Moor Lane cut-through

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I've often wondered about the cut-through at Moor Lane (Bramcote). I used to deliver newspapers to the farms at the end of it (White House and Moor Farm).

What are the origins of this road carved through the sandstone?

It must have been something important because it's quite a substantial amount of stone cutting.

Why was it built and when ? What was it used for?

For those who don't know where I'm talking about. If you go down Moor Lane, at the end it suddenly becomes a cut-through with quite high sandstone walls which, after a while, reaches Bramcote Moor. (Im sure many people will remember staggering back through there after a night out at Moor Farm Inn (now gone).

If you continue on, the road reaches the railway bridge next to the dried-up canal - then goes on to Balloon Woods.

Try as I might, I haven't discovered much about it.

So any info would be gratefully received.

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On the subject of early pits and railways and canals and paths, a big map might help. This is the 1830s.

bilbraborn, that address you gave doesn't work, but this one does, Found that photo, many thanks,;EQUALS;NTGM004737&pos=1

My best friend lived 1 ranmore close

Could it have been a single rail line route, mineral??

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Thanks for the replies so far. I'd love to get to the bottom of what this was.


That Google view isn't the cut-through - it's much further down and past the old canal what you have there.

The cutting I'm talking about is much further back and has high sandstone walls.


Yes, spot on. Those pics are exactly right.


You may be right.

Locals always used to tell me that it was something to do with the transportation of stone and was probably cut in the 1700's, but nobody is absolutely sure.

Wopuld be great to get the 'definitive' story.

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The curve of it does suggest it was a rail line leading to the main line.

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Wonder if anything to do with the Thomas North Railway? know that went to at least 3 pits (Cinderhill Broxtowe and Newcastle) and crossed The Midland Radford to Trowell Line by an end on level + called "Seeley's Babbington Crossing" somewhere in Beechdale Baths area. I say crossed, think also a junction as there was a signal box of same name plus "Newcastle Sidings" there before the line continued to Babbington Wharf on The Nottingham Canal near Crown pub and island maybe the Trowell line was built on top of as it were some earlier route that went towards Balloon Woods? come to think of it how far to Babbington Village?

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Looking at a copy of an old os map from 1895,there is an old rail line near to moor farm, but the old canal is very close as well, and the canal would have been there before the railway, so it was possibly to provide access to the canal. Bits of the old canal can still be seen, just off of coventry lane.

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yes can recall the canal going under Coventry Lane still with water in it between the railway and Ilkeston Road, in fact one night when it was being emptied me and a mate in a mini were lifted over something like a 9" dia pipe going across the road by 4 coppers! Also recall the canal steaming away at back of Wollaton pit and Old Coach Road. Are the lines I mentioned to be seen at all on that map Ray? would love to see such

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There are no records that I know of Moor Lane being a railway or a waggonway (that is waggons using wooden rails or the like). I lived on Bramcote Moor for 17 years and my family lived on the Moor from the early 1800's. The level of the cutting floor is quite a lot higher than Moor Lane to the north.

Moor lane is part of a track from Beeston through to Swingate in Kimberley. The section between the south of the cutting through to Coventry Lane was extensively reseached in the 1970's when Wimpey were building on the Moor. It was discovered that this section was "a highway not otherwise defined". In other words, it was part of the Kings (Queens) highway where the pubic have a right "to pass and re-pass" but it is not defined as a bridleway, road or footpath.

I have seen old settlement maps that shows the current line of Moor Lane north of the cutting is not on the original line. It used to run from the cutting more directly to wards Trowell Moor. This would have been for one of two reasons: either, it was a natural 'desire line' being the shortest distance or, it followed the line of the firmest soil - remember, the Moor was fairly boggy.

I imagine the lane was moved when the canal was cut. It obviously had to line up with the new canal bridge. During a period Moor lane was like a dog-leg about where there was a cottage occupied by my GGGrandfather.

The canal at the Moor Lane Bridge was the closest to Beeston and Moor Lane would be a natural route to bring coal from the canal to Beeston. The part of Moor Lane where the cutting is now would have been a severe impediment to carting coal etc.

