Nottinghamshire Walks: Following The River Trent and The Trent Valley Way From Gunthorpe to Rolleston

6 Jun

This stage of the walk along the Trent and Trent Valley Way is quite short and follows the river closely through grassy fields opposite tree-covered escarpment on the other bank.

The Trent Valley Way diverges from the River Trent surprisingly often and as such can’t strictly be interpreted as a source to sea walk (even if the Trent actually reached the sea rather than enter the Humber). Therefore my descriptions of the Way and of the River Walk frequently have to be two different routes. Fortunately this is not so for the relatively short section between Gunthorpe and Fiskerton where the two walks coincide exactly along the river.

The intention of the stages is to try and make the start and finish accessible by public transport and if possible to return to the start point easily. This stage is slightly awkward in that respect as the bus services at either end use different companies (Trent Barton in Gunthorpe and Stagecoach in Fiskerton and Rolleston) and need a few connections. The simplest way of returning to Gunthorpe is to use the Newark to Nottingham train line from either Fiskerton or Rolleston to Lowdham and walk from there the mile or so to Gunthorpe.

Start: Gunthorpe village by the moorings near to Gunthorpe Bridge

Finish: Rolleston

Distance: 12.5km (7.7 miles) to Rolleston. (11km to Fiskerton)

Map of the Route

Description of the Walk

The area by the river next to the major road bridge over the Trent in Gunthorpe village is notable for its pubs and restaurants. There is a bus stop near the river from where you can catch a bus to Nottingham until mid-afternoon (the Rushcliffe Villager). Near it you come to moorings and the acclaimed Tom Browns restaurant just back from the river next to the Unicorn Hotel.

From the bus stop area go to the moorings and on reaching the river turn left. You will follow the Trent for 3km to reach the village of Hoveringham.  At first you stay near to the quiet road by the river going past restaurants and houses in Gunthorpe. The road becomes a path and there may well be good numbers of people around as you reach Gunthorpe Lock with a variety of boats on the river. Just past the lock go through a gate and you are in wide grassy fields which may have cows grazing in them.  The far bank has steep tree-covered slopes.

These flat fields are easy walking on short grass. Occasionally you reach the distinctive white double gates that mark this part of the river. Follow the path next to the river until you come to a road as you reach Hoveringham. Continue along the road near the river for 500m by houses until you reach a very sharp left hand bend. On the bend there is a path on the right leaving the road and continuing alongside the river.

Take the footpath through a metal gate and follow it alongside the river.  This is again nice walking along short grass in a field with good views along the river and before long across to the wooded escarpment on the other side of the Trent.  The path follows the river closely here so it is hard to go wrong.  You will probably see cows here.  Follow the river going through or round a wooden gate after 600m and a metal gate a little later. In summer look for sand martins flying low over the water.

Continue along by the river with the sailing lake now appearing to your left.  The lake comes closer to you for a short time a little further along before the grassy area widens again.

Sailing Lake near Hoveringham

The walking here is flat along the grass with very little mud to worry about.  A few more trees begin to appear on the river bank and the lake on the left comes closer. In fact this isn’t the main lake but a smaller adjoining one.  After half a mile you leave the lakes behind and go through a metal gate. Then you come to the first of the distinctive white double gates that are a feature of this part of the river.  Go onto a much narrower path than the wide fields we have been following. Soon the river bank is almost completely obscured by trees and bushes close to you on your right and there are trees on your left as well.  After a short while you come to a half broken white gate and the path opens up a little again.

Looking across the Trent

Keep alongside the river for half a mile until you come to Hazelford Ferry. On the left as the path narrows are lodges. There are moorings here as well and several boats. As you come through a gate to reach the end of a lane you see a larger building which is residential home.  This used to be the Hazelford Ferry pub named for the ferry which used to cross the river at this point.

The path near Hazelford Ferry.

Turning left along this lane takes you to Bleasby (as seen in my Walk 36) but to carry on to Fiskerton cross the lane and continue alongside the river.

Go through a car park area and rejoin the path by the river in a field. After 300m enter another field and in another 500m you reach Hazelford Lock and weir. The weir is quite a sight here with the water rushing down a series of small steps and the smell of ozone hitting you.  There is a cottage on the island in the river near the weir and hedge on the bank to your left. The path narrows again as you pass the weir, going through more double gates.  

There are more trees around at this point but as the river makes a sweeping bend to the left things open up again. A kilometre after the lock the Trent bends to the right. 500m further on you reach the houses of Fiskerton and the newly renamed and revamped pub by the river “The Bromley at Fiskerton“.  There is a beer garden by the river which is a great place to sit if the weather is good.  If you are lucky you can see all four of Britain’s  hirundine bird species here (swallow, swift, house martin and sand martin) together with other ducks and gulls.  

Carrying on past the Bromley  you will see a few small flights of steps on your left going into gardens which leads into Fiskerton. If you wish to stop here see the instructions in italics.

 About 150m past the pub one of these flights of steps takes you onto a wide grassy track between houses with a path that you can follow straight on for fifty metres to the road. If you wish to finish your walk here take this route.   You come to the road just at the main T junction in the village.  Carefully cross the road to reach a bus shelter.  The buses from this side of the road go on to Newark.  Almost opposite on the other side of the road is the stop for buses back to Southwell. Carrying on along the road for 1km takes you to Fiskerton railway station.

To continue the walk to Rolleston from the steps walk along the riverside path for 200m until you reach the end of the houses on your left. You skirt the edge of a small car park and carry on alongside the river near metal fencing which is a popular resting place for black-headed gulls in winter. The river comes closer to the road and you actually walk along the road, which is generally quiet, for a short way as you approach a lone house ahead.

This is where the routes of the Trent Valley Way and the River Walk separate.

For the Trent Valley Way

The brick bridge on the main road north of Fiskerton is where the River Greet goes into the Trent. This bridge is close to a large red-brick building just a little further north on the right of the road. To continue the walk head north along the road for 150m and then turn left at a signpost to follow a footpath. This path is obvious on a slight embankment and meanders a little to left then right.

After 300m you near Fiskerton Mill. The path is quite straight and initially goes by trees then reaches fields. Continue across these for 400m until coming to more sheltered paths as you approach the village of Rolleston. After 200m you reach the main road again in Rolleston where you turn left to the centre of the village where you can catch buses to Newark and Southwell.

To get to the railway station. After 50m as the main road turns sharply to the right you should turn left along Station Road. This soon turns left and then right as you approach the church which has an impressive tower. Go past the church on the left and follow the road for 600m when you will reach the station.

For the River Walk

As you reach the house you go to the right taking a narrow path between the house and the river. To continue towards Newark follow my Fiskerton to Averham walk route which stays with the river for another 6km before turning to Averham with buses to Newark and Southwell.

Walks in Nottinghamshire: Walk 68 – Newark Town and River Trent Walk

14 May

Earlier in the year I described a walk along the Trent Valley Way from Newark to Collingham. It’s a long walk which also requires you to make your own way back to Newark. I thought that I should do a shorter, circular walk around Newark which includes the first part of the longer walk by the Trent. This walk starts in Newark’s impressive market place and takes in many of the town’s main attractions including the castle, church and Civil War Centre as well as a nice stretch along the river.

Start and Finish: Newark Market Place.

