Archive | March, 2014

Walk 14: South From Farnsfield using Fields and Tracks near Greaves Lane

31 Mar

This walk is a circuit starting in Farnsfield going south over Greaves Lane and then onto some of the tracks beyond the lane on the next ridge. It returns to Farnsfield across different fields to Cotton Mill Farm.  There are various alternative routes which I will mention.  The walk should be quite reasonable even after wet weather as the paths I have used don’t seem to become too muddy.

Distance: 5 miles

Start:Farnsfield Co-op


From the car-park walk to the junction of Tippings Lane with the Main Street. From the entrance to the Co-op turn right along the Main Street and walk along the pavement. After 50 yards you will come to Atherley’s bakery. This is very popular with villagers and if you want a snack before or after your walk good quality food can be bought here.

Continue along the pavement past the entrance to the Pot Yard. After 100 yards you reach Quaker Lane. Cross the end of Quaker Lane and walk past the bus stop with The Plough pub on the other side of the road. There is a good size car park at The Plough as well if you wish to start the walk from here. Pass the bottom end of The Ridgeway, also on the opposite side of the road, and walk for another 200 yards and turn into the entrance to Parfitt Drive.

Parfitt Drive is a quite new development of houses with a large grassy area nearby. Walk past the children’s playground and onto the grass. Pass just to the left of a clump of trees and walk straight on until you reach a metal gate (see photo). Go through the gap next to the gate onto a field with the village allotments. Bear slightly to the right until you reach a wooden fence with a gap which enables you to pass through onto a wide track. Walk on this track for thirty yards towards a metal barrier. Just to the left of this barrier is a gap to walk through where a patch of  shale has been added. Recently a wooden fence has been built which requires a jink to the left of five metres or so before you enter onto the Acres.

The Acres is the main football field in Farnsfield with two pitches at right-angles to each other. The nearer pitch isn’t used by the football club. There were swings just to your left as you walk onto the Acres but now only the rubberised surround remains. Walk straight ahead towards a red-brick building which are the changing-rooms for the football club. After 200 yards you are at the far end of the Acres.

Follow the main path almost straight on as it enters an area of woodland. The trees in this plantation were only planted around twenty years ago but have formed a nice little area to walk through. Over the years various other paths have been formed through the trees. these can be explored if you have time. For this walk I am following the widest path which goes almost straight ahead. The path is a good one on short grass passing between the trees with a clearing and bench on the left after one hundred yards. Another hundred yards beyond this the path dips slightly to a ditch and you leave the woodland.

The path enters a field and rises for about two hundred yards. The field can get a little muddy after wet weather but dries quite well, especially when it is breezy as it is quite open. At the top of the field is a bench which you may wish to take advantage of after the short climb. Looking back from the bench you can see the football pitches again.

Where Walk 1 turns right down the track,  this walk (Walk 14) continues straight ahead.

Walk straight on by the field edge with a hedge to your left. After 100 yards the hedge ends and the path carries on ahead downhill. It is nearly always well-defined to the bottom of the hollow.  After wet weather it can be a little muddy at the very bottom.  At the bottom you come to a hedge coming in from the right. Go to the left of the end of this hedge and through a gap into the corner of a new field. Our route keeps roughly straight ahead up a steep little hill by a new hedge.  Keep the new hedge, mainly of trees, to your left and follow the field edge up this sharp rise for 200 yards.

Back towards Farnsfield from the top of the hill

At the top of the climb you come to a fence with a stile by another hedge. Nowadays there is a gap by the stile so there is no need to climb the stile itself.  Go through this gap and turn immediately right with the hedge now on your right.  After 50 yards you reach the corner of the field and must turn left going slightly uphill.  After 30 yards you reach the top of the hill. You can see back the way you came all the way to Farnsfield. Ahead of you are views to another ridge and to the east are extensive views towards Newark. On a clear day you can see for miles. To the west you can see Comb’s Wood along the hill.

