The Walking Group – Morton
Our walk started from the car park on Church Lane, opposite the Sitwell Arms and down Stretton Road with the church of The Holy Cross on our left. This church is Grade 2 listed and its congregation celebrated 1,000 years of worship in 2002. It was largely rebuilt in 1850 but still has its medieval tower, which dates from c1350 and has six bells.
Morton lies 3 miles north of Alfreton. The manor of Morton was acquired by the Sitwells of Renishaw in 1749 and the estate disposed of in 1912. Midland Rail opened a station at Doe Hill in 1862 and three years later George Stephenson’s Clay Cross Company opened their first colliery in Morton and most of the houses now in the village were built to house colliery workers.
According to road signs entering Morton, the village is the geographical centre of England and a plaque, marking this point, was erected by the Parish Council in 1990’s and can be seen on an oak tree opposite No. 69 Stretton Road.
We turned right onto Evershill Road and through a pleasant area of well-maintained bungalows and gardens, spotting a magnolia full of plump buds waiting to break out of their skins. We followed a tarmac lane with fields on each side which I was informed were used for horse racing in the past, much like the ones at Whittington Moor. Our journey took us over a bridge, the railway line below leading to Nottingham and then into Padley Wood where there was an abundance of bluebell leaves which will burst into flower and fragrance in a month’s time. In the distance we spotted Clay Cross church with Danesmoor village near to it.
We passed Padley Wood Solar Farm surrounded by a high wire fence and security cameras. We walked a plank bridge over a stream and by this time we were caked in mud, which, it turned out, we had to struggle through for the remainder of the walk. We carried on and negotiated a different bridge over the same railway line and into another wooded area where patches of moss had enveloped tree boughs lying on the ground and had crept up many of the trees still standing.
Our walk continued through Danesmoor Farm, the guard dogs barking loudly and aggressively, announcing our arrival, and over three water-logged fields to reach the road and a short walk on a solid tarmacked surface, which was a delight after plodding through such a lot of mud.
Our next walk on Sunday 7th May will be the day after the King’s Coronation. We will meet, as usual, at the church gates at 12 noon with a packed lunch and welcome anyone who wishes to join us.