Jacksdale and Westwood are villages situated in West Nottinghamshire, in the upper Erewash Valley on the Notts/Derbyshire border, approximately three miles from Junction 27 of the M1 and 14 miles from the centres of Derby, Nottingham and Mansfield.
Award winning villages, Jacksdale and Westwood were national runners up and also regional winners for the Central England category in the ‘Calor Gas Village of the Year Awards’ 2002 in recognition of community spirit and achievement. The Competition was televised and broadcast on the Living Channel, we came second nationally and were very nearly first. As first time entrants this was an amazing achievement and is was great to see the whole village join together to achieve this under the leadership of Edward Holmes. Enid Lyndsay spoke for the Welfare, Shirley Houseman for Selston Parish Council and Westwood, United Reform, Carol Taylor-Cockayne for Heritage and Alison Buckman for BADJER News and many more speakers were there on the day. It was a great result for all.
Jacksdale is perhaps locally famous or infamous for three or four things primarily. One being the Grey Topper Club located in the old Picture Palace on Selston Road, Jacksdale. Rather vibrant nights at this hostelry gave the village a reputation it later had to ‘live down’ but generally a good time was had by all due to bands of world renown appearing there, despite occasional fighting in the streets. Also for fifty years, we were the village whose soldier statue from the village war memorial was missing as it fell off and smashed to pieces in 1959. We did not believe it could ever be replaced but in 2009 we ensured its return. We were also home to the Portland Arms Hotel, a railway station hostelry serving beer to the local forge workers 24 hours a day and also serving as a centre for inquests, post mortems and other such morbid enquiries. And of course, we can never forget the hugely monstrous Jacksdale Viaducts, to some a celebration of the feats of engineering, to others, a blot on the landscape. We were also home to the James Oakes Pye Hill Colliery, and their Clay Pipes Works, bygones of a former era.
Once in a heavy industrial area, the villages have now returned to green and leafy rural communities. Many of the former industrial areas have been landscaped having now matured into vibrant nature reserves with a vast array of wildlife and many footpaths with pleasant views. There are interesting walks nearby leading to the medieval remains of Codnor Castle; a meander along the route of the old Cromford Canal to the beautiful Codnor Park Reservoir; or a countryside ramble from Westwood to the old coaching inn at Stoneyford or perhaps, in another direction, from Westwood ‘Dumbles’ to the village of Bagthorpe, home to three historic inns with beer gardens and children’s facilities serving delicious food and ales. At nearby Golden Valley, there is a camping and caravan site.
Not far away is DH Lawrence’s, Eastwood and the famous Hagg’s Farm at Underwood. Underwood is also home to the ancient Felley Priory and just a few miles away is Lord Byron’s Newstead Abbey.
Unusually for such rural villages, Jacksdale and Westwood have managed to retain a large selection of shops, trading outlets and facilities and is a very friendly and welcoming place to visit, where passers-by still greet one another and pass the time of day. We have a village tearoom selling delicious home made recipes and a well-stocked charity shop excellent when browsing for a bargain. There is village garden centre ideal for a day out with its own dedicated tearoom with outdoor verandah and just a short distance away is a ranch store selling equestrian products and animal feeds. Excellent meats and home made pies are available at our village butcher’s (try the tomato sausage rolls or the pork and Stilton pies). Groceries and off licence sales can be purchased at the Co-Operative Supermarket. We have three hair dressing/beauty salons and a village barber’s shop. Medical services are answered by our village medical centre and also by our very helpful, friendly and welcoming village chemist and N.H.S. dental practice. Fast foods are traditional fish and chips and also a Chinese take away. Other local services include an NAEA & ARLA registered estate agency and lettings, a Coral Betting Shop, very efficient post office, electrical distributor, clothes shop and hardware and Bits’ N Pieces car parts/hardware outlet.
At nearby Pye Hill, there is Knightsbridge Garage. a car body work specialists, an MOT Centre, hand car wash centre, Beard’s Engineering, Henshaw’s coach tours, Paradise Windows upvc window manufacturer and installers, a wrought iron specialist, and Regal Joinery. We also have many very competent and accredited tradesmen serving our village such as roofers, builders, gas engineers, plumbers, landscape gardeners, jet-washers, decorators, handymen and even a stonemason.
Village facilities include a village library, a well kept community centre with free parking, a miner’s welfare with function rooms, children’s adventure play area and a sports field with purpose built changing rooms and showers. The welfare as a charity, also provide free meeting spaces for many local youth groups and clubs. In Jacksdale there is also a friendly social club offering live music and at Westwood we have two traditional village pubs, one having a micro brewery.
There are three recreation grounds:- Wharf Green at Jacksdale with toddler’s play area, animal sculptures and a nature trail; Pye Hill adventure play area and also at Westwood, a recreation ground with a small multi gym, swings and football field. For the more adventurous, Westwood is home to ‘Spheremania, Nottingham’ the longest zorbing run in Europe.
We have two schools, Jacksdale Primary, Infants and Nursery and also Westwood Infants and Nursery as well as three churches, St Mary’s, Westwood (C of E) ; Jacksdale Centrepoint Christian Centre, Franklin Rd, Jacksdale (Assembles of God) and Westwood Palmerston Street, (United Reform.) The churches work together and with the community by offering meeting rooms to many local clubs and societies.
There is also a vast array of clubs, societies and groups, from Brownies to Bowls Clubs, Jacksdale Jotters our writer’s circle, ‘Crafty Badjers’ and ‘Nimble Fingers’ Craft Groups, Tai Chai, Wragsters Kick Boxers, Army Cadets, Table Tennis, Weightwatchers, Walking Clubs, Movement to Music, Art Clubs, Pye Hill Male Voice Choir, local Football Teams, Pensioners Groups and Mums and Toddlers and much, much more. So there is something for everyone, of any age or inclination.
Jacksdale, originally called ‘Jack’s Dale’ is a relatively new village, only 110 years old. Born of the need for heavy industrialization at the turn of the last century, it has somehow stood the test of time and retained its village core. In 1911 it was a small centre of local commerce and now over one hundred years later, it still is. Before that, there was just Jack’s Dale Farm situated on York Avenue and Worthington’s Dale Farm on Church Hill. The land at Dale Farm was sold in the early 1980s and a new housing estate was built which effectively joined Jacksdale and Westwood together.
Westwood was originally a very tiny farming hamlet with only one or two local farms and some stockinger’s cottages at the ‘Bents’ dating back to the 1700’s and perhaps before. In the mid 1800’s ‘Westwoodville’ was developed, long rows of terraced cottages at Palmerston Street (Old Westwood) and also at New Westwood for coal miner’s and iron worker’s families. Over the passing decades, Westwood has also re-invented itself, still home to a small infant’s school, threatened with closure on one or two rare occasions but re-invigorated by local support that affirms the need for its existence, green and rolling landscapes and a return to being the more traditionally rural part of our community.
If you have time one day to visit Jacksdale or Westwood, I hope you will feel that you have been made welcome. It will be a little like stepping backing in time, to the days you may remember when growing up, when neighbours looked out for each other and people in the streets said “aye up”. Where our dog walking fraternity, share ‘doggy tales’ with you in the park and point out the best routes and fellow walkers, say “Gud Morning” when you meet at a stile. And then suddenly, you will be hit by a very strange feeling, and you will suddenly find yourself saying, “I can’t hear anything – why is it so quiet?” And then you will know you are here!