Distance: 4.2 km (2.7 miles)

Map of the Route

Walk Description

In Newark market place turn to face the town hall so that the church is on your right.  Walk towards the town hall which is the prominent building ahead of you but go a little to the right where you will see a narrow tunnel between buildings known as Chain Lane.  Leave the market place and walk down Chain Lane to the end where it meets Middle Gate.  Cross this road, turn right and then almost immediately left along a quiet lane called Boar Lane.  After 150m you reach Castle Gate opposite the castle.  Cross this busy road at the nearby crossing and go a little to the right and the entrance to the castle grounds and Newark castle. Go into the grounds and explore for as long as you want.

Leave the castle gardens by returning to Castle Gate at the opposite end from where you entered the gardens. Almost immediately turn right downhill away from the road along a path which takes you down to the waterside (this isn’t actually the river but the Trent Navigation – an artificial cut through on the Trent) . Turn left for about 100m as far as Newark Town Lock. Cross to the central island then cross the lock using the path across the top of the lock gates and turn right. You may have to wait for a boat to go through.

River Trent
Newark Castle

Shortly after turning right from the lock there is a bridge across where you meet the river itself on the left. Cross the bridge, turn right and walk along a firm path next to the river as you come alongside the castle.  The path reaches a road bridge just past the castle.  The riverside path goes under this bridge and so do we. After going under the bridge we continue ahead and soon join a wide path with the river to your right and apartments on your left.

The track soon approaches a marina on the left where a bridge crosses the river. Continue on this side of the river and don’t take the bridge. Instead the path goes under the bridge. Go past the marina, crossing a bridge over the entrance from the river, and rejoin the path alongside the river. So far the path has been firm and in good condition but now it can become muddier in places as you go under a bridge and into a grassy field where things have a much more rural feel.

At the end of this field you reach a distinctive bridge with a very marked hump which is known as Fiddler’s Elbow Bridge. Cross this bridge. The other bank is where the Trent Valley Way and the River Path diverge.

Fiddler’s Elbow Bridge

After crossing the bridge turn right and follow the wide, firm riverside path back the way you came for 800m. You firstly go uphill and past an area of new houses, then through a short section of trees going down to river level again. You stay by the river until reaching the marina entrance and the bridge over the river. Just after the bridge turn left to go along the lane (Cow Lane) past the Aldi supermarket and the car park to reach the main road (North Gate).

Turn right and follow the main road for 100m where there is a junction. On your right here is the Malt Shovel pub. Immediately after the pub turn right down a narrow lane (Water Lane) for 50m and where the lane ends continue straight on along a narrow tree- covered path. After another 50m you return to the riverside and turn left along a path. After 150m go past Pizza Express and when you reach the Castle Barge pub on the river turn left. Cross the car park and turn right to follow the road (The Wharf) up to the main road opposite the castle. Turn left here to go up to the roundabout. At the corner you meet North Gate again and go straight on across a zebra crossing. Turn left and then after 20m turn right to go along Kirk Gate.

Follow Kirk Gate for 150m until you reach the gotic-style church of St Mary Magdalene with St Leonard. This is the main parish church in Newark which towers over the Market Place and is one of the largest and finest parish churches in England. It is well worth having a look inside the church if you have time.

To continue the walk carry almost straight on from Kirk Gate along Church Walk with the church just to your right. Follow this for 100m to reach Appleton Gate but before doing this you may wish to have a short stroll around the nice gardens and paths on your left.

On reaching Appleton Gate you find yourself opposite the National Civil War Centre Museum which tells you about the 17th century conflict between the Royalists and Parliamentarians. Newark was besieged in a crucial part of the War and King Charles I was captured not far away.

If not visiting the Civil War Centre turn right along Appleton Gate for 50m and then turn right again along Bridge Street which soon brings you to the Market place again and the end of the walk.

Nottinghamshire Walk 67 : Following The Course Of The River Greet (Almost) To Its Source

31 Mar

 

The River Greet, which is about 14 kilometres long, is a tributary of the Trent , flowing through Southwell and surrounding villages before entering the Trent near Fiskerton. This walk follows the River Greet upstream and can be treated in a number of ways. The river can only be followed closely for about 6 km of its course and that will be the central part of this description. However you can try and stick with the river to be reacquainted at various points both downstream and upstream of the central walk. I’ll include a guide to following it the rest of the way for those wanting to do this with the description in italics.

Most descriptions of river walks tend to go downstream. There is a logic to this because you see the river’s journey as it progresses from small beginnings and becomes ever larger. However, in this case I’m being contrary by starting where the Greet enters the Trent and heading upstream. The Greet doesn’t really fit the pattern of many rivers as it doesn’t get any wider as you go downstream and actually gets narrower as you approach the Trent.

Complete Walk

Start: Entry of the Greet to the Trent near Fiskerton

Finish: The large pond near Moor Farm south of Kirklington

Central part of the walk

Start: Rolleston Village. There are bus stops in the village on the Stagecoach 28 bus route which runs approximately every two hours during the week. This also serves Fiskerton and runs between Southwell and Newark.

Finish: Maythorne

Distance: 14km for the complete walk, 6km for the main part of the walk from Rolleston to Maythorne.

Map of the Route

Description of the Walk

Extra Downstream Section Start: Where the Greet enters the River Trent about 500m north of Fiskerton. There is a bus stop by the main junction in the centre of the village and a car park about 200m from the start of the walk next to the Trent.

The Greet just before entering the Trent

The walk starts at the brick bridge on the main road north of Fiskerton which the Greet goes underneath and straight into the Trent. It must be said that the Greet at this point isn’t very impressive as it really has become just a dyke. This bridge is close to a large red-brick building just a little further north on the right of the road. To continue the walk head north along the road for 150m and then turn left at a signpost to follow a footpath. This path is obvious on a slight embankment and meanders a little to left then right.

After 300m you can turn along another footpath to the left which takes you over a dyke then after 100m reaches Fiskerton Mill where you can have another look at the Greet. Retrace your steps to the first footpath and turn left. The path is quite straight and initially goes by trees then reaches fields. Continue across these for 400m until coming to more sheltered paths as you approach the village of Rolleston. After 200m you reach the main road again in Rolleston where you turn left. This is where the main part of the River Greet walk begins.

Central Section

After 50m as the main road turns sharply to the right you should turn left along Station Road. This soon turns left and then right as you approach the church which has an impressive tower. Go past the church on the left and follow the road for 150m where you reach another bridge over the Greet.  After this glimpse of the river return towards Rolleston. In 50m you reach the Rolleston village sign and immediately after that a track on the left. Turn off the road here and follow the track. Soon it goes to the right.  You arrive at a railway crossing which you should cross with care.  You will see a small waymark with a wavy  arrow on it which indicates that you are on the Trent Valley Way.  After the crossing turn left along a narrow, surfaced track for about fifty metres then turn right onto a track leading to a golf course. After 100m go up an embankment and past a small bridge keeping on this side of the river.

You find yourself almost on the racecourse to your left with the Greet just to your right. You can now follow the river for the next 2km. At first you have the racecourse on your left and golf course just over the river to the right. The path is easy to follow and you just stay with the river. The path soon goes further away from the racecourse and leaves the golf course behind for farmland.

