Thursday 1 September 2011

The River Trent

My personal challenge for this round of Miss Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday is to post about a location within the borders of my own county of Derbyshire, UK, for each letter of the alphabet.

Look for the letter, to see where I am.

T is for the River Trent.


The river Trent runs right across south Derbyshire, entering the county from Burton on Trent in Staffordshire, skirting below Derby and heading east towards Nottingham; forming part of the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border on its way. 

At 171 miles, the Trent is one of Britain's more significant rivers. It is also unusual in that, for the latter half of its route, it flows north, eventually emptying into the Ouse and thus the Humber Estuary, close to Kingston upon Hull.

It hasn't always been called the 'Trent'. Under Roman rule, the river was the Trisantona, while the eighth century name was Treonte. The origins of the name are thought to come from the Celtic words tros (over) and hynt (way), probably referring to the way the river bisects many of the old tracks and trails, meaning that fords and ferries needed to be utilised to keep the flow of traffic moving.

The section of river which flows through Derbyshire is not navigable (though there were many disputes and much work done to change that fact back in the 18th Century, including some very underhand tactics used to prevent rival merchants from landing goods from the river - scuppering a barge to block a cutting; a line of guarded boats to form a barrier...)

Ultimately, river disputes were solved by the completion of the Trent and Mersey canal in 1777 at which time the Trent ceased to be used as a navigation upstream of Shardlow in Derbyshire.

Going further back in history, one might be pleased that the Trent had its navigable limitations, as the Danes and Anglo Saxons sailed up her to attack England!

Of course, the river has to earn its keep and there are a number of power stations along its route, including the now decommissioned one at Willington, just south of Derby.

Pylons in the countryside are not generally pretty, but there is something oddly attractive about the pattern of the structure.

This is Swarkestone Bridge, the 18th century replacement for a more ancient structure, most of which still remains, forming a narrow causeway over the wetlands towards Stanton by Bridge.

When the bridge section of the ancient structure was demolished, the stones were tossed into the Trent and left on the river bed, causing the broken water you see here.

Swarkestone Bridge marks the southernmost point of the journey of Prince Charles Edward Stuart (The Bonnie Prince of Scotland) in his campaign to take the English throne. With no support coming from France, it was at this point that the Prince's generals decided to turn back. The date was December 4th, 1745.

It's much more peaceful around here now (except for the constant hum of traffic) and this looks like an idyllic place to live. Nevertheless, I would think more than twice before buying a house this close to the water. The river does have a tendency to flood!

As you can see from the links, this is not the first time I've posted about parts of the river. It is close to home, full of history and extremely photogenic. How could I ignore that? :)


  1. It's so pretty! I was just thinking I'd love to live there...then you mentioned the flooding!

  2. So picturesque. I really enjoy your glimpses of Derbyshire and would love to visit one day.


  3. I love all water and this river is quite appealing.

  4. Very informative post, and great photos!

  5. A very beautiful river course indeed!

  6. It's nice to learn about your country Great post

  7. Love your posting for Alphabe-Thursday's "T" - just perfect.

    Such a peaceful, flowing river(for now at least!) and the curvatures of the causeway are very pretty.

  8. Love the Swarkestone Bridge. Fabulous !
    I am so enjoying your Alphabet posting around your area.

    cheers, parsnip

  9. Once again you've fed the history buff in me. Anyone who goes back to 1777 has my vote ;-)
    Tina @ Life is Good

  10. Beautiful photos! The river looks so peaceful and the bridge is a beauty! This is my first visit to your blog -- I'll have to go back and read more!
    (Thanks for your comment on my blog - my first time for Alphabe-Thursday also)

  11. It does have the look of a river that could easily overflow its banks - I'd be wanting to live up hill.

  12. Beautiful photo's.You live in such a beautiful country. We have been in the Cotswolds in July and amazed me the Derbishire and Warwickshire and I am not sure in which shire we were.BUt is was a wonderful holiday and I am still writing about it in my blog. Beautiful country as I said. Want to go back there.
    I am going to follow your blog .

  13. I absolutely love how you combine Jenny's challenge with educating us about your country -- way to go! :)

    Greetings from Germany,

    PS: See my T post here! :)

  14. Another terrific post, H. River Trent runs through some idyllic countryside, but unless there are flood controls upstream, don't think I'd want to be close to its edge either. I agree that pylons (Canadians call them hydro poles) can be oddly appealing, but I think more in photos than in the landscape itself. :-)

  15. Beautiful! I love visiting Derbyshire with you. Thank you for another great tour and history lesson. The photos are always fantastic, too. I wonder if you have something for X?
    When I look at your map, I always smile. My father was born in Leicestershire, so the lower right corner always catches my eye.

  16. I imagined myself sitting on the bank of this lovely river...a chicken salad sandwich, a cold bottle of water...

    I felt like I was really visiting you this week. And it was a terrific time.

    Thanks for inviting me along!

    I love this series of links you're doing. I really think you need to send them to your Visitors Bureau. It's such a unique way to visit where you live.

    Thank you!


  17. This is definitely a very nice river to photograph :) Can't blame you for wanting to talk about it more than once! I wish I could live in one of those houses by the river :)