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Intrepid hack preparing to tackle Trent challenge

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 02, 2014

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The Mail’s DAVID BROOME is going to get to know the River Trent a little better over the next few months. Here, he sets out some of the challenges he is expected to face as he prepares for his mammoth journey to cover its entire length.

NEXT month, I am embarking on a mission to walk the entire length of the River Trent.

I should make it clear off the bat that I will not be doing this all in one go – the idea did appeal to me at first, but the accommodation costs involved, not to mention not seeing my family for two weeks, soon put that idea to bed.

Instead, I will be undertaking a series of long-ish walks (about 15 to 20 miles, depending on terrain and weather), each time picking up where I left off to take in a section of the river roughly once a month.

And you can read all about it in the Burton Mail.

The entire course of the river is around 250 miles, although walking it cuts out many of the twists and turns, meaning it comes in at around 170 miles – long enough, trust me!

Although others have trod the way before me, there is not yet a designated walk like there is with the South-West Coastal Path or the Pennine Way, to name but two.

Such a walk does exist for the latter stages of the walk – from around Gainsborough to the Humber Estuary – but the early portions, which take in Burton and other areas in the locality, have not yet been added.

A project – the Trent Valley Way – has been established with just this aim in mind.

Ruth Needham, senior project manager for Trent Rivers Trust, told me: “The downstream end from the Nottinghamshire bit to the estuary is waymarked; the upstream sadly is not.

“We are hoping to submit a bid in the next few months to waymark and do some interpretation for the Staffordshire length.”

One of the biggest obstacles in their path is in Alrewas, where there is no adequate crossing to traverse the A38 towards the National Arboretum, meaning the route has to take a huge diversion through Barton, Dunstall and Tatenhill.

The preferred route at this point would be through the Arboretum and through Walton towards Branston, and perhaps when I get to that point I will be able to break new ground and find a way through.

For now, I start at the river’s source on Biddulph Moor, and am planning for my first stretch to take me as far as Stoke-on-Trent, where the water disappears temporarily underneath the city.

I am planning to begin just after Easter, although this depends on the weather, and will reproduce in these pages a report, walking guide, map and pictures for each section.

River Trent Factfile

The Trent’s source is in Staffordshire on the southern edge of Biddulph Moor, from where it flows through the Midlands (forming a once-significant boundary between the north and south of England) until it joins the River Ouse at Trent Falls to form the Humber Estuary, which empties into the North Sea.

The Trent is unusual among English rivers in that it flows north (for the second half of its route).

It also exhibits a tidal bore, the Trent Aegir, a phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave which travels up a river against the downstream current.

The area drained by the river includes most of the northern Midlands.

The river passes through six counties (Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire), three cities (Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Nottingham), and four towns (Stone, Burton, Newark and Gainsborough).

The rivers Sow, Tame, Mease, Dove, Derwent, Soar and Idle are all tributaries of the Trent.

The first section of the walk will be approximately 12 miles, starting at Biddulph Moor and taking in Knypersley Reservoir, Norton Green and Milton before arriving in Stoke-on-Trent.

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