We hope you are keeping well during these unusual times.
Is it really five months since the last newsletter? Although the site has been locked-down and eerily quiet at times, we have not been idle. Some of our volunteers have taken their “exercise” maintaining the nature trails and tending the plants in the Nunckley Nursery. More recently, with the easing of restrictions, we have been modifying the standard gauge track in front of the railway museum and workshop, whilst inside the workshop we have been laying a new concrete floor.
Although the restrictions may have slowed progress on some of our projects, others have reached completion.
The extended lock-down in Leicester made us think carefully about when and how we should open. Opening, only to go back into lock-down was likely to be devastating for us. So we delayed our opening slightly; our entire site will now open on Thursday 16th July. Like all visitor attractions we have thought carefully about how we can open safely. If you have any concerns then take a look at our Covid-19 precautions.
So what’s new?
LMS CLASS 3F (JINTY) 0-6-0T No.47406 has arrived at the railway museum. This is the loco that HRH Prince Charles rode to the Heritage Centre back in January 2017. Although we are sad that in the short term it has been removed from service (awaiting its 10 year boiler overhaul) we are delighted that it has found a new home here at the Heritage Centre. It is likely to be with us for about a year.
The Brake van and “Sunday school” wagon are now open to view via a new accessible walkway.
The plank wagon has been laid out ready for the regular “Sunday School” outings. Step inside and Sophie will tell you about her day trip to the big house. Whilst in the Brake Van Alfred will educate you about his role as a guard.
We will shortly be opening a new trail around the base of the quarry, offering an alternative route behind the railway museum, skirting the edge of the quarry to the water crane. We have also extended the narrow gauge track, producing a loop to the West (left) of the Railway Museums. The new trail will provide an excellent view point when we run our narrow gauge engines. STOP PRESS: The trail is now OPEN and has allowed us to implement a one-way system down to the Quarry and Railway museums and then back to the Stonemasons’ huts via the new path.
The Nunckley Nursery is now open for plant sales. We had just built the greenhouse and started cultivating our plants when lock-down intervened. Several of our volunteers have spent their “exercise” time watering and tending the plants so that now restrictions are easing they are available for you to buy.
Take your time when walking past the Stonemasons’ Huts where Firley, the sett maker, is patiently waiting for his son to return with a tub wagon.
And finally, we have been busy adding further material to the Learning Hub. There are now over 850 historical photos, videos and nature guides. Plenty to keep you occupied on a wet day.
The Garden Railway and Crazy Golf are open as usual, albeit with restrictions. The Shack is open for take-away snacks, drinks and ice creams and now accepts contact-less payment. You will also notice that the adjacent seating area has parasols to protect you from the sun (?) and rain!
Of course Granite’s is open as usual, again with a range of Covid-19 precautions.
So after such a long break we hope you have the confidence to come and see for yourself the changes that we have made.