Towards Greaves Lane from the top of  the hill

From the top of the hill go quite steeply downhill along the field edge with the hedge to your right.  The field may have crops in it and if you stick to the very edge of the field the ground is slightly uneven in places. The field and path can get a little muddy but is generally not bad.  After 300 yards you reach the bottom of the hill. Look for one of the gaps in the hedge on the right and go through to the other side of the hedge.  Now with the hedge on your left walk for fifty yards until you reach a stream in a ditch. Turn right here along the edge of the field for fifty yards. The ground here can be wet so you may have to look for  a drier line just in from the field edge.  You come to the end of a farm track on your left leading to a wooden gate. Follow this track over the stream to the gate 80 yards away. Occasionally the gate is open but if it isn’t go to the right of the gate and climb over a stile to reach a road (Greaves Lane) opposite a farm.

Looking back up the hill from near Greaves Lane

On reaching the lane turn left and then almost immediately right across the lane to the drive of the house opposite.  After ten yards look for a footpath gate on the left and go through it onto a grassy area.  Turn right to go up the hill with a field on your left and the house and outbuildings on your right. The grassy path rises straight up for 150 yards to the end of the field and then turns sharply left to go into a strip of trees.  The path here goes uphill along a sunken path between two banks.  Follow this path for 200 yards until you reach a gate. At the side of the gate is a narrow gap with a metal piece which can be lifted up to pass through, which I find slightly quicker than using the gate.  Just after the gate look to your left for a gap in the hedge. If you go through you will find an information board about the Robin Hood Way (this path is an offshoot of the Way) mounted on a large stone plinth.  There is also a bench which you may well want to take advantage of as it gives great views back to Farnsfield over the path you have walked.

Resume our walk by going to the top of the path just a few yards up from the plinth where it joins a farm road.  Here there is a choice of routes.  You can carry on along the road in the same direction as the path up through the wood and this continues to give good views back to Farnsfield. About 200 yards along is a junction with a track on the right which is where the main route of this walk rejoins you.  This cuts about a mile from the walk.

Back with the main route. Come from the plinth to the farm road.  You are at a corner. Turn right from the woodland path you have just come up. After 100 yards you come to a fork in the path.  To the right is a track to a farm but we want the left hand path.  Until a few years ago this path was in a pretty dreadful state.  It was just a grass path which was getting very rutted and uneven as bikes and horses went along it.  It was almost impassable at times and was even closed for some months.  It was resurfaced with shale and is now a good firm track which is fine to walk on even after wet weather.  I am often critical of the state of path maintenance but this is one that has been vastly improved.

Follow the left hand path for 100 yards where it turns right.  After another 200 yards turn sharp left.  Just after this left turn one thing to look for if it is a clear day and you have binoculars is Lincoln Cathedral.  You have to find a gap in the hedge on the left and look to the skyline way over to the east.  On the distant ridge you may, if you are lucky, just be able to make out the profile of the cathedral rising form the top of the ridge. Walk straight along the track for another 600 yards.  The views from the path are unfortunately mostly hidden by the hedges on either side of you.  You emerge at a junction where our track meets a much wider track and a farm road.  You now have a less obscured view of the surrounding countryside. Although the hedge on the right is still quite high you should be able to see across to the next ridge along.  At this junction of tracks if you go straight on for half a mile you reach the back road into Halam which goes up to the Oxton-Southwell road.

Our route at the track junction  takes the left turn down the farm road.  This road isn’t one you would choose to drive down as it is full of pot-holes but if walking these can be easily avoided.  Go down the hill long the road towards a farm for 200 yards.  As you get to the bottom of the dip the road makes a  short  right and then left turn for before you start to climb again away from the farm and the trees at the bottom.  After 200 yards you are back at the top of the next rise.  This is the crossroads next to the small reservoir we reached in Walk 10.  Ahead the road undulates towards Edingley.  The path to the right goes along the ridge before going down into Halam.  The route we want for this walk takes the wide track to the left at this crossroads.

As you go along the track you have hedges and fields on either side. On your left the ground slopes down to a valley and you can see the ridge we walked along earlier.  After 150 yards on the right is a footpath across the fields passing the caravan site. This gives excellent views and you can choose to go this way to Greaves Lane if you want. However, it can be slightly tricky to find your way down and can get muddy and overgrown near the bottom and I have chosen a different route. Carrying on with my route, after 400 yards you pass a farmhouse on the left. The track turns to the right for eighty yards.

