Iona has a Change of Plans, now Derbyshire is in sight.

The view from our doorway

We were going to Woodhall Spa. We have been there at least 6 times and to be honest there is not a lot more we can say about it. With 3 years of pictures already on our blog it will be difficult to find something new.

With the van all packed we were just thinking of leaving when the phone rang, it was the warden at Woodhall Spa, she was very sorry but all the pitches are waterlogged and they are cancelling all bookings and closing the site to new arrivals.

Well, not to be put off I searched the web and found a website called Pitch-up, a further search found various campsites but we chose one about an hour away in Nottinghamshire. I booked it on-line, set up the sat nav and we left. The route changed several times in the first 5 miles, firstly we were going to Grantham Lidl, but it was in the opposite direction so we turned around and headed for Sleaford. This Lidl branch shares a large car park with Homebase so it was easy to park. Shopping done, which included some new hiking boots that were not on the list but for £19.99 I could not refuse, we headed off towards Mansfield and beyond.

The last two miles were a nightmare, the sat nav destination was about 400 yds off but this lead us into narrow back streets away from the main road. I had a melt down and decided to stop and check the map on my iPad, so I could figure out when to ignore the dashboard wizard. Even 200 yards from the entrance we were told to head down a cul de sac.

Anyway we arrived at the site which is set on a hill, we signed in and filled with water and made our way to the pitch. Everything went well for about two hours and then the control panel started giving us warnings about the boiler, gas valve shut-off, overheating, flue blocked etc. The gas hobs still worked so it cannot be the gas or so I thought. After half an hour of false starts I turned on the new gas bottle, this seemed to cure the problem, so it maybe that the autogas has a lower pressure which keeps the cooker and fridge going but not the boiler when the bottle is nearly empty. Well I hope that is the answer, time will tell.
No more error messages from the boiler so it appears to have been the gas bottle nearly empty. We had only been using it for 3 days but that was when it was snowing and we were using gas for nearly everything. I am hoping we can get at least nine days out of a bottle during the summer. However when it is less than £8 to fill each bottle instead of £22 for calor it is not a great expense.
Day 2:
This morning it is overcast and there is possible showers forecast. Hopefully it will stay dry as we go and explore the local area.
One of the old locks

 

Our walk started by walking down into the village of Ironville, passing over the Midland Railway steam line and past the local church built by the Butteley Company to enhance their model village. We found the Cromford canal that is disused and now no more than a stream. We followed it’s course to the point where the Pinxton canal joined. All you can see now is the bridge that spanned the canal to let horses continue along the Cromford canal towpath.
The old Pinxton and Cromford Canal junction
At this point there is a large reservoir that has now covered the old canal bed but there is a footpath that could have been the tow path and we were able to follow this and walk around the entire lake and back to our original position by the Pinxton Canal junction. We followed the towpath back the way we came to the bridge where we joined the towpath, here there is the remains of a lock. We passed under the bridge and came across another disused lock and a further bridge that showed where the tow ropes had worn grooves in the vertical stone work.

One of the bridges with another Lock in the background

On the bank above the canal is an impressive building that was built by the Butterly Company in 1846 as the Mechanics Institute, it contained a Library, Lecture room, Coffee house and Baths, it is thought it became the Butterly Company Colliery offices in 1904, over the years it changed uses and it is now apartments. 

We continued along the path to where the modern railway passes over the canal via an original three span bridge. Here we left the canal towpath and followed a track into the village of Jacksdale where there was once a coal mine that was part of the Pyebridge colliery. 

The mainline over the canal
Jacksdale Memorial
Jacksdale Pit Head Wheel
We then headed back towards ironville but took a diversion towards Somercotes, this took us under a disused railway bridge and a further bridge that carried coal trains from the pit to join the main line. 

Steady!

The walk this way was not as steep and halfway up the hill we passed over the course of the Pinxton canal which is now just a path. A little further on we joined a footpath through the woods that surrounded our campsite. This was steeper and very muddy, the going was slow with Sue worried about slipping over and breaking her other wrist. Eventually we got back to the campsite after walking just over five miles.

 

The weather had not changed from being overcast with drizzle and as the afternoon passed the mist returned. 
Not very busy
This shows the hill

 

Fish Stew to finish off the day.
Trip 4:  139 miles, 25.7 mpg, 30 mph, 4.5 hours.

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