Archive | March, 2013

Walk 6: Southwell to Farnsfield near the River Greet

30 Mar

Start: Car Park at the end of the disused railway track, now known as the Southwell Trail,  off  Station Road near The Final Whistle Pub.

Distance:5.7 miles

This walk is a point to point walk from Southwell to Farnsfield. It runs close to the old railway line between the two places but I prefer to avoid the track itself as the views are often restricted by the trees. If you want to make this walk a circular one you can easily do so by returning to Southwell along the railway track which takes you back to your start point. Alternatively you can get the hourly bus between Farnsfield and Southwell (number 28).

From the car park walk to the road near the pub. At the road turn left 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.

River Greet near Southwell

River Greet near Southwell

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 will 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. 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 200 yards before taking a left turn through a gap in the hedge.

River Greet near Maythorne

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 200 yards before you have to divert your course slightly as you reach the hamlet of Maythorne.  As you reach a wooden footbridge it is worth walking the few yards towards the tall mill building in Maythorne to reach a narrow footbridge over the river as it sweeps down from the mill. 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 the start of the walk.

Near the Mill at Maythorne

Near the Mill at Maythorne

To continue the walk to Farnsfield 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. You should reach this hedge at a point roughly level with the trees. Continue along the hedge for 100 yards.  Go through the hedge across a stile 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 10 yards 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.

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 150 yards 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 yards 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. You are aiming diagonally through the wood to your right as you leave the bridge and  one path takes you in that direction. Another goes almost straight on from the bridge and on emerging from the wood you should turn right and follow the edge of the wood until you reach the corner of the wood which has a yellow waymarked post.

From this corner cross the thirty yards 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 gate with a stile next to it. Cross the stile into a large, grassy field. Turn left and walk between the hedge on your left and a fence  on your right for fifty yards. 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

Smaller Pond near Kirlkington

On reaching the pond you come to a solid, wooden footbridge over a stream. Crossing this bridge you reach metal kissing gate. If you wish to return to Southwell you can go through that gate and follow the path and waymarks along a field edge. You soon reach a road and can join the old railway track by turning right, then a left turn at the next road junction.   However, our route ignores the kissing gate. Instead we turn right to follow the path with the stream on our right. After eighty yards turn left away from the stream and follow the field edge. On your right now is a paddock field which usually has a horse in it.  There is a gate into this paddock marked as a footpath but I prefer to go just past this gate and turn right alongside but just outside the paddock.  After eighty yards the path becomes a rough lane with houses on either side. After another one hundred yards this lane meets a road. Turn right and walk 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 300 yards. As you near the entrance to the farm property look on your right for a path between trees. Walk down this path. After 50 yards you reach a large pond (or small lake). 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.

Large Pond near Moor Farm, Kirkington

Large Pond near Moor Farm, Kirkington

Pool near the pond

Pool near the pond

Sapling Plantatation

Sapling Plantatation

Retrace your steps to the driveway and go straight across it to reach a stile going into the field opposite. G into this field and walk straight ahead for eighty yards with a ditch on your right. Then turn ninety degrees to the right. You walk for 400 yards between the ditch and hedge on your right and sometimes a plantation of saplings on your left. Go all the way straight along until you come to a tall hedge at the end. The hedge on your right comes to an end just before this and you turn right when that hedge ends. Keep the tall hedge on your left and walk beside it for 200 yards. The path can be quite muddy for a short section here.

At the end of the hedge turn left to cross a small field for fifty yards to a row of trees. As you cross the field you can see to your right a small fence belonging to an equestrian cross-country course. Go straight across the row of trees to a yellow waymark post and keep going straight ahead across a large field. You should be able to see the way ahead as the path is reasonably well-defined. You are aiming for the corner of the hedge ahead. You reach this hedge corner after 300 yards and then aim for the gap at the end of the field. The path goes just to the right of the field edge and after 150 yards you reach the end of the field and come to the disused railway track which goes all the way back to Southwell if you turn left.  If you wish you can go back to Southwell which is just over three miles away.

Otherwise go into Farnsfield as I have described in earlier walks.

Cross the railway track and go through a gap opposite near a bench. This brings you to a wide grassy track. It can be muddy at this point for about twenty yards or so but thereafter is in a good state. Turn right along this track through the slightly muddy section and keep going straight all the way back into Farnsfield. After 100 yards the track leaves the grass behind as you reach a house on the left. The path becomes gradually firmer. Near the pumping station and the first houses on your right the track becomes a metalled road (Brickyard Lane). Just past the turning to the pumping station the road passes between hedges with no verge. In the unusual event of a vehicle coming down the lane take care here.

You soon reach the main part of the village with houses on either side. Carry on all the way to the end of Brickyard Lane where it turns sharply right to meet The Ridgeway very near to the junction with the Main Street. Turn left to follow the Ridgeway for twenty yards onto the Main Street. Turn right along the Main Street to reach the centre of the village.