You start to head west and in 400m reach one end of a line of tall trees which extends to the racecourse which you again come close to. The Ordnance Survey map here suggests the path isn’t continuous but it is and 400m after that you see a house on the other side of the Greet. This is Upton Mill which is now a B & B. A little further on a bridge crosses the river but remain on this side in grassy fields for about 600m further.  The built-up banking is sometimes too high for you to see the river as you stay next to wooden fence posts on your left. The river follows a rather wiggly course but is easy to follow as you just stay along side it.  At end of the grassy field you have been in since going past the bridge you leave the posts behind, pass a hedge and go into an arable field.  The opposite bank of the river here is worn away where sheep go down to drink. 

This is the point where you turn away from the river for over a kilometre. Go left and follow the edge of the field to a corner. Then turn sharp right along the field edge for 200m until another hedge corner where you turn left following the hedge to another field corner after 100m.  This is next to the road that goes to the racecourse.  Just past this corner you can step over a low bit of fence to go up the bank to join the road to the racecourse or you can stay at the field edge parallel to road.  This path can be a little uneven in places but is easy to follow next to the bank until the path goes up the bank onto the road after 500m.  If you have already gone onto the road take care as although there isn’t much traffic outside race days it can be fast moving as the road is straight. 

Follow the racecourse road absolutely straight for 800m then turn left for 100m and right for 100m. This takes you out onto the main road at the eastern edge of Southwell. Cross this road and turn right along the pavement for 100m then turn left away from the road going through a gate onto a good path where you meet the Greet again.

Follow this firm path almost straight along for the next 400m in a nice area with many trees, going near to the community orchard which has a good variety of different apples.  At first there is no sign of the river Greet but soon the path approaches the river which is on the right. On your left a little way off are some houses.  The path twists and turns a little before coming to the road by a tall mill building.  Take the path up to the road (Station Road) and you are now opposite a car park.

At the road cross, turn right and pass the tall mill building overlooking the River Greet and pond. Immediately after the mill turn left along a footpath. This crosses a short patch of gravel before becoming a narrow path with the river Greet on your left and Reg Taylor’s garden centre on your right.  You are separated from the garden centre by a fence but can see through that. Shortly you can see a pond in the garden centre which can be worth having a look at to see the birds.

The path itself can be rather muddy at this point as it seems to get a fair amount of use and is narrow. The river here is about six feet wide. Carry on straight along the path as you reach the end of the garden centre. You now reach fields on your right with the river still at your left as it starts to make small meanders. The walk continues straight along the path. The fields on the right can be quite varied in character depending on the time of year you walk. In recent years these fields have often had maize in them. In the spring you may be able to see across the fields but as the year goes on the maize grows higher and higher until it really is “as high an elephant’s eye” before harvesting in the late autumn. On my most recent visit it had been left over the winter and looked quite strange. If the maize is tall I think it gives a rather exotic feel to the area. You walk along and can imagine being in a tropical country with the vegetation towering above you. It also gives a sense of isolation. Someone could be twenty yards away and have no idea you were walking there hidden by the maize.

Maize field near Southwell

Maize field near Southwell

Eventually you have to make a sharp right turn at the end of a field. Ignore the temptation to carry on into the clump of trees. There is a path going into the trees but that has been caused by people thinking that is the correct path, me included. It comes to a dead end at the river and you will have to turn around. Having taken the sharp right turn follow the field edge for about 200m before taking a left turn through a gap in the hedge.

River Greet near Maythorne

The river Greet appears again on your left as you emerge from the hedge. It is slightly wider than before and is flowing more quickly. Walk alongside the river for 200m before you have to divert your course slightly as you reach the hamlet of Maythorne where the river comes tumbling down a short, steep section.  You cross a wooden footbridge and walk a few yards towards the tall mill building in Maythorne to reach a narrow footbridge over the river as it sweeps down from the mill.  This is the end of the main part of the River Greet walk as you can’t follow the river continuously any further. If you wish to return to Southwell from here you can easily do so by walking through the “courtyard” area of Maythorne past the few buildings. Then go up the road for 100 yards to the old railway track and turn left along that.   You can follow the track all the way back to Southwell.

You can choose to continue the additional part of the walk towards the river’s source and will come to the Greet again in about 2km.(see the section in italics below).

Near the Mill at Maythorne

Following the Greet (almost) to its source

To continue the walk towards the source go back to the first footbridge you came to near Maythorne. Go slightly downhill under some trees towards a stile. Cross the stile. The area around the stile can be rather muddy at times and you may have to step carefully around to reach the field beyond the mud. This field can be a little wet underfoot after heavy rain but otherwise is a pleasant grassy meadow. The path across the field can usually be seen quite clearly. You are aiming to the right of a few trees in the middle of the field towards the hedge on your right as you cross the field and then for the far right hand corner of the field.  Go to the right out of the field across a stile being careful of the thorns in the hedge on your left, then immediately turn left over a wooden plank bridge and another stile. You enter a new field, dryer than the last. Aim diagonally across this field towards the hedge corner on your right. On reaching this corner turn right uphill, walking in the middle of this narrower part of the field towards a telegraph pole. Go to the right of the telegraph pole towards the corner of the field where there is a stile by a gate. Cross the stile and go downhill for 10m onto a road. This is Corkhill Road.

Turn left along the road going quite steeply for a short way downhill. You emerge from the trees at the bottom of this little hill. On your right is a long, quite steep ridge whilst on your left are flat fields.  Follow Corkhill Road for about a mile. The road isn’t very busy but you will probably encounter a few vehicles as you walk along. Fortunately the verge is wide all the way along. I chose this way because the views here are better than if you walk along the railway track. There is nothing very remarkable but you can see quite a long way on your left hand side across the farmland towards small clumps of trees. You may see buzzards as you walk along. On your right you pass a few farms at regular intervals. The verge looks nice in springtime with yellow celandines in many places.

Eventually you reach the village of Kirklington where Corkhill Road meets the busy A617 coming down the hill. Carry straight on along the A617.  This road isn’t very nice to walk beside but there is a pavement and we are only alongside for a short time. After 150m look for a footpath sign on the left as you reach the entrance to a farm and barn area. Turn left and walk straight down the track entrance with the barn to your right. Carry straight on across the field for eighty metres until you reach a wooden bridge over the river.

The bridge is about ten feet above the river which at this point has high, muddy banks as it meanders through. This bridge is a good point to pause for a short while. I have stood quietly here watching a good variety of birds in the nearby trees which were seemingly unaware of my presence.  On leaving the bridge you have to find your way through a small but quite dense patch of woodland. There are a few paths through the wood and you may have to look  a little carefully to spot the way. Take the path on your right as you leave the bridge. You reach the corner of the wood which has a yellow waymarked post after 150m.

From this corner cross the thirty metres of the field in front of you and then go for a short way with the hedge on your right until you come to a gateway into a large, grassy field. Turn left and walk between the hedge on your left and a fence  on your right for fifty metres. The fence then disappears and you enter a wider expanse of the same field. Ahead of you down the small slope you can see a pond. Head just to the right of this pond down the hill.

Smaller Pond near Kirlkington

On reaching the pond you come to a solid, wooden footbridge over a stream, in fact this is the River Greet again. Crossing this bridge you reach a metal kissing gate. Turn right to follow the path with the Greet on our right. After 300m you come out by a road next to large mill building and a kind of pond where the Greet comes through. There is a pedestrian bridge over the river by the mill. From the bridge turn around and walk out to the road and turn left along the pavement. Soon you see the drive to a  farm, Moor Farm, on the opposite side of the road which has a wooden footpath finger-post pointing along it. Cross the road and turn into the driveway.

