Archive | May, 2014

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 16: Kirklington and Roe Wood

15 May

Please note that I recently did this walk and some parts near Roe Wood are very overgrown.  I wouldn’t recommend doing it until later in the autumn when hopefully things will have improved.

This is a circular walk starting and finishing in the village of Kirklington.  After an unpromising start alongside a busy road it makes a pleasant circuit of fields and woodland and gives some good views.

Start:  Kirklington isn’t a good place to find somewhere to park.  The best spot is probably near the attractive towered church on the quiet cul-de-sac of Church Lane just off the main A617 that runs through the village.

Distance: 5.5 miles

Leave Church Lane and turn right to follow the pavement alongside the A617 for 400 yards until you reach the end of the village.  This road is extremely busy and used by lorries so isn’t the most enjoyable walking.  On the positive side there is a pavement or footway for nearly all of the way along it.  As you leave Kirklington cross a quiet road on the  right which goes off towards Normanton and Southwell.  Immediately after this road you rejoin the pavement which soon starts to rise quite steeply up the hill.  At first you have fields to your right and as you rise up the hill the views start to become quite extensive to the south.  However, the traffic will probably discourage you from lingering and in any case you will have views that are just as good later in the walk in a quieter spot.  The pavement enters an area of trees as you get near the top of the hill about 600 yards from Kirklington.

At the top of the hill the road bends to the right.  The pavement only continues for a little way after this but the verge at the side of the road is reasonably wide for the next hundred yards.  The road starts to go downhill with a farm now appearing on the left and here the verge disappears.  Look to the opposite side of the road for a gap in the hedge a little further down the hill where a footpath leaves the road.  As you reach this point cross the road very carefully and go through the gap into the field.  At the time of writing the path here goes through an unploughed field and the path is quite rough.  Follow the path downhill going away from the road.  You pass the back of a farm and cross a ditch which may have water in it.  Keep following the indistinct path slightly left towards a gap in the hedge and now starts to rise again across another two fields.

Leave the second field through a gap in the hedge and enter a different world.  You arrive on a grassy track which is surrounded on both sides by trees which meet overhead to form a tunnel.   In such a lovely place it is hard to believe that you are only 300 yards from a very busy road.  Turn left and walk along the tunnel for 400 yards.  It is an absolute pleasure to walk along this track.  The grass is short and easy to walk on and the track is is good condition all the way.  It is a shame to leave but when a gap opens up on the right at the end of the track go out into a field.   This is a large arable field.  Turn left and follow the edge of the field next to a wood.  There isn’t a clear path to follow but the field isn’t too uneven.  After 300 yards you come to another field and follow an obvious path running downhill towards a wood (Roe Wood).

At the bottom of the field you will see a wide track going to the left into the wood.  However, the wood is private and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and you shouldn’t enter it.  Instead at the bottom of the slope head right of the hedge to follow the edge of the wood on quite a narrow path.

You soon come to a series of enclosures, containing horses when I last walked this way.  The horses are contained by what I suspect is white electric fencing although  I didn’t see any signs to indicate it was electric.  I wasn’t going to touch it to find out and you would probably also be best advised not to touch it.  Walk between the enclosures and the wood.  The path is wide enough to walk in single file without much danger of touching the fence, the only slight problem being where a tree branch overhangs the path and you have to duck through the gap going close to the fence.  After 400 yards you pass the end of the wood and soon come to a wooden footbridge over a stream on the left.  Cross the bridge and then turn right alongside the stream by the field edge.  After 200 yards you reach a wide farm track.

If you turn right here you can go up to the small and tranquil village of Winkburn.

We turn left at the track and follow it for the next half mile.  Initially the track rises gently to come back towards Roe Wood.  It then follows Roe Wood on the left with fields on your right.  The track is always in good condition to being firm and wide with hedges a few feet away on either side.  After half a mile a footpath goes off to the right up the hill where  you will see another farm ahead.  However, our route continues to follow Roe Wood.  We leave the track through a metal kissing gate to the left and join a footpath along the edge of a field.  We are now separated from Roe Wood by a ditch.  Go up hill along the field edge until after 400 yards you turn left again to enter another field.  Carry on uphill along this field edge next to Roe Wood until you reach the top.  Step through a  metal gate to leave the field where a line of trees goes off to the right.

Leaving the field you will see ahead of you a ditch which is crossed by a wooden plank bridge.  That path takes you back to the A617 .  We don’t cross the ditch.  Instead our route turns right and follows the line of trees.  This is a narrow track which runs straight along the line of trees.  While taking a generally straight course it twists and turns slightly as it runs between the trees.  Considering it is such a narrow line of trees it is surprisingly well covered and is a nice walk.  The only slight  concern is to watch for tree roots.  After about 500 yards look for a gap in the hedge on the left where you will see a post indicating a footpath and also a waymark for the Robin Hood Way. Turn left through the gap and enter a field.

Carrying straight on along the tree line takes you to Dukes Wood which has a small visitor centre with information about the oil-wells that used to be on the site.  It is also a nature reserve.

Once in the field go straight ahead along the edge of it looking for yellow topped posts indicating the footpath, aiming for a big barn at the end of the field near some woodland.  Then you join a farm track which goes to the left of the big barn and then past another smaller barn.  After this second barn keep following the wide farm track straight downhill for 400 yards to the bottom of the dip and then uphill again for another 300 yards.  This takes you to the end of the field where you can admire the view ahead without the traffic spoiling your enjoyment.  Go over  the farm track coming across you and follow the path through the  wide gap in the hedge ahead.  This takes you onto a wide track going quite steeply down hill below a clump of trees.  Below you to the right you can see a small lake and the large building of the former Rodney School .  Follow the obvious track down the hill.  It turns on the way down.  This is a fine track to walk down as it has good views to the south and pleasant woodland above you on the escarpment to the left.

At the bottom of the hill go through a rather basic improvised gate and step over a cattle grid.  Fifty yards later you reach another cattle grid with a wooden gate on the right.  Go through the gate and onto a tarmac drive next to a series of buildings.  Turn left along the drive and follow it for 100 yards until you reach the main A617 road again.  Here you can return to the start of the walk again along the main road or do an extra half mile or so along my recommended extra loop.

For this loop go  straight across the main road and carry on down the track entrance opposite with the barn to your right unfortunately now obscured by boards.  After fifty yards at the end of the track carry straight on across a field for eighty yards until on your left 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 the right hand path takes you in that direction. Go along this path for 200 yards 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.  Either go through the gateway or over 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 for 150 yards.  The path then crosses a bridge but we aren’t going that way.  You may wish to pause by the pond for a while.

Smaller Pond near Kirlkington

Smaller Pond near Kirlkington

Our route goes back up the hill in the field we have just crossed only this time we aim leftwards towards the hedge near the house at the top of the slope.  The path is usually quite clear.  After 150 yards you reach a wide gap in the hedge.  Go through the gap and then immediately turn right alongside the hedge for 200 yards going gently downhill.  As you near the end of this field look for another small grassy field or lawn on the right.  Turn right and cross this lawn to the far end where it meets the end of Church Lane.  Turn left and follow the lane towards the main road where we started the walk.