Quarry Lane

'Clear Waters' and other memories

By Simon Leivers

Alan Curtis has jogged my mind back now with his memories of old Quarry Lane, [see page Quarry Lane, Mansfieled]. I too used to play along there for many hours a day as a boy.

The Clear Waters

My favourite part though was a place known to us kids as what we called "The Clear waters". It was a place where the over run stream from the Hosiery Mills/Bleak Hills  ponds on Sheepbridge Lane joined with the Maun between Matlock Mill and the Hosiery Mills. We called it the "Clear waters" for obvious reasons. It was so clean and clear compared to the murky green Maun.  The stream was so clean that it would support fish that can only survive in clean waters. In the summer time we would take the tips of a fishing rod, tied on a short piece of line and dangle the hook loaded with a worm into the stream to catch small trout.

I have drawn a sketch of what I remember the place looked like from memory, does any one else remember this place ?

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Quarry Lane' page

Fishing

The stream came through a tunnel that ran under the yard of the back of the hosiery mills. On the boundary wall of the yard the stream came out through a small arch about three and a half feet high, just about high enough for an eight year old to crouch into and catch the small trout that always lurked just under the tunnel entrance. Where the stream came out the bed was a sandy bottom covered in rocks. We used to turn the rocks over to catch fish called Bull heads (aka Millers thumbs), along with Crayfish. Water voles were everywhere too.

The River Maun area as it used to be

During the summer school holidays we would go to this area most days and spend nearly all day there. If we fancied a break from the fishing we would make a rope swing on the near by tree of which branches spanned over the river Maun that used to meander around the area and took a winding route. The Maun now takes a straight route as it was diverted many years ago. I have included the Maun in the sketch so you can see how it used to flow. The railings above the tunnel wall are still present today but the stream is now diverted underground and the area in the sketch is now covered in tarmac to form the new road leading from Sheepbridge Lane up to the Oakham Business Park, this all used to be a swampy, boggy area and loaded with wild life such as newts, birds and lots of butterflies and beautiful moths, its all gone now, but never from my memory.

Simon Leivers

This page was added on 14/06/2012.
Comments about this page

Hello Simon. Nice sketch and memories. Where the stream came out from under the road, through the small arch is where I used to take my two children to fish... it was called the Crawler in my day, and the Crayfish you speak of,we called them toe-biters. If one hung on to your toe with his claw...you knew about it!! Regards Alan

By alan curtis
On 15/06/2012

I remember this place, it was like no other part of Mansfield. I can hear the sound of that stream rushing over the rocks, and seeing kingfishers waiting for their meal. Dragonflies were in abundance, as too were butterflies, some of which I have never seen since. Fresh watercress grew not far from this place, and I would often return home with a handful.

By Angela Roche
On 15/06/2012

I remember the crawler very well . I spent many a happy day there with friends from Bradder St. I seem to recall there being some horse stables just above. Im sure the daughter of the corner shop at bottom of Bradder St had some horses in them.

By Carol Berry Nee Abrams
On 01/11/2012

Yes, there were horse stables at the side of the Crawler,they were built under the rocks of Matlock Avenue. I believe there were three, two for horses,and one full of bales of hay.They were where the River Maun Walk starts. I am sure that the drawing above is not of the Crawler, but is where the River Maun enters under the Sheepbridge Lane, on the Reed Mill side . It went under the road at the side of the cottages that stood opposite the Crawler. I do believe that Clear Waters is not on Quarry Lane, but on Sheepbridge Lane.The Crawler is still the Crawler.