There is evidence in Stapleford that French Napoleonic prisoners of war were put to work cutting the road from Stapleford south towards Toton, hence the reason the crossroads in Stapleford is known as 'The Roach' (rock). It seems plausible that the Bramcote cutting may have followed the success in Stapleford and who knows, may have been cut by the same prisoners.

If Moor Lane had been a 'waggonway' I think it would have been marked as such on maps. The use of Moor Lane as a waggonway would have been inconsistent with its use as part of the Beeston to Kimberley route.

Lastly, I can recall the canal bridge was quite narrow and quite ‘humped’, not conducive with carrying rails.

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I don't think it was a railway line because if I remember rightly, only the cutting bit is flat. The rest of Moor Lane down to Bramcote Moor and the canal is not level enough for a railway line.

@taxi ray

The earliest map I could find was 1884 which shows no sign of a railway other than the Trowell Radford line which I believe was built in 1846. There's definitely a wharf there for loading on the canal. There's also Wollaton Brick Yard and lots of old coal pits and clay pits.


I've never heard of the Thomas North Railway. I'll have to check that out.

All interesting stuff!

Thanks for all of your contributions. The only other stuff I've been sent is this:

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Hi,Ashley there is a mineral line shown on the map,1 seems to end near Bulwell Basford station, 1 goes towards crown island and they meet at Cinderhill pit with the line going through Kimberley and possibly ending at or near Bennerley viaduct where it possibly meets the Erewash line just outside Cotmanhay. The information is on 2 os maps and true to form it is where they both meet. I will try and get my daughter to scan them for me and I can then post it on the site.

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Another one bites the dust! my theory that is! was only guessing as don't know area and never knew moor lane existed, Thomas North was owner of pits and built a line from Cinderhill, used to cross the old A610 near Colliers Arms (now gone) pub and Broxtowe Lane Bells Lane and Melbourne Road (2 bridges 2 crossings) after the A610 there was a junction with a line now a country walk/footpath skirting around Broxtowe Estate, esp near Eltham Close leading I believe to Broxtowe Pit and maybe others? in 1960's I saw full size BR loco's with coal trains on both sections though the route "south" then ended at former Newcastle Pit site, then a distribution centre for exchange of coal to NCB lorries on Nuthall Rd opposite Basford Rd virtually. With the coming of The MR and GNR connection were made from both to Cinderhill Pit, the route of the former still existing and in use as the NRT tram branch to Pheonix Park. The route from Nuthall Rd to Crown Island was used in construction of Western Boulevard, prior to that am told there was another crossing where it met Aspley Lane

, the site of where the Thomas North Line ran can still be traced as far as Western Boulevard between The Blue Coats School or whatever it's now called and last house on left after that heading west.

The Radford Trowell Loop was added to the MR line to Mansfield in 1875

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On this map, Moor Farm is edged Green. The cottages on Deddington Lane are edged Red, these cottages may be the ones also known as Bramcote Moor Close.

The family cottage is edged blue. The land belonged to Bramcote Hills but the mineral rights leased to the Willoughby family. GGGdad was a wood cutter, maybe cutting pip props. He also acted as a bailiff for the Willoughby family.


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Ashley, when you mention Cinderhill, do you mean Babbington??? The two collieries were different, Babbington is often mistaken for Cinderhill. Cinderhill was sunk years before Babbington, I have been trying to locate it's exact position and think the two shafts about half a mile south west of Babbington are the old Cinderhill shafts.

Around the same area are the Old Engine Pit Colliery and Catstone Hill Colliery, they could be the single mine shafts on Trowell Moor as noted on the A-Z mapbook.

This area and across the M1, is on the outcrop as many of the seams of coal mined by Nottinghams deep mines, and is probably riddled with old workings both worked "on the crop" and shafts.