Walk 5: Farnsfield to Bilsthorpe and back via Hexgreave and the hilltop

6 Mar

A walk to the next village north of Farnsfield including excellent views from the top of a hill. Mostly on road and firm tracks although there are two fields to cross which can be muddy.

Start:Farnsfield Co-op.

Distance:7.7 miles

Follow the route from walk 2 as far as Hexgreave. Repeated here in italics.

Starting again at the Co-op in the centre of Farnsfield (see walk 1 for details). At the junction of Tippings Lane and the Main Street near the entrance to the Co-op. Cross the Main Street to the front of a grocery store with a post box outside it. Turn left along the Main Street and walk for one hundred yards along the pavement until you reach the bottom of New Hill just after the greengrocer’s.

Turn right up New Hill. On the opposite side of the road as you ascend the hill are the village centre,library and chip shop. At the top of the hill cross Chapel Lane and continue for another 100 yards,passing the tennis club on the other side of the road, as the road becomes Broomfield Lane. Carry straight on crossing Far Back Lane and continue going straight for another 300 yards. Here the road you are on reaches a dip where the disused railway formerly crossed it. This railway line is now a pleasant path to walk along. However, our route continues straight ahead.

Rising out of the dip you reach the end of the village and ahead of you see a long, straight road. Walk along this between fields of crops passing South Lodge and the sign marking the entrance to Hexgreave after 200 yards.  The grass verge beside the road widens at this point and you may prefer to walk on this rather than the road, although there is little traffic.

Go all the way to the end of the road where it forms a junction. Here turn right up a small hill. It is possible to cross the field on your left along a footpath at this point but the path is often indistinct and overgrown. At the top of the rise on the road you come to a junction at the end of a lovely avenue of lime trees.Turn left at the junction to walk along this avenue. After 100 yards the path across the field meets the road. The road then starts to climb again and bends to the right. You reach a collection of buildings at the top of the hill. The largest of these is Hexgreave Hall which now has a collection of other buildings nearby which are businesses. Keep following the road between the buildings until you pass the last of them.  Down the hill ahead of you is another fine avenue of trees which leads to the A617.

Where Walk 2 turns across the field near the deer this walk carries on down the road from Hexgreave Hall. You can choose to walk along the road, which has little traffic, or parallel with it down the avenues of trees along the grass. After 300 yards going downhill from the Hall the road turns sharply to the right as it goes out onto the A617.  Where the road turns to the right the walk continues straight on towards a house fifty yards ahead. Near the house is a small metal gate (not the gate into the house’s garden) going onto the A617. Go through the gate onto the verge of the A617.

Keep to the verge and turn left. Fifty yards ahead across the road is a junction on the right. The A617 is a busy road so be very careful when crossing. Cross the A617 and go onto this incoming road.  Go along this road taking care as there is no verge on right and only a narrow one on the left. It is probably best to cross onto this verge and walk as far as a house. There isn’t too much traffic along this road but in the time it takes to walk along it you will probably meet one or two vehicles. These are often lorries going to the weighbridge. This isn’t a very nice section of the walk but you can avoid a little of the road as follows.

At the house cross the road onto the right hand side of the road (usually advisable  where there  is no verge so that you are facing the oncoming traffic). The hedge becomes thinner and you can find large gaps in it. If you go through one of these and stay by the field edge and off the field itself you can walk next to the road but on the other side of the hedge away from the traffic. After 300 yards you meet another road (the road from Bilsthorpe). Turn right at this junction. After 100 yards look to the other side of the road where there is a neater grass verge. Cross as soon as you can to reach this verge and follow it alongside a wooden fence until you reach the entrance to Belle Eau park.  This is a collection  of buildings and a weighbridge with a tall white building dominating the area. After 100 yards turn left along the road going into the business park complex.

Go straight on through the weighbridge area ignoring all of the businesses and buildings on either side of you. After 200 yards you come to the end of the buildings and reach a concrete track going straight on uphill with fields on either side.  Walk along this track up the hill. You pass a sign for the Robin Hood campsite and climb just a little further. At the top of the rise the views are starting to open up in front of and behind you.  Follow the concrete track downhill past some kennels on your right. You will usually be greeted by the barking of dogs as you pass the kennels but the dogs are contained securely.

Looking south towards Belle Eau Park and Hexgreave

Looking south towards Belle Eau Park and Hexgreave

The way north. You can see yellow topped-posts showing the route.

The way north. You can see yellow topped-posts showing the route.

