Coton in the Elms and Beehive Lakes

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Coton in the Elms is a former mining village, situated in the south–west corner of Derbyshire, in an area which looks for its cultural, educational and shopping facilities not towards the county town, but to Burton in Staffordshire. Until around sixty years ago, every road into the village had elm trees, but they all succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease.

Coton lies just outside the South Derbyshire Coalfield, in a picturesque region of productive land forming part of the Atherstone Hunt country. It is excellent farming country and used to be renowned for local cheeses.

For many centuries it was a chapelry and part of the parish of Lullington, from which it was not separated until 1866. The manor of 'Cotune' is very ancient and is mentioned in the Domesday Book, at which time it belonged to Burton Abbey. The abbot held Coton under the Crown, the fee being the service of presenting a hound on leash to the King whenever he visited Derbyshire.

The abbey had a chapel here in Norman times, certainly as early as 1291 and until after the Reformation. When the assistance of the abbey, both spiritual and financial, had been lost by Henry VIII's spoliation policy, it was found that the church revenues would suffice to support only a celibate priest. Coton was then attached to Lullington, Henry Mallaber being the last independent Vicar of Coton until recent times. The medieval chapel was destroyed and its lands were granted to John Marshe and his heirs.

Coton is thus one of the few places where the ancient church has disappeared – but not without trace, for its foundations were discovered in 1866. The present Church of St Mary is not far from this site and was built of grey sandstone in 1846. Coton Manor had passed out of the clergy's hands before Burton Abbey succumbed to Henry VIII's greed and in 1570, Henry Berkeley sold it to Sir William Gresley, who also owned Lullington.

In 1629 Thomas Gresley sold it to the Sanders family of Caldwell. In contrast to most of the Derbyshire gentry of the time, the Gresley and Sanders families both fought throughout the Civil War on the Parliamentary side and this part of the country saw a good deal of action in this hard struggle between King and Parliament. Nearby is Grangewood Farm Forestry, which has 100 acres of new woodland adjoining the ancient woodland of Grange Wood. The site includes laid-out trails, camping facilities, horse riding and fishing.

Between Coton and Linton are the Beehive Fishing Lakes. This walk meanders through the plantations and woods both on the outward and the inward journeys to enjoy as much as possible of the area. The Mease & Sence Noon Sculpture shows true noon on Midsummer and Midwinter days for 10–15 minutes.

England - Central England - Derbyshire - Countryside

Features

Birds, Church, Flowers, Good for Kids, Great Views, Lake/Loch, Mostly Flat, Pub, Public Transport, Wildlife, Woodland
22/09/2013 - Roy Davenport

Walk checked. Marker is in place on the right of the path where it bends left. Picnic table is missing but if the text is followed it will bring you to WP03 with no need for a compass. WP09 is as stated in the directions.

15/09/2013 - Graham Barthorpe

We did this walk following a visit to the Arboretum and don't know the area at all. I think some details of the walk need reviewing. We only found 2 red arrow markers and eventually had to use a compass to reach the nearest road. Directions from point 9 were also not easy to follow. We crossed 4 fields with cows grazing. It didn't bother us but some people would rather not go where cows are grazing and it could be even more of a problem with a dog. Despite the above, we enjoyed the walk, plenty of variety and also had an excellent pint in the pub at Coton

30/07/2009 - Mangal Mistry

Walk 3959, - I did this walk on 11/06/09. It's a wonderfull walk and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's fairly easy to follow, but there are one or two areas where it is very confusing, mainly because there are so many paths cris crossing. It took me four and a half hours to do it, not because it has steep hills, but because in most areas you are walking through grass which is very tall. Even where it has been mawn recently, you have to lift your feet quite high to walk through thick stuble. You just can't walk normally as you would on plain ground. Saying that, it's still is a beautiful walk and very enjoyable. One bit of walk I recommend that you miss out altogether is, between point 9 to 11. Why? Because that area is very overgrown (tall grass, confusing, it's a hard slog, and lakes are not very interesting.

30/07/2009 - Roy Davenport

Most of the footpaths are maintained by The Woodland Trust and mowed regually. Where the grass is a little high it is as we expect during July and August. At the lakes enjoy the wooded areas and the lakes themselves with the abundance of wild life. Flowers, birds, rabbits, foxes, butterflies and water fowl. RD

08/04/2009 - Roy Davenport

Updated April 09 RD

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26.1 Miles