Old Colwick Wood
Come away to Colwick wildwood-
Come away to Colwick Lane:
As we wandered there in childhood,
Let us wander there again.
So sang Edward Hind, in 1853, but I knew “Colwick woods” many years before that date, and it was this earlier picture which must have been in the poet’s eye when he pleaded: “Let us wander there again”. He might then have justly said “If you come you will find it changed,” for the Midland Railway was then on the scene. At my first visit I was a toddler in charge, I think, of my-sister, who was three years my senior; our errand was gathering spring nettles to make “nettle porridge”, one of our old family recipes. This was “spring medicine”. I think it is now forgotten. The Midland Railway line occupies the site of the then “Colwick-lane”, and along its south side was the wall of Colwick Park, the entrance to which was opposite the Hall, or where the bridge over the metals occurs.
Its woodland character gave it a local popularity. It was more accessible than Clifton Grove, and was visited by “Gipsy parties”, or workmen wending there, usually at their master’s expense, for a half-day summer holiday.On this picture a dark shadow was cast in 1844 when William Saville took his wife and children to murder them in that pleasant wood, and made it “notorious”.In 1846 or 1847 as a boy operative, I was one of a “gipsy party” that went there well provisioned, and we had “the day of our lives”.
WILLIAM STEVENSON, Mansfield