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Walk 6

One of a series of local walks produced by

Aston on Trent Local History Group

*More detailed route information and other footpath links can be found on OS Explorer Maps 245/259.

If you have mobility issues please check first

Aston on Trent History Walks

Number: 6

(Short ‘n’ Sweet 2 =- Aston Tramway)

2.6 miles / 4 kms

Approximate time -1- 1.25 hours

Flat easy walking. Most walks use countryside footpaths. Please consider weather and ground conditions.

This pack contains a basic map, route directions * and history notes

Aston on Trent History Walks

Number 6 – Short ‘n’ Sweet- Aston Tramway

The walk starts at All Saints’ Church lychgate. Heading north towards the village centre and the start of Derby Road.(1) passing the Post Office,(2)

On the right is Pump Cottage(3). Opposite, the (faux) black and white building once housed a Car Repair Garage(4) Across the road is The Green. (5)

Carry on up Derby Road passing Long Croft and the old Long Croft Farmhouse(6) on the left-hand side and the Old School House on the right.

Housing on Derby Road (7) was once quite sparse with those numbered 80-92, being known as the “New Houses”. The house at number 94 was once The Coach & Horses pub owned by Squire Holden.

Leaving the village, the woodland on the left The Brickyard,(8) now a Local Nature Reserve is a site of historical significance.

Just before the bridge over the A50 look for a footpath sign to the right. Take the path down steps to a stile and follow it between the metal fence and hedgerow, emerging into a large field. You are now walking on the site of the historic Gypsum mine tramway (9) With a slight right-then-left dog leg carry on across the well-trodden field path following the telegraph poles, crossing a bridge and stream as the path enters a narrow gully parallel and close to the A50.

A few yards into the gully take a marked footpath on your right to cross fields to Far Moorside and a gravelled drive.

Continue down the drive to join Shardlow Road. Turn right and follow the road which passes close by the Aston Cursus(10) in the fields to the right ,continue back to the village and the lychgate where we started.

We hope you enjoyed your walk.

Find more at

Items of Historic Interest – Walk Number 6

(1)Derby Road Aston Local History Archive contains evidence that Derby Road did not always connect to the A6 (now the B5010) which in the 18th century was a turnpike road. The road from Shardlow to Weston through the village centre was referred to as Main Street in some 19th century census returns.

(2)Post Office This shop has a long history of trading as a general store before it became a Post Office. Former Post Offices were located in a cottage on The Green and in the village hall on Shardlow Road. The Local History Group has a definitive history of all present and past Aston shops.

(3)Pump Cottage Two shops once occupied this dwelling. George Beresford’s grocery and provisions and Peter Kelton butcher. Alongside Pump Cottage is a structure which once housed a water pump providing a source of water for many of the dwellings in and around The Green. It was built in 1870 but after mains water came to Aston it was used as a bus shelter.

(4)Aston Garage This building with its faux Tudor facing was originally a Malthouse where barley was dried prior to being used in the brewing process. It was opened as a garage by George Massingham in the 1930s. George Bagguley took over the business in 1947 until 1970 when the last owner Ken Newbold ran the business until closure. Petrol pumps stood just behind the main doors and paraffin could be purchased at a time when many villagers depended upon this product for heating and lighting.

(5)The Green In common with many villages The Green would have been a space where villagers could meet for communal events such as markets, livestock trading and festivals. In the year 1257 the main landowner in Aston and the Lord of the Manor of Weston was the Abbot of St. Werburgh’s Abbey, Chester. In that year the Abbot obtained a grant for a Tuesday market at Aston and a three-day annual fair on the festival of St. Peter held on August 1st. A market cross remained in position at the junction of Derby, Weston and Shardlow roads until 1837.

(6)Long Croft Farm Also known at one time as Cottage Farm was sold off for housing development in the early 1970s. Its last owner, George Brace, kept a large dairy herd and supplied milk to much of the village including the old school across from the farmhouse. The farmhouse, according to some architectural sources, contains evidence dating it back to the late 16th century.

(7)Derby Road Housing Some of the first houses to be built on this road are the cottages standing at a right angle to the road (numbers 80 to 92). Nearby, number 94 was a public house going by the name of The Coach and Horses. This pub is known to have been in business in 1804 but was closed during the decade 1871 to 1881. It was owned by the squire Anthony Edward Holden of Aston Hall who apparently closed it down due to a bout of drunkenness in the village. Further housing development along Derby Road began in the 1930s.

(8)Local Nature Reserve ( Brickyard Plantation )

This woodland area was once the location for Gypsum Mining, then became a Brick Works, and finally a Refuse Site. When the area surface was capped and left to nature a group of Aston residents planted many of the trees seen here today. In 2012 the Friends of Aston Brickyard (FAB) was formed to look after the site for Derbyshire County Council and after a few years of dedicated hard work it was designated a Local Nature Reserve.

(9)The Aston Tramway The tramway was built to carry gypsum from the mines to a wharf near Hickins Bridge on the Trent and Mersey Canal. The route taken came out of the Brickyard Plantation passing through a tunnel beneath Derby Road. The footpath from Derby Road to Shardlow Road follows the route of the tramway with original stones and rail have been found and displayed in the Local Nature Reserve. The gypsum was transported along the canal to Kings Mills to be ground up for building products.

(10)The Aston Cursus This is an ancient monument constructed in the period 3500 BC – 3600 BC taking the form of parallel ditches about 90 mts apart and running from Grange Farm, Weston in a northeast direction towards Shardlow. It was discovered in 1960s using aerial photography of crop marks. Nothing of it can be seen on the surface but at over a mile long, reputed to be one of the longest yet discovered in the UK. Its purpose in Neolithic times is thought to be connected to ritualistic practices e.g. ancestral veneration.