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SITE 229 RIVER SOAR

OS REF:SK59551239-SK58991491

Site 229 The length within Rothley Parish

The River Wreake (right) and River Soar junction.

Site 229 Two parts of the River Soar within Rothley Parish were canalised but it is the river that forms the parish boundary.

Date: 2nd May 2002

The River Soar forms the boundary between Rothley and Cossington with the centre of the river being the boundary.

It is also part of the Rothley Ancient Ecclesiastical Boundary (RAPS) and details of that survey are attached.

The start of the Rothley parish part begins just beyond its junction with the River Wreake after which it turns past the Cossington Mill Weir, under the Cossington Road and joins us with the canalised section just beyond Osier Villa. As the River Soar is the boundary it means that Osier Villa is in Rothley. This part of the Soar valley was a big osier growing area stretching from Thurmaston and there was a big industry based at Britannia Works opposite Roundhill School in Thurmaston at the company of Elmores. They made the wicker furniture used on the White Star Liners such as the Lusitania. It has all been pulled down.

There is a lovely carving of a basket with osiers on the wall of Osier Villa.

On the banks of the river by Site 187 Soar Meadow Hay Flat there are interesting remains of stone work and the question is-did we have a mill on this part of the River Soar? One has never been found in old records.

Further on from Osier Villa there is a small island which is also in the Rothley parish with the remains of a residence. Owner unknown.

The river gets very interesting just before it reaches Sileby Mill as do the adjoining fields with their strange shallow curved areas that look like the course of a diverted stretch of water. The parish boundary weaves a strange course before joining up with the river as we see it today.

There is much wildlife along the river banks and the whole area is surrounded by Cossington Meadows Wildlife Site, Charnwood Lodge Wildlife Site and Mountsorrel Meadows.

Site 229 Cossington Lock is a Listed Canal Building. Looking to Cossington Lane with a modern road bridge. 2003

Site 229 Cossington Mill is just outside the Rothley Parish but the Ancient and Modern Boundary runs down the centre of the River Soar. April 2003

Site 229 The Rothley Ancient and Modern Parish Boundary runs down the centre of the river under the second bridge on Cossington Lane. April 2003

Site 229 The Rothley Ancient and Modern Parish Boundary runs down the centre of the river under the second bridge on Cossington Lane. April 2003

Site 229 Where the River Soar and River Wreake meet. This is the Rothley Parish Boundary point. April 2003

Site 229 An interesting feature on the banks of the River Soar in Site 302 Oxholm. April 2003

Site 229 Cossington Mill bridge. The River Soar flows under to the Cossington Mill to the weir shown below. In the late 1940's this was a wooden hump back bridge with quite a few of the slats missing. This was quite a challenge when very young and I remember it well! April 2003

The original wooden bridge.

I remember this when I was a small child in the late 1940's as it was part of a regular family walk from our house on the Wanlip Road in Syston. There were slats missing and plenty of holes which were rather daunting to a young child.

Site 229 The right hand side of the weir is in Rothley Parish. Cossington Mill on the left out of sight. April 2003

Site 229 The River Soar beyond Osier Villa. Cossington Meadows Nature Reserve to the right. April 2007

Site 229 Rothley Brook meets the River Soar just beyond Osier Villa and this footbridge marks the end of the brook. July 2007. The bridge has since been replaced by one without wooden bars to climb over.

Site 229 Looking to Sileby. Boats have a permanent mooring by Farnham Bridge Marsh Site 131. April 2007

Site 229 A wedding was taking place on the river. April 2007

Site 229 Osier Villa stand between the River Soar and the canal and is within the Parish of Rothley. May 2002

Site 229 The plaque can be clearly seen from the bridge. May 2002

Site 229 The canework industry was once a feature of the Soar Valley with its many osier beds. Cane baskets and furniture were made at Elmore's in Thurmaston. May 2002

Site 229 The canal passes by Osier Villa under the old hump back bridge as seen in 1954.

Cossington Mill has seen many changes but in April 2006 the outbuildings were under re-contruction.

ROTHLEY ANCIENT PARISH SURVEY (RAPS)

STINT R1

Date: 5th April 2006

Observers: Brian Verity, Terry Sheppard, Marion Vincent

Location: Site accessed from the towpath along the canal by Cossington Mill.

