Ferry Farm (by Faith Kirk)

This picture was taken in 1973, showing the farm house and to the right the outbuildings which included a large barn, stables and pig sties. Further on to the right and out of sight was the large orchard. In the foreground are some of the girls that we used to ride with.

My twin brother Michael and I used to visit the farm during the school holidays and weekends to chat to Arthur Chamberlain who would usually be propping up a gate on  the approach to the farm watching the horses and riders in the big field next to the farm house, this was the real reason that we were there.

We pestered the girls so much that they eventually taught us both to ride. They insisted on teaching us the hard way without a saddle or reins on a lunge rein. They had great fun watching us bouncing around and falling off. We were determined to get it and soon advanced with such good training. It wasn’t long before we too had a pony at the farm and our parents were also spending a lot of time down there. At that time the Nature Reserve wasn’t as heavily used by walkers as it is now so we could ride around the soft paths all the way over to Clifton Grove.

Arthur Chamberlain retired in 1970 and decided to move away and my family and I moved in
shortly after. We soon settled in to the good life and my parents Rose and Arthur Tindall adapted quickly, keeping chickens and pigs, growing their own fruit and veg and managing the vast orchard. They also collected the fishing tickets along the stretch of the Trent from the bend by the Ferry to just after the small weir in Beeston. My parents were always busy and soon established themselves with local ramblers and the regulars who used the ferry and who also called in to the farm to buy eggs and enjoy a cuppa and large slice of cake with my Mum.

The ferry across to Barton in Fabis was linked to Ferry Farm and I believe, had been since before 1774. The height of its popularity was during the Victorian era when there were two ferry boats running. At that time the landing stage was close to the entrance of the mouth of the River Erewash, our landing stage was further upstream, opposite a small bungalow at the side of the river.

During the 1970s my Father would take regulars over to Barton in Fabis and be there at an agreed time to bring them back. There was always a joke when taking anyone over that we charged 50p to go over and £1 to come back! Dad would also use the boat to clear the weeds from the fishing spots along the river bank and keep the edges clear of debris after a high river. He would take the boat out of the water during the hard winter months to tar the bottom and paint it ready for the spring.

It wasn’t the easiest boat to row being flat bottomed and wide enough for three people to sit side by side but Dad taught us how to row safely across the river by rowing hard against the current upriver away from the landing stage before crossing the fast current then letting the slower current guide us into the landing stage on the other side. Occasionally my brother and I would pack a picnic, put our bikes in the boat and row across to the Barton in Fabis side to explore. We always felt that being on the other side felt like being a long way from home.

In order to earn some pocket money my brother and I would only have to sit on the boat on sunny day and people would stop and ask to be taken across. I can’t remember advertising that it was a ferry service, they just seemed to know. Everyone gave us a pick up time, and I can’t remember ever letting anyone down by not being there. No mobile phones then, it was all based on trust!

The farm was compulsory purchased by the Attenborough Gravel Company who wanted to
dredge the land around the farm for valuable gravel for the building trade. It was slowly demolished during the late 1970s. The ferry stopped running when my parents left the farm and moved to Beeston Rylands. The area looks very different now, all traces of the farm and buildings have been obliterated and nature has taken over, unless you know where to look!
Faith Kirk


Riding diary – 30/11/2014

Route: Barton in Fabis  -> Weir -> Clifton -> Codd’s Farm

Horses and Riders: Dom (me), Barney (Jess), Irish (Linda)

