All roads lead to Retford for huge weekend of heritage, literature and canals

Canal trips on the Seth Ellis will be one of the events on offer at the heritage day.
Canal trips on the Seth Ellis will be one of the events on offer at the heritage day.

Retford is set to host one of its biggest weekends yet next month with thousands of people expected to visit the town and be part of three very special events.

Over the weekend of September 13-15, the town’s traditional heritage day will take place alongside the very first North Notts Literary Festival, as well as the start of the Chesterfield Canal Walking festival.

The Majestic Theatre is one of the venues taking part in Retford heritage day.

The Majestic Theatre is one of the venues taking part in Retford heritage day.

The combination of these events promises to be a huge tourism boost for the area and showcase the rich heritage, literary talent and beautiful scenery that Retford and north Nottinghamshire has to offer.

Coun Jo White, cabinet member for regeneration at Bassetlaw Council, said: “There really will be something for everyone as part of an action-packed weekend that promises to be one of Retford’s biggest ever.

“We hope that as well as the regular supporters of the heritage day, new and exciting events will attract first-time visitors to Retford and the surrounding area.

“The council is extremely proud to support all three events and enable even more people to see exactly what a beautiful and diverse region north Nottinghamshire is.”

The annual heritage day event has been running for the past 12 years and traditionally incorporates a central theme.

And this year is no different with the event focusing on Chesterfield Canal and Retford’s working heritage.

On Saturday, September 14, venues including Bassetlaw Museum, the Majestic Theatre, Harrison’s Brewery and Retford Library will host guided tours and dedicated talks.

There will also be narrowboat trips along the Chesterfield Canal and many other events taking place throughout the town, culminating with an evening performance by Harworth Brass at Retford Town Hall.

Derek Turner, chairman of Retford Civic Society, which organises the heritage day, said: “Visitors will receive a warm welcome to our marvellous market town and this is a once-a-year chance to explore the world on your doorstep.

“All of the day’s events and attractions throughout the town are family friendly – and best of all they are all completely free.”

The literary festival starts on September 13 and runs throughout the weekend with a host of award-winning writers, poets and performers staging events for all ages.

Events will include talks from Retford author Stephen Booth, sharing the secrets to his international success, BAFTA Award-winning writer and TV producer Henry Normal and poet Paul Cookson hosting an evening of Pies, Peas and Performances, and other special guests including writer and historian Emily Brand and Talegate Theatre.

Liz Carney-Marsh, festival ambassador, said: “I’m thrilled to say that we are finally able to showcase the literary talent that exists within north Nottinghamshire to a much wider audience.

“The creation of this festival is a natural evolution of our short story competition and it will shine a light on all the good things are already happening within the local literary community.

“The festival will celebrate outstanding local authors, poets and performers as well as bring together local businesses and organisations to allow literary lovers to explore and enjoy what north Nottinghamshire has to offer.”

Finally, the Chesterfield Canal Walking Festival is back for a second year following the inaugural series of routes that attracted hundreds of walkers and canal enthusiasts to the towpaths of the canal last year.

The festival begins on September 14 and over the subsequent nine days, its 53 guided walks will cover the full length of the canal, which runs through three counties, including events incorporated as part of the heritage day.

Rod Auton, publicity officer at the canal trust, said: “This year’s festival offers a wide range of walks from just two miles to the full 46 miles of the canal.

“There is also plenty of variety and walkers will get to experience the local wildlife, history, geocaching and engineering walks, plus the opportunity to combine a walk with a boat trip.”

“As part of heritage day, there will be several historic boats near the town lock, the chance to try paddle boarding and interactive family performances.

“Alarum Theatre Company will also be giving a free performance of its much-acclaimed show Idle Women show at Retford Little Theatre.”

The North Nottinghamshire BID is supporting both the heritage day and the literacy festival.

Sally Gillnborn, BID chief executive, said: “Both events are fantastic for the local community and will attract visitors from surrounding areas.

“They will also bring much-needed footfall to the town centres to help local businesses thrive, whilst at the same time showcasing our wonderful area.”

More information, event guides and timings for all three events can be found on the websites for the heritage day, Retford Civic Society, the literary festival and the canal trust.

Programmes will also be available from Bassetlaw Museum, Denman Library and The Hub.

All three events can also be found on Facebook.

For more information about what's on in Nottinghamshire, click here.