OS Ref: SK59521249-SK59551271

Map Title: This stint runs down the centre of the River Soar, which adjoins Site 187 Soar Meadow Hay Flat

Owners: British Waterways

This stint starts from the bank of the River Soar at the end of Stint 39. The boundary is the centre of the River Soar. This stint runs from the end of Stint 39 as far as the junction of the River Soar with the River Wreake.

There is nothing to record as part of natural history although this watery part of the Parish Boundary could be a separate site at a future date.

I have given the River Soar a site number of Site 229 in my Natural History of Rothley Parish survey.

STINT R2

Date: 5th April 2006

Observers: Brian Verity, Terry Sheppard, Marion Vincent

Location: Site accessed from the towpath along the canal by Cossington Mill.

OS Ref: SK59551271-SK59501305

Map Title: This stint runs down the centre of the River Soar, Site 229, which adjoins Site 187 Soar Meadow Hay Flat and Site 230 Cossington Mill Copse.

Owners: British Waterways

This stint starts from the junction of the River Soar and the River Wreake, running down the centre of the River Soar for a very short distance until it turns under the bridge towards Cossington Mill. At the bridge the Grand Union Canal takes the boats to avoid the weir at Cossington Mill. The stint runs down the centre of the weir, under the road bridge to emerge on the Cossington side of Osier Villa where it joins up with the canal to continue down the centre of the River Soar towards Sileby Mill.

As in Stint R1, there is nothing to record for natural history but the River Soar has been given a site number for future recording along the river and riverbanks.

STINT R3

Date: 26th April 2006

Observers: Brian Verity, Terry Sheppard, Marion Vincent

Location: Site accessed from Mill Lane, Sileby to Sileby Mill

OS Ref: SK59401470-SK59151485 (Ancient hedgerow SK59301465-SK59261471)

Map Title: This Stint runs down the centre of the River Soar from Osier Villa, Cossington Lane, Rothley to Sileby Mill. Site 229 River Soar and Sites 231 (1) and 231 (2) Sileby Mill Fields.

Owners: British Waterways.

We have left a gap of the River Soar from the end of Osier Villa's garden on Cossington Lane, Rothley, to Sileby Mill as the boundary runs down the centre of the River Soar so nothing to record. As the river approaches Sileby Mill it all becomes very interesting and a few questions can be raised as you use the boundary maps to relate to what is on the ground.

The boundary turns left down the weir close to Sileby Mill but, after a short distance, it suddenly turns right into a field and along a hedge before meeting up again with the water. However, this hedgerow line of trees continues as far as the mill asking the question if this could have been the ancient boundary instead of turning to join the water a little further down. There is a major Ash Tree growing between the lock and the weir, which makes you think that it was planted before the locks were built and changes made to the course of the waters that surround the mill. There are also remnants of ancient Hawthorn on the far side of the channel, looking in isolation in the present day. Parkland type railings can still be seen close to the more modern wooden bridge and fencing.

However, we are working from the maps and our boundary therefore emerges to the left of the locks where it once again runs down the centre of the water towards Bridge 23 Roving Bridge.

When you stand on Roving Bridge and survey the landscape it asks many questions of you. Why is there another water channel further left? Was this the original river as it does meander casually through the field? What is the raised semi-circular ridge that we can see close to the Roving Bridge? This looks as though it could be the bank of a watercourse. We spoke to the owner of the Sileby Boat-yard who said that this semi-circular area was part of his land as it shows in the Title Deeds. This re-enforces the idea that the water at one time did run along this raised bank.

We spoke to a man from British Waterways who was checking on lock safety and he advised to contact the company in Newarke and speak to the Heritage Department to see if they could help with maps and information.

However, I did have a piece of Ancient Hedgerow in this stint made up of regular spaced Hawthorn with ancient trunks, Boundary Ash Trees, the largest with a girth of 1.9 metres and Dog Rose. Considering how wet it can get with flooding they have all survived very well but the largest Ash mentioned above is the biggest tree with an estimated girth of 3-4 metres. It was dangerously inaccessible, hence the estimate!

This is an extremely interesting part of the Ancient and the Present Day Boundary.

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