We decided to go and check out the rough cross country fences at the end of Brown Lane that were set up for the Readyfield hunt. For a few weeks I’d been planning to go down there as I’d heard that the caravans had moved back to their original location by the river so there was no longer a danger of dogs running out and scaring the horses.
The caravans were temporarily moved into the field after a fire back in the summer that resulted in most of the family’s property being destroyed. The gas bottles had exploded and there was quite a lot of excitement about it at the time. The dogs had apparently gone missing and it was feared that they had been burned alive. It turned out that they had just scarpered – as dogs do – very wisely – in such circumstances.
Linda regaled us with the the story of how she and Tony had seen the smoke plume and, as they live across the other side of the river, had raced down to look, fearing that it might be the yard on fire.
As we rode past one of the logs that had been pulled across the path to make a rough fence for horses to jump, we noticed that the snarled metal remains of one of the exploded gas canisters were still there. The jagged edges were dangerously close to the log. I made a mental note to go back and move it before attempting to jump the fences again. It was too wet today to do any kind of jumping.
We separated from Linda and Irish in the village (Irish is in his 20s and currently only in light work so a short ride was plenty for him). Linda turned Irish off to the right and we turned left to head out through the woods. The ground was very wet but we managed to get in a canter around Marshall’s field and headed around the weir, encountering several riders along the way.
Two appeared to be having a lesson in the field to the left of the path just beyond the horse stile. There were two cobs, a big coloured and a smaller steel grey pony. I had encountered the pony before, ridden by the same man, when I had been on foot trying to find the culvert across the ditch that separates the two parallel paths, one through the woods and the other through the adjoining fields. I’d emerged from a thicket just as this guy and a girl on a smaller pony had turned onto the path. They had appeared lost so I told them the way back onto the path (beyond the gate). The grey pony had started to misbehave at this point and was putting in mini rears that resulted in the pair retracing their steps.
Knowing that this guy had previously had some issues with his mount, we carefully walked past the lesson and didn’t canter until we were well out of sight of them. Dom sprang forward into canter from walk, as if he had been waiting for this moment. Jess came up alongside and I could see that she and Barney were thoroughly enjoying themselves too.
Along towards the weir we met another rider, jumping the cross country jumps in the field to the right of the path. These jumps are owned by the Codd family, but we do not have permission to use them, due, I believe, to some disagreement between the two yards. The guy riding them was on a large colored ISH. I didn’t recognise the horse, but I’m guessing he was from Codd’s yard. As we came around the corner by the weir we met another horse, this time a big dark bay ID/TB with a young girl riding. Dom seemed to know the horse. We exchanged pleasantries and headed off to the left, up the hill towards Clifton, much to Dom’s disgust as he expected to turn to the right (ie direction home!). Up in Clifton, Dom showed his usual interest in everything (after stopping at the steam that was coming from a heating vent, convinced it was an apparition about to materialise into a scary spectre). Dom used to live at Codd’s farm so he is always alert and shows a great interest in the place. Heading up the path behind the houses is always interesting. In the summer there are often children playing in the gardens to provide fun shying opportunities for the horses.This is especially true when children pop their heads up above the line of the fence due to trampolining antics, often squealing with pleasure at the same time. There’s also a very noisy dog that’s usually out in one of the gardens to provide even more fun. We’ve passed this many times but it never fails to take the horses by surprise. Heading into the woods we turned immediate left. Here you might find a random array of dumped rubbish to keep everyone on their toes.
By this point the horses quickened their pace as they realised that they were homeward bound. Coming out of the woods we took a right down the rough road to Marshall’s. The sun was higher in the sky at this point (about 12.00) and I looked back over the hill towards the main road to see the light streaming through the trees over the field. Breathtaking. Now we were on the last stretch, the steep downhill path past Marshall’s known as David’s Lane. The horses were clearly looking forward to getting home so we trotted back most of the way through the woods. A really enjoyable ride. Thanks Jess, Linda, and Dom 🙂


Plans for a quarry in Barton-in-Fabis

It appears that there are plans for a quarry in Barton-in-Fabis:
Consultation on the mineral plan is set to take place until July 11th 2014.

Information panels relating to the consultation will be on display during the consultation period at Clifton Library between Friday 23rd May and Tuesday 10th June. Officers from the County Council will be on hand from 12.00-14.00 on Tuesday 27th May.

Register on the website here: http://nottinghamshire.jdi-consult.net/localplan/index.php to make your opinion about this known to the council.

If you have any doubts about the value of this area to wildlife, take a look at: http://www.cliftongrovebirds.co.uk


Consultation on the mineral plan is set to take place until July 11
Read more at http://www.nottinghampost.com/Plans-quarry-Barton-Fabis-spark-anger/story-21115466-detail/story.html#e2GI5xWIhJTBfo8y.99
Consultation on the mineral plan is set to take place until July 11
Read more at http://www.nottinghampost.com/Plans-quarry-Barton-Fabis-spark-anger/story-21115466-detail/story.html#e2GI5xWIhJTBfo8y.99

The history of Barton Ferry


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In Victorian times visitors came to Barton in Fabis from Attenborough via the Barton Ferry which, as indicated on Chapman’s Map of Nottinghamshire, operated from 1774 up until the early 1960s. The village used to be a quaker village, and was known for its tea houses and (despite the abstinence of quakers), the villagers’ home made cider.

I heard tell of a shire horse stallion being transported across the river from Barton to cover the mares on the Attenborough side of the river when horses were still being used to work the land on farms in the area.

This booklet tells how farmer Harry  Plowright who, up until the early 1970s still used Shire Horses on his farm instead of a tractor. The Plowright family were responsible for breeding the Shire horses for the local Shipstones brewery and won awards at the annual ploughing competitions for ploughing with a pair of horses.

The exact location of the old Barton Ferry?


Chapman’s Map of Nottinghamshire, 1774, showing Barton in Fabis