The bridge to Willwell Farm

I take the tram to and from Clifton pretty regularly, and the other day noticed a curious sight from the window. Between Southchurch Drive North and Ruddington Lane stops (looking to the right as the tram headed townwards) I saw what looked like Victorian brickwork semi-hidden among grass and bushes. This morning I ventured back to investigate.

The brickwork I’d spied was part of an old railway bridge. I took photographs whilst there which you can see below. I didn’t force entry anywhere, nor did I climb over or through a fence. There were no signs telling me this was private property. The land where the bridge was situated was accessible to anyone.

The bridge was grassed-over, but had recent treads from a heavy vehicle passing over it.

Willwell Farm bridge

DSC01870
Looking south on the bridge towards Southchurch Drive
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A gas pipeline and the arches beneath the bridge
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Looking southwards towards Ruddington from the bridge

Getting back home I went to my trusted Insight Mapping to check the location. In late Victorian/Edwardian times it had been a footbridge over the railway tracks for people travelling to and from Willwell Farm. There’s no sign of the railway track any more, but I traced them on Insight Mapping and discovered the next railway bridge south is part of Clifton Road in Ruddington. This is the bridge that used to provide access to the long-forgotten Ruddington Station.

You can also see on Insight that the modern tram tracks join-up with what used to be railway tracks on their journey toward the city. I’ve included a comparitive map showing the same spot before trams and railways cleaved through the land.

Willwell comparative map 1
The site of the bridge in 2018 on Insight Mapping. The dark grey curved line above and to the left of the arrow marks the modern tram track.
Willwell comparative map 2
The bridge marked on a map produced sometime between 1912 and 1919. Willwell Farm is marked to the east of the bridge.
Willwell comparative map 3
I remember when this was all fields! Before railways, trams and bridges.

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