Walk along this drive, a roadway between hedges, for 300m. As you near the entrance to the farm property look on your right for a path between trees. Walk down this path. After 50m you reach a large pond (or small lake) which the Greet flows through. This is a lovely spot and home to a good selection of water birds. You will often see mallards, coots, moorhens, swans, geese, tufted ducks and little grebes. I have also seen herons, cormorant and gadwall here along with grey wagtails in the area to the right where the water from the pond drops into the pool and river.

Officially the source of the Greet is just beyond the far end of the pond on private farmland. However, this is the last place where there is public access to the River Greet and is a fine place to complete the walk. Well done if you have come all the way from Fiskerton along the river.

Pool near the pond

The next challenge is to make your way from Kirklington. If you are relying on public transport there are only a few buses each day and the best place to go is to the main junction in the village where the A617 meets the road you left before coming to the pond. Alternatively head across the fields to reach Edingley or Farnsfield where the buses are more frequent. (see the end of my Walk 6 for the route).

There is another option you can take if you really are a River Greet completist who wants to trace it to its furthest extent. There are two tributaries of the Greet, Edingley Beck and Cotton Mill Dyke which can be followed quite closely for two kilometres taking you to Edingley and Farnsfield. I won’t give a detailed description here unless requested but to follow Edingley Beck you should return from the large pond to the road in Kirklington and turn right. Just out of the village take the first road right and then go to the car park at the old Kirklington station. Turn left off the railway track and follow Edingley Beck through fields to Edingley village. From there turn left along the main road towards Farnsfield. 300m after leaving the village turn left along Allesford Lane. After 150m turn right onto a footpath which follows the Cotton Mill Dyke in fields leading to Cotton Mill Farm. At the farm turn right and after 50m left into a field. At the end of this field is the entrance area to a cricket field. Go left to the gate to the cricket field and look to your left where there is a small ditch which in wet weather has water in it which flows into the Cotton Mill Dyke and eventually the Trent.

Walking The Trent Valley Way and the River Trent: Newark to Collingham

3 Mar

Picking up my walk along the Trent Valley Way and the River Trent from the end of the stage from Rolleston to Newark

One of the quirks of the Trent Valley Way is that it sometimes strays from the River Trent itself. Sometimes this is because there are no paths by the river, other times this is the choice of whoever devised the route. To try and get round any divergence between the routes my descriptions of the routes will be in normal font for the Trent Valley Way but in italics where there is a route along the river that isn’t on the Trent Valley Way. I’ll call this the Riverside Way.

This stage starts in Newark which has numerous public transport links and finishes at Collingham, the next sizable settlement north, or downstream. Collingham has a railway station on the same line as Newark Castle station which is very close to the river and is where I start this stage. There are also bus links between Newark and Collingham.

Start: Newark Castle Station

Finish: Collingham Station

Distance: 15km (9 miles)

Map of the Route

Description

From Newark Castle railway station aim for the castle going towards the town centre.

Continue alongside the main road passing the old Cattle Market site on the right and Waitrose access road on the left, soon reaching the bridge over the river Trent where Newark castle rises proudly above the river on your right. If you have time the town is well worth a visit but our route doesn’t actually go into the town centre, or even across the bridge. Just before you reach the bridge turn left going slightly downhill away from the road. Follow a wide path with the river to your right and apartments on your left.

The track soon approaches a marina on the left where a bridge crosses the river. Continue on this side of the river and don’t take the bridge. Instead the path goes under the bridge. Go past the marina, crossing a bridge over the entrance from the river, and rejoin the path alongside the river. So far the path has been firm and in good condition but now it can become muddier in places as you go under a bridge and into a grassy field where things have a much more rural feel.

At the end of this field you reach a distinctive bridge with a very marked hump which is known as Fiddler’s Elbow Bridge. Cross this bridge. The other bank is where the Trent Valley Way and the River Path diverge.

Fiddler’s Elbow Bridge

To follow the Trent Valley Way turn right to go back towards Newark alongside the river. You soon reach a new housing development but carry on along the wide riverside path for 200m until you reach another pathway going to the left. Turn along this until you reach a road (Kings Sconce Avenue) where you turn right. At the next junction turn left along Trent Lane (next to Homebase) until you reach the main road. Turn left and go uphill where this Lincoln Road Bridge crosses the East Coast Main Line railway just along from Newark Northgate station. When I first walked this part of the Trent Valley Way the path took a more direct route where you walked through a gate and across the railway line. For some reason the powers that be decided that people crossing a line with trains travelling at 100mph was unsafe. That gate has now been locked which is probably for the best even though it adds 500m to the route. The road continues downhill and at the bottom you turn left along Winthorpe Road.

Follow the wide road which has decent pavement all the way and after a slight bend runs very straight for the next kilometre amongst houses. It isn’t very interesting to be honest. At the far end you appear to be reaching a dead-end, and indeed you are if you are in a vehicle. At one time this road went through to the village of Winthorpe but since the Newark by-pass was built there is no way through unless you are walking or on a bike. As you reach the end of the road you will see a path going ahead a little to the left of the road. Follow this and go under the A46 until you come out on a wider track going straight on. Carry on along this and go through a tunnel under the A1.

You emerge, bear right and then find yourself at the end of a road which continues into Winthorpe. Turn left and continue on into the village past the church on the right, and then the main area of houses. This is a pleasant, quiet village, save for the noise of traffic on the roads you have just gone beneath. After 500m where you first climb and then descend a little you reach the Lord Nelson pub on the right. This is at a junction where you should bear left along Holme Lane.

This quiet road takes you past more houses but soon leaves the village and after about 300m goes by the cricket field on the right. In another 300m you cross the railway and immediately after that see the River Trent and stiles on the left where the riverside path joins us again.

Riverside Path Route

After crossing the Fiddlers Elbow Bridge turn left and follow the river for 200m where it turns sharply left. Stay by the river as you go under the A46 high above you and then a low bridge under a railway. Straight after that turn right and soon come to a lock on the river. Before long you go back under the railway line and past the Newark Sewage Works. In another 300m the branch of the river we have been following meets the other branch which went its own way near Staythorpe power station and 300m further on is a gate just before you go under the A1. This gate marks the end of the official public footpath and it used to be a solid barrier. Now however there is nothing next to it and you can easily continue by the river. Please note that the next section of 500m isn’t officially a footpath, it’s an anglers’ area, and you may not want to go further as you may be challenged about why you are there. The way is clear through grassy fields and after 500m you reach a track to the right which takes you up the embankment to meet a lane just after a level crossing where you meet the Trent Valley Way again.

Trent Valley Way and Riverside Way

The rest of the way to Collingham is on one route. From the level crossing go about 50m north where at the end of the lay-by you will see a stile and footpath going off to the left. Take this path where you soon go to the top of an embankment which rises about 5m from the surrounding fields. Walk along this bank for the next 1200m until you approach a hedge across the bank near the village of Holme. On the way you go slightly away from the river but will see Winthorpe angling lake on the left.

Come off the embankment to the left as you near Holme and go down towards the river. Follow the path close to the Trent in a large grassy field as you go past the village. On the opposite side of the river you will see the village of North Muskham and the Muskham Ferry pub where once there was a ferry that took children from Muskham to school in Holme. After a kilometre you reach the far end of Holme and should walk slightly away from the river, possibly having to step around some flattened wire fencing, to reach a firm track which is the extension of the road running north from the village.