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No idea really, knew there were two but as I understood in 1950/60s were combined? For years didn't know why the 2nd one was called "Babbo". Just looked it up in Broxtowe 100 Journal and according to them same pit with 2 shafts both sunk by Thomas North between 1841 to 1843

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I have a feeling Cinderhill Colliery are the two disused shafts not too far from Junction 26 of the M1.

Although, as I mentioned, the area is pitted with old mine shafts I can't identify.

The article you read I also found, among many others including some online books dating to the early 1800's which mention Cinderhill colliery, long before Babbington was sunk.

There was some legalese about naming a shaft one company and the other another company. Seems a colliery only had to obey some of the mining laws of the time if they employed more than a certain number of men underground. So owners got crafty, one shaft was one registered company, the other shaft a different company. That gave them a loophole!

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My memory is a little vague on the subject, but in the late 60's I did a study of the area as part of my A Level geography course at Bilborough Grammar.

From what I remember Moor Lane was a major mediaeval route from the North to The South of the country parallelling the A1 and crossing the Trent in the shallows at Attenborough. When the first coal mines were being dug in the 14th Century in Strelley, a coal wharf was built in the field across Coventry Lane opposite what used to be the entrance to BGS, now a roundabout serving the new 6th form college. When the field had been ploughed in the Autumn when I was at school, you could clearly see the outline of this loading wharf in the ground from the old BGS tower block, it was slightly raised and the soil was black from the coal dust, I presume that later on, it formed the start of the Wollaton Wagonway in 1604?

From my research in the old library in Shakespeare Street, a horse drawn wagonway was built from this wharf in the 14th century, down to Balloon Woods and picked up the old Moor Lane route and carried on down to the Trent, I'm sure that the rock cutting was built at this time in order to ease the gradient for the horses.

Thats what I remember on the subject, I actually have my original thesis somewhere, don't ask me to try and find it though, but it helped me pass the exam.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have lived in Bramcote 40+ years now and often use the Moor Lane cut through.

Firstly it was cut forged for a purpose

Secondly it must have been for a commercial reason

What commercial reason? Almost certainly coal and associated with the Willoughby mines (yes Wollaton Hall Willoughby).

I believe it was a connection between the canal that is met if one continues along Moor Lane past the football pitches, (and its most commercial product coal from the the old Wollaton Pit)and the Trent Mersey Canal posssibly in the region of what is now Beeston Rylands. Coal is still to be seen outcropping at Balloon Woods, reached by crossing the Moor Lane Railway Bridge and continuing towards Trowell Village.

I suggest rails and ponies with much of the route being gravity led (certainly Bramcote to Beeston). Extension into Bridle Lane down past Beeston Fields Golf Course and beyond. Coal would have been required for the steam age so I guess the origin is likely to be in the canal mania days 1740-1820, before the railways boom 1840 onwards. Remember Beeston was much associated withg mills and steam driven equipment.

Anyone got access to Willoughby mines and their history plus canal building history? Thats where the answer is to be found

I'd love to know too!!




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Yes, I think you're right about the Moor Lane origins Graham.

It's a shame that there doesn't seem to be anything definitive about it. Well not so far anyway.

I lived in Bramcote late 60's early 70's and went to school at Beeston Fields and then Bramcote Secondary. One of my mates lived in the second house from the start of the cut-through and I had occasion to go through it all the time.

(Delivering papers, going to the football pitches etc.)

Very recently some friends of mine were reminiscing about Moor Farm Inn and seeing Judas Priest at the Gun Deck !

What we've got so far is that the cut-through was a wagonway for the transportation of coal from the canal wharf to Beeston. But we don't have any official dates or origins etc. So any further info would be greatly appreciated.

It would be nice to know after all this time.

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  • 10 months later...

Great topic barclaycon, and great map and photos littlebro!

I too used to deliver newspapers to the farm, but before the pub was there. This would probably have been 1967-69(?). There was a border collie at the farm (Molly?) which would pretend to nip your ankles! I was delivering for Bramcote Hills newsagents, then run by the Cooper family. I expect you were too? I also used to use the Moor Farm cut and Deddington Lane bridleway to cycle to Bramcote Lane and Wollaton.

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