By alan curtis
On 03/11/2012

I and my friends as kids played in the River Maun at the bottom of Sheepbridgd Lane and remember the small stream running from the outflow of Bleakhills ponds and the abundance of small fish there. We had a bit more of a walk to get there than you kids on Bradder Street. We lived in the Ladybrook Lane / Rosemary Street area so we walked via Belvedere Street, Victoria Street, Cinderella Walk and down the steps onto Sheepbridge Lane, or sometimes Botany Avenue, Moor Lane, through where the old brickyard was and across the railway. I often include the Maun Valley Way in my walks and cycle rides and try and spot any fish especially on the Sheepbridge Lane to Field Mill Dam stretch and I'm pleased to report there is a very healthy fish population, so the river is much cleaner than it once was. I have recently seen Chub of all sizes up to about 3lbs which need well oxygenated water to breed and small Perch. Lets hope the Maun stays unpolluted and the fish are left alone.

By Peter Bowler.
On 06/01/2013

Oh what great memories I have of this area and all the way up to the res via Hermitage pond. I know exactly where you mean (Clearwater) and I remember the rope swing shown in your sketch! As a child growing up in the 70's this was my playground. I was born on Matlock Avenue in the house next to the hill leading down to the Maun where the Byron pub was originally. As kids we would play on the numerous rope swings around the riverwalk and where you say you would fish, we would wash our socks and hang them up in the trees to dry! We made dens and were completely oblivious to the fact that Mansfield town centre was only a mile or so away...so pretty was the area...halcyon days!!

By Philippa Howarth nee Ambrose
On 15/02/2013

Philippa Ambrose.....now there's a name from the past. I remember you from King Edward school although you are a couple of years younger than my self. I have a copy of a class photograph taken in 1977 and you are on it ! Philippa. I am pleased that you remember the "Clearwater" as I did. This area too was my playground as a boy. Just about all of my summer holidays were spent here fishing, making the rope swings and studying the wild life. I never seemed to get hungry as a child having fun until it was time to go home at the end of the day with a muddy face and soaking wet clothes. I often still walk through this area today, passing the Hermitage Mill pond where as kids we would make rafts from old railway sleepers and oil drums lashed together with rope to venture out onto the pond. Then I continue up to the Kings Mill Reservoir and just remember those great fun days we had.

By Simon Leivers
On 22/02/2013

Greetings to all who have shared their memories and experiences of growing up in Mansfield and for putting these down in writing. There is a common theme running throughout each story, regardless of the era we recall. WE had fun, comraderie, and these will ever be etched in our memories. Phillipa we used to make "dens" in the side of the banks that ran along the edge of where Maun Industries was located, as well as down the same area as the Lord Byron. Keep writing these stories, more and more people from our section of Mansfield will recall something special. Regards Mike Peter I lived on Bricklane in the 50s and moved back from Canada in the late 50s, walked nearly the same route, sometimes went down Sheepbridge Lane

By Mike Frost
On 23/10/2013

Hi.

I too grew up by the banks of the River Maun near the, now gone, Lord Byron pub in the late 60's and early 70's. The Bleak Hills ponds used to thrive with e.g. frog-toad, native crayfish and water voles. In fact, the whole of the banks of the Maun from the mill down to the football ground had a thriving water vole population which fascinated us as kids. My days with idle time not idly spent with my friends there got me interested in freshwater biology and I have been a professional freshwater biologist for the past 35 years! It was, as one of you said, a tranquil haven in the midst of the conurbation of Mansfield.

Sadly, many of these creatures have long-gone with the growing environmental impacts of an expanding population and associated industries. However, I have with many others spent the last 10 years finding, monitoring, protecting and trying to enhance the last remnant of our water vole population which now remains at the Kings Mill reservoir site. There are also a few native crayfish left at a nearby secret location so all may not be lost as nature may find a way, with a little help in water quality and habitat rehabilitation, to eventually re-colonise and engage another generation from Mansfield! Put some pressure on local authorities and regulatory bodies like the Environment Agency to get the area back to the way we all remember it. When those bodies say where is the proof it was ever that good .. then we should all pay them a visit with some collective evidence.

By Nick Everall 3/10/15

 

 

By Nick Everall
On 09/12/2015

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