Turn left along this track and follow it for 500m then turn right into a field alongside a hedge to your right for 200m. Turn left for a short distance across this rough grassy field to reach a metal gate which you go through. This takes you onto a bridge over a dyke which you cross then bear left onto a path at the top of a bank overlooking the lakes of Langford Lowfields RSPB reserve. (For a walk around the reserve see my Walk 66 ). Follow the top of the bank for the next 1200m to the end of the reserve where you can see Cromwell Lock and the Trent on the left.

This marks the end of this stage of the Riverside Walk. I will continue with the description of the next stage at a later date but for now I recommend finishing this stage of the walk in Collingham village by following the Trent Valley Way.

For the Trent Valley Way go left out of the reserve to the bank of the Trent but very soon turn right along a clear wide track going away from the river. After 1km the track becomes a quiet lane, Westfield Lane, which you follow straight on for another 600m into Collingham. At the first junction in the village turn left and then after 50m right to a road (The Green). In 150m turn left onto the main road, High Street (there are buses to Newark a little way along this street). About 200m along the High Street at a crossroads turn right along Station Road where after 600m you reach Collingham Station with regular trains to Newark, and where we find the end of this stage of the walk.

Nottinghamshire Walk 66: Langford Lowfields RSPB and Nature Reserve

28 Jan

This is the first of my walks outside the Central Notts area. It follows tracks and paths on the RSPB’s Langford Lowfields reserve which was only created fairly recently from sand and gravel pits. There are many interesting birds here with many varieties of duck and water birds plus rare species. The central part of the reserve is quite accessible to all and the main tracks are generally good for walking in all seasons. The part of the walk furthest from the start can become muddy and I would recommend good footwear to cope with this in autumn and winter or after rain. The paths have good views over the lakes of the reserve and the surroundings are attractive even if you aren’t an avid birdwatcher.

The reserve is situated about four miles north of Newark, about a mile to the south-west of Collingham which is linked to Newark by train and bus. There is a pay and display car park at the reserve but entrance to the reserve is free. For full directions to the reserve and the latest news check the website using the link above.

Start and Finish: Langford Lowfields RSPB Reserve Car Park

Distance: 6.4 km (4 miles)

Map of the Route

The Walk

From the car park enter the reserve by following a path into a patch of woodland going past an information board. The path goes through the wood and over a stream before reaching a long straight track. Turn right and follow this track with hedges and trees on either side. To the left you will have occasional glimpses of some large ponds and lakes. After 800m you will see a signpost at a gate on the left pointing you to the central part of the reserve and “Beach Hut”. Go through the gate to follow the path up a small rise and round to the right where you find the Beach Hut and have a fine view of the reserve and its several lakes. The Beach Hut on the right is an information area with friendly wardens who will give you advice about the reserve.

There are many different options from here with signed trails taking you to different parts of the reserve. My route goes around the edge but you can choose your own way and rejoin mine at many points. Going left visits other good viewpoints over the lakes.

To continue on my route go downhill from the beach hut and bear right to follow the edge of the lake keeping that just to your left as you climb up an embankment. Keep going until you reach the end of the lake and turn left staying at the top of the bank to go round the end of the lake. On your right you will be able to see the River Trent on the other side of a fence, just outside the reserve. Follow the top of the bank which has views across the lakes to the left as you are in quite an open area. After 500m you reach an area of more bushes and trees where a path to the left takes you back into the centre of the reserve.

Our route stays along the top of the bank. After another 300m you find yourself above another area of large lakes and in a further 100m you see a metal gate to the right where a footpath leaves the reserve. Don’t go through this, instead you should go down quite a steep, short slope off the bank down to a narrow path by a fence next to trees. Stay on this path, which will probably be muddy in winter and after rain and follow it as it bends to the left. You are near trees for most of this section but there are gaps where you can look out onto the lake.

This path continues for another 600m where you reach the end of this area of lakes. Continue straight on where to your left is a new lake, the largest on the reserve. Thusfar you won’t have seen too much evidence of the quarrying which has created much of the environment that makes up RSPB Langford. However, here you see at the other side of this large lake the site of Langford Quarry with diggers and other vehicles.

Stay on another narrow path for 300m next to the lake before the path drops down to the right by some trees taking you slightly away from the lake. The path soon goes under a bridge and then comes to a junction where you meet a track which is on the National Cycle Network. Turn left to follow this wide, firm track which twists and turns a little for the next 800m but which is absolutely obvious and easy to follow. You are out of sight of the main lakes but there are some smaller pools.

Eventually you reach a gate by the main crossing to the quarry. Go straight across and through the corresponding gate on the other side to reach another good track. Follow this next to trees on the left and fields to the right. After 300m it turns left to go into a wood and soon you reach two benches in a corner next to an information board. Turning right brings you close to the car park and you come to the reserve entrance again where you started.

Christmas Walks In Nottinghamshire: Some of My Favourite Walks

24 Dec

It’s quite a Christmas tradition to go for a walk so I thought that I would recommend some of my favourite walks from the ones in the blog. I have tried to include walks from different parts of the local area and with a variety of landscapes so you have a choice to suit you. This autumn has been quite dry and so I feel able to choose more walks over fields that in recent years have been too muddy to be seen at their best at this time of year.

Here are eight of my favourites:

Walk 2 – Hexgreave – a short walk near Farnsfield taking in a nice avenue of trees and a deer park
Walk 9 Robin Hood Hill and Oxton – great views from the top of an ancient hill fort
Walk 11 Southwell Trail and Norwood Park – an old railway line, through orchards and fields with wide views
Walk 30: Edwinstowe, the Major Oak and the River Maun – Sherwood Forest and a nice river walk
Walk 34: Blidworth, Harlow Wood and Fountaindale – a variety of scenery with fields and woodland
Walk 36: Bleasby and Hoveringham – flat paths in fields then beside the River Trent
Walk 40: Woodborough – a nice village and good views from the top of the hill
Walk 44: Creswell Crags and the Harley Gallery – fascinating history and scenery and a gallery
Hexgreave
Looking across the Trent
Looking down to Woodborough

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Elkesley to Duncanwood Lodge

7 Nov

This stage goes through fields and woods before returning to Clumber Park for a long straight walk under trees. There is a spur of the Way that takes a short detour to Robin Hood’s Cave and Whitewater Bridge then returns to the main route.

Start: Elkesley (continues from the Stage Clumber Park to Elkesley)

Finish: Duncanwood Lodge (continues to the Stage from Duncanwood Lodge to Edwinstowe)

Distance: 15km (9 miles) if not doing the Whitewater Bridge spur. 18km (11 miles) if you are.

Map of the Route

If you have used the bus to reach Elkesley you should go south along Headland Avenue from the bus stop for 250m to meet the Robin Hood Way again at the edge of the village on Brough Lane. If you have been walking along the Way from the previous stage in Clumber Park then as you reach the village you should carry on along the road with houses on your left, bearing slightly right rather than turn left into the village.

