When English settlers began exploring the interior of Natal during the 1830s, the governors of the colony began allocating generous tracts of land to pioneers. Cattle farms, sheep farms and horse studs were started and in 1856, Fort Nottingham was erected to protect the settlers against San stock raiders. The village that developed besides the fort was dubbed Nottingham Road. The town lies some 20 km south of Mooi River and lies on one of the Midlands Meander routes. Many of the attractions of the Meander are to be found in the Nottingham Road area.
Adventure And Sport
Springvale Horse Trials: Held in August of every year, this is now one of the most popular equestrian gatherings in South Africa.
Trout-fishing: In the Nottingham Road area there are several places that afford great trout-fishing possibilities.
Art And Crafts
Midlands Meander: As one of the main attractions on the Meander, Nottingham Road contains several establishments that sell outlandish wares varying from statues of fairies to jewellery and handmade glass products. Follow this part of the Meander and you will have hours of delight.
Nottingham Road Brewing Company: First enjoyed in 1996, this brew is prepared from pure malt in the age-old German tradition. Though not mass-produced, visitors are able to purchase bottled varieties in the Brewery Shop. In order to truly savour the unusual experience visit the local pub and call for a Tiddley Toad (lager), Whistling Weasel (pale ale) or Pie-Eyed Possum (Pilsener) to name but a few.
History And Architecture
Fort Nottingham: Fort Nottingham was built in 1856 by colonial authorities. Its first garrison, the First Battalion of the appropriately named Sherwood Foresters (from whom the town’s name is derived) protected the settler-farmers against San stock raids, but their efforts proved largely ineffectual until the 1869 Reprisal launched from the fort swayed the campaign in the settlers’ favour.
St John’s Gowrie Presbyterian Church: This building, made of iron and wood, was selected from a catalogue. The components were then shipped from England in kit form and assembled here.
Trout Memorial: The arrival of trout in 1884 focused attention on the area. A memorial in the Trout Bungalow grounds commemorates the occasion.
Vintage and Steam Festival: This weekend festival was originally intended to showcase tractors and other implements used by the country’s farming pioneers. It has now expanded to include classic cars, motorbikes, buses and the latest technological advances in agricultural machinery. Carthorses and sheepdogs show off their abilities while children proudly display their prize animals.