notice the intricate lace patterns set within the panels of the front door. This vast building set a standard for other lace warehouses. Its enlightened owner, Thomas Adams, was determined to provide humane conditions for his workers. He included a chapel, indoor toilets and a tea room in his building and also ran a book club, a savings bank and a sick fund.

Take the next left, Warser Gate and then the first left again, St Mary’s Gate. This road will lead you past the pretty Lace Market Square on the right, containing several lace effect tree sculptures. Continue all the way to the end of the road, with St Mary’s Church on the left, and turn right into High Pavement.

High Pavement to End
High Pavement to End

Start point: 52.9509 lat, -1.1438 long
End point: 52.9498 lat, -1.1471 long

You will pass the award-winning Galleries of Justice Museum on the left. Housed in what was once a Victorian courtroom, gaol and police station, it represents a site where an individual could be arrested, sentenced and executed. The first written record of the site being used as a law court dates from 1375.

Beyond this is one of the city’s churches now converted to a public house. Next along you will come to Nottingham Contemporary on the left, a modern art gallery. From a distance the building looks fairly plain but take a closer look at the front panels, all of which have tiny intricate lace designs.

As you approach the end of the road, swap to the right-hand pavement and then use the pedestrian crossing to cross the main road and tramway ahead. Turn left and follow the pavement heading downhill and swinging right to reach the bus stops on Collin Street (alongside Broadmarsh Bus Station) where this walk ends.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author NCT and may not be reproduced without permission.


2 responses to "Nottingham's Hidden Treasures"

Rare Queen Bee @mummyandrea @ifootpathuk loved discovering secrets in Nottingham. Lived here 48 years & never knew this existed!!

By Twitter on 2015-06-16 13:54:14

this was a really interesting walk.lived in Notts 45 years and never seen the park tunnel.will repeat walk with my partner.

By gilliannaylo on 2015-10-23 08:45:06

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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5 images to "Nottingham's Hidden Treasures"

4408_0Richard1429944261 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Don't forget to look p as you go through the tunnel at the start of the walk
4408_1Richard1429944261 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Would like to see the gas lamps at night. The two poles sticking out are where the lamp lighter would place his ladder - before modern technology.
4408_2Richard1429944261 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
I wonder which one Robin Hood escaped through?
4408_3Richard1429944261 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The old hospital that see after leaving the canal
4408_4Richard1429944261 Nottingham's Hidden Treasures Walking Guide Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
The British Waterways building at the start of the canal section

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