Grantham Canal

May 11, 2009


Cycle the 35 miles of the Grantham Canal from West Bridgford.

Aside from the sometimes lonely idle canal are castles, remote villages, flower meadows, solemn war memorials, airfields and remnants of mines and railways.

The disused Grantham Canal, a contour canal, ends in the east in a derelict wharf in Grantham. Passing below in the vale of Belvoir it sweeps down via Redmile to Hickling where a large grain wharf and pool signifies the Heart of Rural England. Foxes are still common here. Some sections of the Grantham Canal are dry.

There are plans to re-open the Grantham Canal but other derelict canals are already being restored. Buy a Nicholson canal map. Cycle back across country on a northern or southern route or return home via Grantham railway station.

In the market town of Grantham where there was once a cattle market and north of Woolsthorpe, Issac Newton’s birthplace is a plaque above a grocery shop to Margaret Hilda (Roberts) Thatcher daughter of a local councillor.

At the other end of the Grantham Canal is Cotgrave an eastern outlier of the Nottinghamshire Coalfield. Many retired Geordie miners live in Cotgrave a rural village now.

All of the English coalfields were closed and are mainly flooded. There is still a lot of coal under the Three Counties that flank Lincolnshire to the east.

Margaret Hilda Thatcher by closing the mines brought to an end a period which had started after World War Two where life was good for the English Working Man. Miners flocked from every heavenly direction. They were often healthy young, smart, physically strong from mixed stock and attracted to very good wages often three times more than other trades.

Old miners are articulate behind the accents and nostalgic.

They had, with the help of The USA beaten the dark forces of Germany. Austerity persisted then wirtschaftswunder but the Trade Union Movement in England was bound to be put down.

This event changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of families in England.

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