At this point we meet the road from the plinth which some walkers may have used as a short cut.

You can reach Greaves Lane by going across a path down the hill in the field ahead and through a yard onto the lane. From there is a route back to Cotton Mill Farm across the fields. The path isn’t bad apart from a short section in the field near Cotton Mill Farm which seems to stay wet and muddy.

That is why I prefer the following route from the top of the hill.

Turn right along the road which shortly starts to go steeply downhill under the cover of trees and hedges. The road bends slightly to the left as you go. Take a little care as the road surface isn’t perfect and the descent is quite a sharp one.  After 400 yards you reach the bottom of the hill as the road meets Greaves Lane.

On reaching Greaves Lane turn right.  After 100 yards, just after a house on the left with large solar panels, look for a track on the left going down off Greaves Lane.  It is signposted but you can miss the sign coming from this direction as the signpost is just offf Greaves Lane and slightly hidden.  Go down the obvious track between the houses and gardens for 100 yards.  On your right you approach a big open barn and on your left and stretching out ahead is a very large field.  Enter this field as near to the end as you can.  There is a gate on the left of the track which is sometimes open.  If it isn’t you will have to climb over it.

The field itself is some 500 yards long and often has crops in it. For most of the year the crops aren’t too high although in summer it can be slightly awkward. The big advantage of this way is that it is very often dry underfoot compared to other routes.  In recent years there hasn’t been a clear path directly across the field.  However, there is a good way of getting across the field.  Go to the end of the field near the gate and walk about 10 yards along.  There always seems to be an obvious pair of parallel tracks where the farmer has driven his tractor and there are no crops growing.  Follow these straight down the field for 400 yards or so until there is a very slight dip down.  At this point look ahead of you to your left and the hedge.  You should be able to see a wooden post with a yellow top which marks the footpath.  To get there try to follow more tractor tracks.  You will probably have to move 10 yards further to your left to reach a new set of tracks which conveniently then go towards the yellow post.

On reaching the post look for a gap in the hedge and a little bridge which crosses a small stream.  This takes you into a nice grassy field.  Of late a temporary fence has been built in the field which takes you thirty yards to the end of the field by the Cotton Mill Dyke and from there turns alongside the dyke to leave the field in the corner.  This takes you into the track through Cotton Mill Farm. Turn right along the track for fifty yards, round a slight bend and then go to the left and a wooden gate leading into a large grassy field.  The footpath gate next to the main gate isn’t in the best state of repair. The main problem here though is the state of the field next to the gate.  The field is sometimes used for cows and as they use this gateway the entrance can often be rather muddy.  The best strategy is to try and edge along the very thin strip of grass at the side of the field but this can take a bit of nimble footwork. If the mud is too bad and you want to go into Farnsfield you may have to resort to using the driveway from Cotton Mill Farm which goes to the Farnsfield to Edingley road and from there along the road to Farnsfield.

Once past the mud the field is very pleasant to walk through.  Walk straight on near the hedge.  The path soon goes along a little bank a couple of feet above the rest of the field. Half way along you pass a stone which looks as though it may mark a boundary.  The only hazards you may encounter are curious cows together with other reminders that cows have used the field so watch where you are putting your feet.  After 250 yards leave the field using a stile and then ten yards later go through a gap ahead of you next to a gate that takes you onto the track next to the Acres football pitches.

Go straight along the track towards the swings but after thirty yards look for a gap in the hedge on the right next to a wooden fence.  Go through the gap onto another football field and head across the football pitch towards a metal gate at the far side not far from the goalposts.  Go through the gate back onto the field which you crossed at the start of the walk. From here you can just retrace your steps to the Main Street and to the start of the walk.  However, I will give an alternative for a little variety.  Head towards the Main street but when you reach the middle of the field walk towards the road running next to the field (Parfitt Drive).  Look for a road coming off the other side of Parfitt Drive called Irving Close.  Cross Parfitt Drive and go straight along Irving Close to the far end.  As you reach the end of the road you should see a path between two houses.  Go along that path for thirty yards until you reach a narrow path under tall trees. Turn right along this path for 100 yards until you come out onto the Main Street almost opposite the Plough pub.  Turn left and walk along the Main Street until you reach the Co-op again.