After the last house continue along the track for 200m until the road starts to bend left. Turn right here onto a path going downhill by a field. Go over a bridge into Elkesley Wood. This is surprisingly hard to find your way through as there is little footpath signage and several paths. On entering the wood bear right along a clear path next to a stream. After a short way at the first junction of paths bear left away from the stream slightly uphill. Follow this path until you come to another junction of paths. When I did this walk there was a wooden log with Robin Hood Way waymarks at this junction but unfortunately this was lying on the ground and it was hard to tell which was the right way to go. In fact you should turn left here along another path for 80m until you reach another path junction near the edge of the wood. Turn right along a path which after 150m emerges from the wood on a wider track near a brick building.

Walk along a grassy path which climbs quite steeply up a small hill towards buildings. At the top of the climb cross the wide track of West Drayton Lane, which you walked along in the previous stage. Go through a gate opposite. Follow a track past buildings of this reindeer farm looking out for Rudolph. The track bends to the right and as you reach the front of the farm buildings you turn left along a wide gravel track going downhill towards a road (the B6387). At the farm gateway go carefully straight across this road and continue along the track on the other side. This continues downhill with a wood on your left at first. You cross the River Meden and then go under a railway bridge, past a farmyard and cross a bridge over the River Maun.

The track climbs slightly and then turns left. Very soon you reach a right turn which you should take. If you carry straight on after 400m you come to the ruins of a small chapel (St.John’s Chapel) which you may wish to visit. If you do then return to this junction. Turn downhill to cross this very large field aiming for an area of woodland and continue straight on after that to the bottom of the hill. Turn left and very soon after that right to go down into a small area of trees next to Bevercotes Beck on the left.

Carry on into another field and follow the left hand edge for 400m until you reach a hedge coming across. Turn right and stay along the edge of the field with this hedge on your left. After 150m the hedge ends but you should keep going in the same direction. Where a new hedge starts you should go through a wide gap ahead so that this hedge is on your right. Follow a wide grassy track for 250m until you reach a large field. Turn left and follow a track with a hedge now on your left. After 300m near power lines is a junction of paths. Going straight on takes you to the village of Walesby with a pub and other facilities. Our route however turns right here, going under the power lines. Aim towards houses along a wide track with a field on your right and hedge on your left. After 500m you reach a road but don’t go out to it yet. Instead turn right and stay inside the field with a hedge on your left. After 100m turn left out of the field and cross the road (the B6387 again). Directly opposite is a path which you join and follow straight on.

At first the path is quite narrow next to a hedge but after 800m it becomes wider. It goes over a mineral railway line and then joins a wide farm track with large pens of chickens to your left. Go straight on under sets of power lines until you reach woodland. Keep walking straight ahead for 200m until you come to a T junction of paths.

This is where you choose whether to make the diversion left on a spur of the Robin Hood Way to have a look at a couple of sights. To continue the full Robin Hood Way you will have to return to this point the same way you went . I would certainly recommend making the shortish walk to Robin Hood’s Cave. If you then want to continue to Whitewater Bridge one possibility is to carry on to Ollerton another 2.5km further on (see my Walk 57 for directions). Ollerton is on a bus route to Elkesley.

Robin Hood’s Cave and River Maun

For the extra spur you should turn left at the path T junction and follow a good path with trees close by on your right. After you reach a clear area of sandstone on the right of the path. This is the site of Robin Hood’s Cave, a small hole in the sandstone overlooking the River Maun about twenty metres below. You can go onto the stone where you can also see the handiwork of locals who have carved their names into the rock. To continue on the spur route go back to the main path and carry on south into the woods going gradually downhill. After 700m you leave the wood at a bend in a quiet road. Turn right along the road for a short way then cross to the other side of the road to join a path running alongside the road. This soon comes to Whitewater Bridge which crosses the River Maun and is quite a pleasant spot. From here you can either retrace your steps to the T junction of paths on the main Robin Hood Way or follow the path on the other side of the bridge which goes left and follows the Maun to Ollerton.

Whitewater Bridge

Back at the T junction to continue the Robin Hood Way if you have come from the Whitewater Bridge spur you carry straight on. If you haven’t done the extra spur you turn right at the T junction.

The path is in woods and obvious with a field clearing on the right. Go straight on for then go down a short quite steep section of path as the path becomes narrower with trees now all around in this copse (Conjure Alders). At the bottom take a slight turn to the right and cross a footbridge on the left. Go over a second bridge and out of the copse into a field.

Turn left and follow the edge of the field, which had cows in it on my visit. Turn uphill at the corner and keep following the hedge until you reach a gap at the top of the field as you reach a minor road. Cross this and continue in the same direction in the field on the other side staying on the field edge with a hedge on your left. On reaching a plantation to your left stay at the field edge alongside the plantation. At the end of the third field after the road you find yourself getting closer to the A614. A little way into the next field the path enters scrub on the left. Continue along the path with the A614 very close by on your left.

After 900m you reach the minor road signed to Bothamsall. Cross this and then the A614 at the crossing. On the other side follow the path away from the A614 going to the right of the gate to a signpodted bridleway. Enter the woodland of Clumber Park and join a wide track. This track is called Freeboard Lane. Follow it almost straight under the trees going south-west. There are a few very small bends but it is very straightforward as you ignore all side turnings. After 2.5 km you reach a lodge (South Lodge).

Cross the wide track going to the right and continue straight on keeping to the left of the fence bordering the Lodge garden. After another 650m a clearing appears on the left with various tracks going off to the side. Ignore all the side tracks and keep going straight ahead until you meet a wide track or green “ride”. Follow this track for 2km until you reach a small car park by the road (B6005) near Duncanwood Lodge. This is where this stage finishes. There are bus shelters here for the Sherwood Arrow bus service between Worksop and Ollerton, which also continues to Nottingham, every two hours.

Crossing the road takes you onto the stage I described a few months ago going from Duncanwood Lodge to Edwinstowe

Exploring Further Into Nottinghamshire With My Walks

30 Oct

This month is the ninth anniversary of the start of this blog. As with all of these things it takes a while to become widely known and after a slow start I have now had more than 125,000 views of the blog. Last year there were over 35,000 views of these pages as walking became so popular. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit and for your kind words and comments.

I have now described more than seventy walks in the area around Farnsfield and central Nottinghamshire. I have found it quite difficult to come up with new walks so close to home and I’ve decided that I will expand the range of the walks to include the rest of Nottinghamshire.

Mostly I want to do this at first to be able to extend my descriptions of the long-distance trails, the Robin Hood Way and Trent Valley Way, that I have covered when they come through central Notts. I have also thought of other walks in the county that I will link together to make my own longer trails. This week I have finally completed my walk around the county in a trail I devised called The Nottinghamshire Way.

I will also try to include plenty of short circlular walks and if I find more good local walks nearer to home I will write about them. If you want any advice about local walks please write to me and I will try to help.

Thanks

Rob

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Clumber Park to Elkesley

30 Sep

This stage continues from Clumber Park and goes round part of the lake before heading out of the park and across fields to the River Poulter and the village of Elkesley.

You will have to find a way of returning to your start point either by retracing your steps, taking a slightly different direct way, or if you have the time and energy by following the next part of the Robin Hood Way which takes a 10km loop back to Clumber Park. The alternative is to use the Sherwood Arrow bus service, one branch of which takes you every two hours to Carburton, about 4km from the visitor centre on a nice walk through Clumber Park. The other branch of the bus service calls at Elkesley every two hours as it travels from Retford to Nottingham. Both branches meet at New Ollerton, about half an hour away.

