Bleakhills Dam.

Many years ago, this was one of the regular hunting grounds for we youngsters from the Quarry Lane area, being one of the areas of our beautiful unspoiled town.One can say we were not rich, but in many ways we were. Not in monetry values maybe, but the surrounding landscape gave us a childhood you can never forget. The children of today may never be able to understand how we older folk had the enjoyment of a countryside that was free and safe to roam.

Having seen all the benefits of the inventions that have modernized our world, I have to admit they have made our world an exciting place for our children to live in.

My first sketch shows , and it is from a memory sketch , the L.N.E.R. line where it crosses the Reed Mill Dam,  what was known to us as Bleakhills Dam. t is very likely that when the rail line was laid, in order to take the shortest route, the easiest and cheapest way , was to fill in part of the original large Reed Mill Dam, making two dams, by building an embankment.. Maybe someone can throw some light on this and comment. Looking at an older map, it appears the original Little Matlock Mill Dam was made into three expanses of water. Once by Bleakhills Lane, and again by the Railway Lines.

The Bleakhills was a heavenly area for us to play and learn.

In the distance, one can see where the railway line tunnelled under Sheepbridge Lane, then travelling parallel with Garth Road, it again went under Hillsway Crescent by another underpass, then proceeded to skirt Gregory’s Quarry  and eventually crossing over Nottingham Road by another stone bridge that spanned Nottingham Road close to Baums Lane.( How did Baums Lane get it’s name ? ).Following a line along Baums Lane, it then crossed over Littleworth by another overhead bridge before reaching the L.N.E.R. station on Central Road. All this is now history that has now disappeared.

The second sketch is sort of, the second Dam , known to us as the Bleakhills Dam…Just down Bleakhills Lane…The lane was a cinder track, known to us as Harvey’s Lane. The dam was a smaller stretch of water, not used for any swimming at all, but very good for fishing, and plenty of people used it for that…It was a very pretty area, there were plenty of wild fowl, including swans that nested there and reared their young… On a Sunday afternoon, it was an area were Families , on a nice day, and in those days we seemed to get plenty, would take their stroll along an area of natural beauty, forgetting any problems the week had thrown at them….They were just being a Family…

The scene with the train, was a fairly regular one, just added to show how it was. No comments about the drawing of the train, it was a long time ago…..

Comments about this page

  • The Reed Mill Dam is known as the Railway Pond by the fishing club.

    By Harry (08/07/2022)
  • I remember how beautiful this place was. There were trout (brown, I think), millers thumb, and crayfish in the river. We used to swim in the dam. We also called it the Hermo. A while ago, they diverted the river, and now the area is filled with industrial units. I’m sure that in this day and age, it would be a protected area. What a loss, but I still have very fond memories if that small corner of, for me as a child, Eden.

    By Harry (08/07/2022)
  • We spent a lot of time around Bleak Hills and the Hermo, always loads of mating frogs, my Dad told me one was giving the other a lift. He used to take me and my brother fishing there, happy days, pity it got spoilt.

    By Fred Newton (26/12/2018)
  • Dave, I’ve just re-read your comment and now realise that your mum Margaret has possibly passed away so she can’t visit the High Oakham pages.  Sorry about that – put it down to the ageing thing !!

    By Shirley B (05/08/2015)
  • Dave, your mother Margaret and I were in the same class at High Oakham School.  My  maiden surname was Gardner so she may remember me.  She will possibly be interested in the articles about High Oakham Girls School, especially the photograph of our teachers and my article of my memories of my time at the school.

    By Shirley B (03/08/2015)
  • My grandparents were Wilf and Lily Allen who lived at Bleak Hills cottages. I remember visiting and staying over as a young child. The windows rattled all night if it was windy! I remember one of the lads from next door (can’t remember his name) drowning in one of the dams. The doctor lived in the end cottage and his wife was the sister of Victor McLaglen, the actor who played Maureen O`Sullivan`s brother opposite John Wayne in `The Quiet Man.`

    Wilf and Lily had three sons (Tom, Jack and Eric) and two daughters (Edie and Margaret, my mother). All apart from Eric, who lives in Blidworth with his wife Gwen, have sadly passed away.

    By Dave Hickman (01/08/2015)
  • I well remember Bleakhills Dam my friends and I used to play there in the late 50s and early 60s, there was just a low stone wall that separated it from the lane which when you looked over it into the dam you quite often saw fish, I saw quite a large pike there once. There always seemed to be lots of frogs and your right it was a lovely spot.

    By Peter Bowler. (29/04/2013)

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