All aboard for Ashfield heritage tour

.Dennis Hill right takes a heritage bus tour today from Kirkby

.Dennis Hill right takes a heritage bus tour today from Kirkby

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I HAVE always known that Ashfield is a place that is steeped in history - the countryside inspired both Lord Byron and D. H. Lawrence, while Nuncargate was home to cricketing icon Harold Larwood.

But after taking a trip on the Ashfield Heritage Bus Tour on Friday, I discovered much more about the district, including the fact that Sutton has its very own stone windmill close to the Leamington estate.

The windmill, known as Lindley’s Mill, is one of only two stone mills in Nottinghamshire, the other being in Warsop. It is owned by the council and bosses there are planning to use it as an exhibition space.

The bus route travelled through Kirkby and Annesley, where passengers discovered how the area had grown up in the 1800s when mining had come to the area.

We found out, for example, that the Nag’s Head pub on Station Street was actually built before the colliery was sunk in anticipation of all the thirsty miners.

Sutton resident Linda Hoggard had come on the tour to find out more about the area.

She said: “I was born in Kirkby and my husband was born in Jacksdale. I like going round places like Annesley Hall - it’s got a lot of history to it.”

One of the most interesting parts of the tour was a stop-off at Annesley Hall, where we were greeted by historian Dick Starr.

Mr Starr began working for the powerful Chaworth-Musters family as a teenager and is an expert on the hall, which now stands in ruins.

He said: “Byron used to stop here in the early 1800s. He fell in love with his cousin Mary Chaworth.”

But the young romance soured when Mary took an interest in another man - which caused Byron to fire a pistol at the oak door of a piggery in the grounds, The door has now gone, but the bullet marks around it are still visible.

Across from Annesley Hall is the historic ice house which was used to store ice from the frozen lakes for desserts and to preserve meat. Nearby is the countryside which is said to have inspired Eastwood writer D.H. Lawrence’s novel The White Peacock.

Other places on the tour included old Kirkby, which was the original, pre-mining village close to Kirkby Cross, Selston, Jacksdale, Skegby and Teversal.

The second bus tour will take place on Friday and leaves at 9.30am from Ashfield District Council’s offices in Kirkby. For more details or to book a place call Mansfield 457426 or search for it on www.ashfield-dc.gov.uk.