Start: Clumber Park Visitor Centre

Finish: Elkesley

Distance: 8km (5 miles)

Map of the Route

Start at the central visitor area for the park.  There are numerous facilities here including cafe, gift shops, tourist information, toliets and an adventure playground with a car park nearby.  It is usually busy with visitors.  Going through the courtyard area takes you out onto the lawn next to the lake.  There are lots of geese, ducks and swans around and the lawn can be a bit dirty with their droppings but other than that it’s an attractive spot.

The other obvious landmark will be seen as you turn left to walk alongside the lake.  The spire of a chapel towers above the trees and bushes of the gardens and is just a short distance away so well worth a visit.  To continue the walk stay alongside the lake and follow the clear path into the trees ahead.  Stay in this direction for the next kilometre with the lake just to your right.  The path leaves the lakeside slightly in the wood but returns to it as the lake turns at right angles to the left ahead stopping your progress.  Turn sharp left yourself to stay by the lake for 300m under trees then go right across the lake along a road. 

Immediately after the lake turn right off the road onto a wide track alongside the lake. This takes you for when just after some farm buildings turn left away from the lake slightly uphill to a cafe area which often has refreshments available from a mobile stall.

Clumber Park Lake

Go along a short section of path between hedges and buildings to reach a car park at Hardwick Grange. From here bear right, ignoring the road going off to the left and bear right again along a quiet road that takes you down to a ford. Cross the ford along a footbridge then follow the road uphill. After 150m look for a gate on the left and go through it into a large field. Follow the path diagonally uphill across the field until you reach another gate near the far corner. Go through it and bear right along a clear track which very soon crosses a road. Cross this and continue on the path for another 100m to another road with a large entrance gate. Turn out of Clumber Park either at this entrance to reach the busy A614. Very carefully cross this to reach a signposted path on the other side (West Drayton Avenue).

Go along this very straight, well-defined path through a wood for 1200m, ignoring any side paths. You stay under the trees for nearly all of this with just one small clearing. You eventually leave the wood and find yourself in a very large area of open arable fields. Carry straight on along the grit-surfaced, hard track between fields.

After another 500m you reach a crossroads of paths where a bridleway crosses West Drayton Avenue. Turn left here and follow the path along a line of telegraph poles at the edge of a field towards a wood. After 300m you reach the wood and enter it along a clear grassy track, still following the telegraph poles. After 300m the path goes very slightly to the right and you join a wide forest track. Bear left downhill for 400m until you reach Crook Ford, a ford across the River Poulter.

Crook Ford and The River Poulter

This is a nice spot to rest as the river gently flows by. Cross the ford using the footbridge on the left and continue uphill for 150m. Turn right up a track going further uphill. The track bends to the right towards a works entrance. Just before the entrance turn left along a narrow path and walk alongside a fence and large warehouse on your right. After 100m you leave the fence behind and meet a concrete track which soon becomes a road. Continue straight on along this road for 700m, going past a couple of houses on the way. You go uphill to reach more houses which are the edge of Elkesley.

When you reach the first proper road in the village turn left along Lawn Wood Lane to the centre of the village if you are finishing your walk here. The nearest bus stop is about 150m away. However, The Robin Hood Way goes straight on and I will give a description of the route for the next stage soon.

Please note – The next possible bus connection is at Walesby, 5km further on.

Walking The Trent Valley Way: Rolleston to Newark

26 Jul

The Trent Valley Way is the second-most well-known walking route in Nottinghamshire (after the Robin Hood Way). Only part of the Way is in Nottinghamshire as the walk extends to where the Trent flows into the Humber in Lincolnshire (around eighty miles in total). It is hoped eventually to cover most of the length of the river Trent from its source in Staffordshire. The Way doesn’t always follow the river exactly and indeed the section I describe here goes a couple of miles away from the Trent. If you are doing the whole Trent Valley Way it must make a bit of a change from the riverbank. The Trent Valley Way is generally quite well signed and you should look for way marks with a wavy blue line.

The start and finish points here are connected by bus and train routes which is always a consideration if doing point-to-point walks. I’m describing the walk in this direction as it seems to be traditional to do river walks heading downstream, (although I did the Thames Path going upstream).

Start: Rolleston Village. There is a bus every two hours to Newark and a regular rail service.

Finish: Newark. The Trent Valley Way only goes into Newark as far as the river near the castle but it’s only a short walk to the centre of Newark.

Distance: 12.4 km (7.7 miles)

Map of the Route

The centre of the village of Rolleston is near the Dapper Spaniel pub. For the start of the walk you want to be on the opposite side of the main road through the vilage. The Trent Valley Way leaves Rolleston heading towards the church and Southwell racecourse along a quiet road (Station Road) leaving the main road by a sharp bend. Go past the church and just after that as the road turns sharply to the left, look to the right where there is an open area of ground and a track going away from the road.  Turn off the road here.

Go straight across this area and then follow the track as it goes to the right.  You arrive at a railway crossing which you should cross with care.  You will see a small waymark with a wavy  arrow on it which indicates that you are on the Trent Valley Way.  After the crossing carry on along the metalled narrow road for about fifty yards.  Almost immediately after a bend to the right look for a footpath sign pointing left at some buildings.  Go left here between the buildings and then bear right onto a golf course.

Tree line on the golf course

You go onto the course at the back of a green and should go left up the bank behind the green.  This takes you to the top of the bank with the golf course on your right and a dyke containing the River Greet to your left.   Turn right here to follow the bank.  You can’t go wrong here as you are between the dyke and course for 300 yards, though you should keep an eye out for any errant gold balls flying in your direction.  Shortly after going past a short, attractive line of trees on the course running parallel to the bank the dyke bends to the right and you should do the same. Go behind a green for twenty yards where you reach a concrete crossing over the dyke on the left.  Cross that to leave the course and enter a large arable field.  There is a path going straight on here which takes you back towards the earlier part of the walk but ignore that and instead turn left to follow the grassy edge of the field.  This follows the river, now on your left.  After 200 yards you reach a footpath signpost.  Here you turn right away from the dyke to cross the field at its narrow point for fifty yards towards a hedge line.

At this hedge and line of trees you should go to the right of the hedge and follow it for 200 yards with a large field on your right.  As you reach the first large gap in the hedge after 200 yards look for a metal kissing gate in the next hedge ahead on the left.  Go through this gate into a smaller, more enclosed field than many of the surrounding ones.  Bear left diagonally across the field towards the line of trees.  As you near the far side of the field  after 150 yards you will see a post with a yellow top.  Leave the field there and go out onto a wide track under the trees.  This is the track that featured in Walk 26 .  Turn left here to walk along the track.

Almost immediately after this look for a footpath on the right.   This is the path we came along earlier and now we retrace our steps.  Turn right along this path which runs along a field edge towards the church tower at the top of the hill.  After 300 yards the edge of the field starts to turn right.  As it does so our route goes almost straight on towards the church.  We enter another field and make our way uphill aiming directly for the church.  After 200 yards go through a gate into the churchyard.  Go towards the main door of the church and from there a short way forward onto the main path in the churchyard.  Turn left along this path and out of the churchyard through a gate.  Carry straight on along a narrow path over some flagstones and keep going for 100 yards along the cul-de-sac of Church Walk until you meet the main road in Upton.  If you want to visit the Horological Institute then cross the road, carefully.  Alternatively, if you wish to visit the Cross Keys pub turn left for 200 yards along the pavement to reach the pub.

