The Trent - history and geography

History of Trent

At 170 miles, the Trent is Britain's third-longest river, after the Thames and the Severn. It wasonce the rival to the Thames as a trade route, opening the passage between the industrial Black Country and the ocean. Historically and culturally, it split England, North from South.

Armies determined on conquest marched across it, the Romans garrisoned it, Cavaliers and Roundheads battled each other along it in some of the fiercest engagements of the Civil War.

An important river

In short, the Trent is one of our most significant rivers. Yet these days it hardly maps on the shared consciousness, except for those from the counties along its journey (Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, in case you're wondering).

Until recently the Trent's main function was to remove the industrial and human wastes of the East Midlands, a fun vibrant area. As a result, the river was disgustingly polluted, biologically useless for much of its length, and you would have been insane to try boating on it. Now that the industry is gone and water treatment is substantially improved, it is restored and cleansed - a river once more, rather than a sewer.

Get in touch with The Trent information and history

The Trent - history and geography

This site is all about the River Trent – its beautiful surrounding environment, the wildlife that thrives of it and its history.

The River Trent

Running for almost 100 miles from Shardlow to Trent Falls, where both the Trent and the Ouse empty their waters into the Humber, the Trent is a passage which still carries a substantial amount of commercial traffic – particularly in its lower reaches. Beneath Cromwell Lock, it is tidal and subject to a periodic tidal bore which can be likened to that seen on the River Severn, but to a lesser effect. This is referred to locally as an 'aegir'.

The Trent Valley Way

The Trent Valley Way is a long walking route, which goes along the banks of the river. The scenery is largely arable farmland, with villages, churches, watermills and old crossings along the way. Newark Castle sits right on the banks of the river, its high walls falling straight down to the water.

Close to Nottingham is the National Watersports Centre, where you can do many fun activities, such as canoeing, sailing, water-skiing and rowing. The British Canoe Union is located here. For a more peaceful day out, there is the Attenborough Nature Reserve, a number of lakes that house a wide variety of wildlife.

For boaters, the broad and fast-flowing River Trent is quite a contrast to the canals. But the tidal reaches beneath Cromwell Lock are only suitable for experienced boaters.

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