Summer Cruise#1-Day 14 The National Memorial Arboretum


With early sunshine due and in keeping with our Hodma’dod  existence; we aimed to stay put today, let the solar panels soak up the energy and perhaps embark on the long walk to the National Memorial Arboretum, just a few miles away. Alrewas is such a pretty little village and we marvelled at all the blossom on the trees – not sure what the trees are (answers please!):

However, getting to the Arboretum is another matter – there’s no public transport and the “getting there from the canal” instructions had a convoluted walk along the A38.  There is a gap to walk across the A38 – but why on earth is there no bridge? There is a memorial garden to road traffic victims – maybe a bridge too?? Ironically people have been injured and even killed crossing this road.

Four lanes of 70+mph A38 plus a slip road to cross!

It’s about 30 minutes on this route.  The Arboretum sits on 150 acres and has 300 memorials with more than 30,000 trees. The rivers Tame and Trent meet (see top of diagram) and there are cafes and restaurants – a splendid set up indeed. We walked (over 17,000 steps!) around the whole site, popping in to visit some of the memorials – especially the ones we sort of were involved with – such as the Falklands conflict – Steve had just joined the Combined Cadet Force and as a little, naive temporary-acting Sub Lieutenant, was on an army camp in north Wales when the Falklands were invaded! He thought he would be whisked off to war! A lot of military personnel were – civilians too. Some didn’t come back.

Obviously, lots from the two world wars – some grouped into campaigns, others by the regiment that took part. Beautiful but chilling.  The whole park is exceedingly well laid out – even has a dog path.

More poignantly for us – the Falklands one:

And the Naval memorial – beautiful . .

When I did my “advanced” training – it was just one week at a curious place called HMS Royal Arthur – now long since demolished.  It was where they trained Petty Officers for leadership . . . it was a tough week!

This is a second World War memorial to 47 squadron (I think) :

There were memorials to folk who lost their lives whilst involved in non-military service, such as the RNLI, YMCA, or even as civilians resisting invaders – like the Falklanders:

We walked our socks off! Toby too. But he enjoyed a game with the ball here at the confluence of the Trent and Tame.  Odd to think we’ll be on the Trent soon .  . . .

One of our friends served with the Paras – here’s their wonderful memorial

These next two photos are ancient and modern. The ancient part is the “Shot at Dawn” memorial to the mainly, boys who were shot for desertion or perceived cowardice.  The modern bit is the government who only recently gave a pardon to these sad guys.

Each post has the guy’s name, rank and age – if known – usually 17 – 26 years!

Back in the main hall there was an exhibition of war pictures, using mixed media (?) with large ceramic poppies – very striking:


This the big Armed Forces memorial – to those losing theirs lives since the Second World War.

Looking back to the main hall.

And on a much lighter note – the famous butcher’s was open in Alrewas – Peter Coates. Where we bought in more supplies, including a kilo of mince for £4.95! Smashing little shop.

 There’s an Alrewas Fryer in town too – so chips could be on the menu tonight.  We can wholeheartedly recommend a stop here for a few days – there’s a Co-op, Indian & Chinese as well as those three pubs.

The Arboretum is also a must-see and free to visit.