Nottingham Road - Off The Beaten Track

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

When reminiscing about Nottingham Road, set in the heart of the Midland Meander,images of roaring log fires, fine wine and dining and spectacular scenery spring to mind for those who have had the pleasure of visiting this popular area. Upon the British annexation of Natal in 1849 the Bryne Immigration Scheme was set up to lure British immigrants to South Africa. Families were required to pay ten pound, which paid for passage from Scotland and a small plot of land believed to be approximately 20 acres. Today the majority of the locals still claim strong family links to the Highlands and sound of the bagpipes can be heard echoing around this beautiful area. The Bells Fort Nottingham Highland Dancing and Traditional Games, a popular attraction with locals and visitors still occur on an annual basis. This majestic display, typical of Scottish traditional games, encompasses highland dancing, pipe bands and other traditional Scottish activities found at Highland gatherings around the world. The Midlands Meander, a well-known tourist attraction that stretches from Pietermaritzburg through to Mooi River, has added to the town’s attraction.The Nottingham Road Brewery, which issituated a short drive outside town, produces some of the finest beers available in the Midlands. Nestling in the shady grounds of the elegant Rawdon’s Hotel, this thriving independent brewery is well worth a visit. Established in 1996, the secret of the company’s success lies in the outstanding range of beers and ales it produces. With labels such as Tiddly Toad Lager and Pye-eyed Possum Pilsner an adventure is sure to be had; possibly leaving a croak in the throat in the morning, for those who over indulge. The Brew Gift Shop offers these beers on tap as well as a unique beer-based cheese manufactured from the Pickled Pig Porter brand of beer that is produced by the brewery.Another famous attraction is the historical Nottingham Road Hotel. Established as a staging post between Ladysmith and Pietermaritzburg, it houses the old pub in KwaZulu-Natal. A hotel with this amount of history would not be complete without a resident ghost and Notties, as it is affectionately known, certainly delivers on this point. Although very little is known about the actual person, the story goes that Charlotte, a lady of the night, fell in love with a British Army officer stationed in the area. Her advances, however, were spurned and although the details are a little hazy and the story changes from speaker to speaker, she somehow fell from the balcony adjoining room No 10. Although there is no documented evidence of her death, guests have reported strange happenings in the room. Lights, taps and the TV are mysteriously turned on and off and many of the staff are emphatic that have seen her image roaming the corridors of the hotel.This tiny village has secured a well-deserved place in the hearts of South Africans. Beautiful at any time of the year, the area truly comes alive when it starts to snow. Visitors flock to the small hamlet, enjoying the sights that the snowfalls bring. Life just seems to be more pleasant basking in the glow and warmth of a roaring fire while sipping on glasses of warm gluwijn and once visitor have experienced this, most return eager to share a tiny part of this magnificent place.

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