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Site record MDR7243 - Site of Ashby to Ticknall Tramway, Ticknall and Simsby

Type and Period (1)

  • (Georgian to Early 20th Century - 1803 AD to 1913 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Tramroad from Ticknall limeworks (SMR 27112) to Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Leicester. Built in 1794. Many stone sleepers survive, as does a tunnel 120yds long (SMR 27106). (1) The Ashby-Ticknall tramway was built by the Ashby Canal Company. In December 1798 Benjamin Outram was instructed to make a full survey for the construction of the tramway and in January 1799 he was asked to stake out the line. Final approval was granted in April 1799, with the go-ahead to begin work being given in August. The 3ft cast iron rails, each weighing 38 lbs, were constructed at Butterley. The line finally opened in early 1803 and closed in May 1913. Some remains survive from the tramway. (2) In 2009 the National Trust undertook a survey of that part of the tramway that runs through the Calke Abbey Estate, in order to provide an updated record and to inform future conservation and management of the route. The limeyards and brickyards at Calke initially supplied a local market; however, as the lime became increasingly important in the late 18th century, both as a building material and as a fertiliser, the local entrepreneurs, including Henry Harpur (6th Baronet), became more aware of a larger regional market. In order to supply this, it was necessary to construct the appropriate transport networks. In 1798/1799, Benjamin Outram was commissioned to build on of the first pre-locomotive tramways, also known as rail roads, from Ticknall to the Ashby Canal, a stretch of over 12 miles. Much of the tramway survives as cuts and embankments across the Calke estate, as do many of the sleeper stones, culverts and bridges associated with it. (4) A watching brief at Tramway Tunnel No. 2 (SK35152319), carried out as part of a programme of consolidation, restoration and repair works in 2009, revealed a number of limestone setts and timber sleepers. A small section of rail track and fixings was found within the overburden. (5) Part of the tramway was route was recorded in 2006: 'Construction of the tramway seems to have involved digging a trench approximately 5m wide into the underlying clay geology which lies only 0.2m below the ground surface at this point, which results in poor drainage. In order to minimise the risk of flooding to the tramway, two concave u-shaped ditches were created either side of the tramway by building up a substantial gravel deposit in the centre with an overlying thin, hard-packed gravel surface that was probably cambered. Massive limestone blocks also seem to have been used in order to improve the stability of the track. No evidence of tracks or rails was found [at this specific location].' (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Nixon, F. 1969. The Industrial Archaeology of Derbyshire.
  • <2> Article in serial: Hyde, J. 1975. 'The Ashby-Ticknall tramway', Derbyshire Life and Countryside. Vol 40 (1), pp 28-29.
  • <3> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 11.1, March 1986, with photos.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Watson, C (AOC Archaeology). 2009. The Ticknall Tramway, Calke Abbey, Ticknall, Derbyshire. Survey Report. HER Doc. No. 1331.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Marshall, B (ARS Ltd). 2009. Calke Abbey Tramway Tunnel No. 2, Ticknall, Derbyshire: Results of an Archaeological Watching Brief.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Hewitt, R and C Carey (ARS Ltd). 2006. An Archaeological Watching Brief near Calke Abbey, Derbyshire.



Grid reference Centred SK 3530 2174 (1593m by 4645m) (Linear)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR2808
  • EDR2892
  • EDR4612

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Feb 27 2020 11:53PM

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