Just past the kennels the farm track bears right but the footpath we want turns left towards a wood for 80 yards. On reaching the wood don’t enter it but turn right and follow the field edge uphill with the wood on your left. This is quite a sharp little climb to the top where the wood to the left finishes. Our route continues straight ahead across the field. If you look across the field you will see a post with a yellow top and beyond that in a direct line another one. This is our route. This part can be muddy after wet weather but seems to dry out quite quickly if there is a dry spell. Go down the hill to the bottom of the hollow to reach the corner of another wood. Go straight on up again across another part of the field where you reach more woodland.  Go up onto the path a few feet above the field at the top of a small bank. The path turns right by the field and wood edge. After 100 yards you reach a gap in the hedge on the left. Before you go through it do turn around to admire the view.

Looking south from the hill near Bilsthorpe

Looking south from the hill near Bilsthorpe

On a clear day you can see a ridge to the south which runs for a few miles from Halam in the east to Robin Hood Hill above Oxton in the west. Beyond that on the horizon if you have binoculars you can see the outline of Belvoir Castle. You can just make out the turrets. Rather closer to the south-east you can see the tops of the towers of Southwell minster.

Go through the gap in the hedge and go straight ahead following the edge of the wood by another field. After 200 yards you reach a wide track on your left which goes into the wood. Ignore that track and carry on ahead bearing slightly to the right until after fifty yards you meet a junction of quite wide, firm tracks. Stop here to take in the excellent views. This time the prospect is mainly to the north. To the north-west you can see what remains of the heart of  Sherwood Forest. You can see quite large areas of woodland. Looking closely you should be able to see other landmarks. About four miles away to the north-west you should be able to see the spire of Edwinstowe church.  Slightly nearer in the same direction you can see the tops of the buildings in Rufford Park.  Looking round to the north-east you may see the steam from the last remaining power stations on the Trent.  If you look almost due east with binoculars on a clear day you can make out Lincoln cathedral on the horizon. The cathedral is twenty miles away but the towers can be seen rising from the skyline.

Retrace your steps fifty yards to the entrance to the wood and go round the barrier into the wood. Follow the main track straight ahead for 400 yards. Where the main track bends right and starts going downhill there is a small bench. At the bench take the track to the left. This track is still wide but is on grass rather than the firm surface of the main track. It is still fine for walking on until you reach a small muddy section after 100 yards. You can step around the worst of the mud so it isn’t too much of a problem.

Just after this the track turns at ninety degrees to the right. If you look to your left here you will see a narrow path which actually goes through to the edge of the wood from earlier in the walk. We take the wide track to the right which goes downhill, gently at first then more steeply straight on down into Bilsthorpe.  After 200 yards the views open up to the left again as you reach the end of the wood. After another 100 yards the path becomes firm again and you go round a rust coloured barrier.

On your right now is a landfill site with a high fence around it. Carry on down the track. In a short while you start to come under the cover of a line of trees and you see Bilsthorpe church to your left. Ignore all paths coming in from the sides and keep on down as the track becomes a road (Bungalow Lane). This eventually meets the main road in Bilsthorpe by a vehicle repair centre.

At this point if you have had enough walking you can get the bus from Bilsthorpe to Farnsfield. The 33 which runs every hour and a half goes into the centre of Farnsfield and the 28 which is every hour goes to the edge of Farnsfield at Cockett Lane..

Cross the main road and turn right as far as the roundabout 100 yards away. At the roundabout take the first exit to the left named Forest Link. This is the road going into a relatively new housing estate with lots of red-brick buildings. The road is usually quiet and meanders through the estate. Stay on the main road all the way until you come to a small circular car park. This marks the start of the old railway track which runs from Bilsthorpe to Farnsfield. The track you are on goes as far as Southwell some seven miles from Bilsthorpe.

Leave the car park to join the firm track and walk back south towards Farnsfield. Follow the track all the way for the next two miles.  Inititally the track runs on an embankment and you  can look to your left over the fields to see the houses of Bilsthorpe.  After half a mile you pass under a bridge and find yourself with large banks on either side as you enter a cutting. Until this point you have had trees by the track but as you round the next bend the banks become higher and the ground more sandy. The trees become less common and instead there is  gorse on the banks. The path here is in good condition and firm as it drains well.

Railway track between Bilsthorpe and Farnsfield.

Railway track between Bilsthorpe and Farnsfield.

Another half mile rings you under the A617 bridge and 400 yards past that is another bridge.  Beyond this bridge the banks of the cutting gradually decline until they disappear and you are again surrounded by trees on both sides.  The path is still a good one though after very heavy rain it can have a few muddy patches. These can be stepped around with a little delicate footwork. After a mile and a half of mostly straight walking the track starts to bend to the left and a little later meets another branch of the track near the old Farnsfield station. Where the tracks meet bear left continuing in the direction the track has been taking you on its long bend round. You are now going east. You come to the backs of the houses of Farnsfield on your right. After 200 yards from where the tracks met you reach a short steep path which bends as it makes the descent to the dip at the bottom of Bloomfield Lane which you walked along earlier. You should recognise this spot from earlier in the walk. At the bottom of the dip turn right along the road and retrace your steps into Farnsfield and the start of the walk.