To continue along the Trent Valley Way turn right around the path on the inside of the sharp bend in the middle of the village.  This goes under a group of apple trees.  The people of Upton don’t appear to be very keen on apples as when I did this walk there were dozens of nice looking red ones lying on the ground underneath.

Continue along the pavement for 300 yards to the end of the village and carry on on this side of the road taking care as you now only have a grass verge to walk on. After another 300 yards out of the village look for a footpath sign on the other side of the road in the hedge and cross to join it. Go through the hedge into a large arable field and bear right towards a sizeable hill not far away. The path goes downhill for 200 yards to a gap in the trees where you cross a stream and go into another field. Start to climb the hill, Micklebarrow Hill, and after 400 yards reach the top of this large field. The hill gets steeper as you go through a grassy field and a kissing gate. This is one of the best places to stop and take in the view. Micklebarrow Hill is the highest point for a long way looking south and east. There are excellent views of the Trent Valley and towards Newark where the spire of the church near the market square can clearly be seen.

View north from Micklebarrow Hill
View from Micklebarrow Hill towards the Trent Valley

Bear slightly left across a grassy field for 200 yards until you come to a which you go through into another grassy field and carry almost straight on across it. You may notice a kind of pathway ahead which is clear of the clumps of nettles elsewhere in the field. On your right is a house. Go over a stile and follow a barbed wire fence along the top of the slope for a short way. The official route takes you down from the barbed wire fence near a small dead tree and you should try to go down the hill here. However, you may find bits of fencing mean you end up slightly further along the fence at the top of the hill but don’t worry. When you can go steeply down the hill to your left for 200 yards and find your way to the bottom hedge and a footpath going through it via a wooden kissing-gate to reach the A617.
Cross the road very carefully because not far to the right is a very sharp bend and on your left the trees may obscure your view a little. On the other side of the road go down some steps to the bottom of a field.

Go uphill for 300 yards with a hedge on your right. You reach a junction of paths where you turn right and after 150m make a sharp turn to the left until reaching a metal gate. Follow the field edge for 250 yards and go through another metal kissing gate into a large field. Turn right and go uphill for 250m to the field corner then turn left along the field edge. Enter a smaller field and follow the path next to the tree line on your right for 150 yards.

You reach a quiet road and turn right downhill past houses to reach a stables area and the main farm complex of Averham Park stables. Turn left to cross a farm road and a crossing over horse racing gallops. There are large signs warning you about the gallops. It is unlikely the gallops will be in use except early in the morning but stay alert. On the other side of the gallops go straight on through an arable field until you reach another part of the gallops. Cross this and immediately go down steps into a small hollow under some trees and straight up again out of the hollow up more steps. Go through a gap in the hedge and across a quiet road onto a track by fields opposite.

Go straight on for 100m then turn left uphill on a wide track for another 100 yards. Turn right along another track for 200 yards until you reach a gap in a hedge with a yellow-topped post and footpath signs on it. Go through the gap into a field and turn right along the field edge for 100 yards. The path descends and bends to the left. Continue along the field edge downhill and shortly go through a wooden gate on the right into another field. From here you can see Micklebarrow Hill and the Trent Valley.

View towards the Trent Valley from the top of the hill

Go down quite a steep hill for 400 yards in a grassy field with a hedge just to your left. At the bottom when I last went this way was the wire of an electric fence, which was unwelcome, but could be ducked under easily. Hopefully this won’t be there now. Turn right along the bottom of the field with a wood to your left for 100 yards. Go left over a small bridge slightly downhill into another field. Go left just below the wood at the edge of the field for 150 yards and then through a gate. Turn right along a path in a new field, going away from the wood. After 300 yards go through a gap in the hedge into another field. Follow a path around to the left for 250 yards along the field edge, ignoring the footbridge on your right. The path bends more sharply to the left. Keep the hedge on your right as you carry on along the track which bends slightly to the left again. Continue straight on for 500 yards alongside a field on a farm track aiming towards houses. This becomes a narrower path as you reach the houses and come to a quiet road in the village of Kelham. Turn right until reaching the main road where you turn left.

You enter Kelham village and reach a sharp right hand bend.  Follow the pavement around the bend and carry on past The Fox pub on the left. If you have walked from Rolleston you may want to stop here for refreshment. If not, continue along the pavement crossing a minor road on the left before the road rises slightly as it crosses the River Trent bridge. On the far side of the river there is another sharp right hand bend which sometimes causes problems for larger vehicles trying to negotiate it. As you start to follow this bend round look for a wide track on the left, going away from the road, which you should turn along.

The temptation is to carry on along this straight track but the path you want actually leaves the track almost as soon as you reach the bottom of the slope coming away from the road.  Look for a path leaving the main track to the right going into a small grassy field.  Cross the field through long grass trying to avoid the nettles and aiming for a kissing gate with a yellow post indicating the footpath about 100 yards away.

The nature of the next fields may differ from my description as I did this walk last summer.  In fact it will probably be easier to negotiate them when the crops haven’t reached their full height.  At the time of my walk the next field of oil-seed rape had a clear path made through the crops.  If the path isn’t obvious when you do the walk you should keep going in the same direction as when you crossed the grassy field.   Actually the path goes almost straight for the next half mile across the next three fields.

This first field is about 300 yards across, the second is slightly further across.  As you leave this field you may find that the next one you enter contains sheep. This third field is about 400 yards long and you should follow the line of the hedge just to your left.  I found that the temporary fence to contain the sheep was very close to the field edge and the narrow gap was a little awkward.  If this fence is still there you may be able to step over it and walk just inside it where you have a bit more room.  Leave this field in the far left-hand corner to enter another field which is about 150 yards straight across and opens up to your left  Go straight across this to the end of a line of trees and from there enter another more enclosed field .  This field is only 100 yards across, mostly surrounded by trees and you should stay on the left hand side by the hedge.  The way out only becomes apparent as you get close to the far side of the field where you will see a gap in the corner.

Leave the field in this corner where you cross a dyke and go straight over the next field for 200 yards.  Leaving this field you come to the rugby club.  Cross the rugby pitches towards the large clubhouse pictured below but pass to the left of all these buildings going almost straight on aiming for the obvious gap in the hedges you see ahead. You go very close to a small hut by the pitch just before going through the gap in the hedge.  This leads to another set of pitches which you go straight across in the same direction you have been walking.  The prominent spire of the church next to Newark Market place shows how near you are to finishing the walk and may give you an extra spring in your step.

Newark Rugby Club

Newark Rugby Club

At the end of these pitches you go up some steps to reach the A617 again.  Very carefully go straight across the road and down some more steps on the far side. Cross the corner of a small field to reach a slightly larger grassy field which you should go straight across.  This brings you to another potentially busy road, the Newark by-pass (A46).  Cross this carefully and enter another small field.  Go straight across this and through the treeline at the far side.  Going up a bank brings you onto the old Kelham Road at the end of a cul-de-sac.  Keep going almost straight on and follow the road for 300 yards all the way to the far end where it meets the main road into Newark, bearing right at the small fork in the road near the main road.  Turn right at the end and go over the level crossing next to Newark Castle railway station.

Continue alongside the main road passing the Cattle Market on the right and soon reaching the bridge over the river Trent.

Newark Castle