Archive | November, 2014

Walk 20: Circuit of Southwell

20 Nov

A walk taking you round the edge of Southwell and back into and past some of the main attractions in the town.

Map of Route

Distance: 6.5 miles

Start: Car Park for the Southwell Trail, off Station Road near the Final Whistle pub, north of Southwell town centre.

Go through the car park away from the road and go onto the Southwell Trail disused railway line. Follow this track, which is in good condition in all but the very worst weather, for a mile until the next road you come to (the road going to Maythorne).

Alternatively if the weather has been dry you may prefer to follow my route alongside the river Greet which was Walk 6 on this blog. If I had the choice I would take the river route as the walk by the river is more interesting with the views not so obscured by trees and bushes. However, it does get a little muddy after wet weather.

For the river Greet route here is the description:

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.

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.

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.

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 take this route, when you reach Maythorne cross the bridge over the river and carry straight on for twenty yards until you reach a sort of courtyard in the middle of the tall old mill buildings.  Then leave the courtyard area and follow the road for 200 yards until you meet the disused railway line (Southwell Trail) on the original route where the Southwell Circuit continues.

80 yards from the railway track the road turns right and then very soon left. After another 100 yards you come to the main road into Southwell. This can be quite busy so take care crossing and then turn right on the far side where there is a verge and then a footway.

After 100 yards you reach the entrance to Norwood Park. Norwood Park has been much developed in recent years so that it now features a golf course and associated buildings.  It is still a nice walk however. Turn into the entrance to Norwood Park and follow the path on the right hand side of the metal fence which runs alongside the drive for cars.  You are now walking between the metal fence and a practice golf hole but fortunately there is a high, mesh fence protecting you from any stray golf balls. After 200 yards cross the road bearing right to the car park and continue straight on.  Carry on ahead under the trees ignoring all further road turnings for another 200 yards where you emerge from the trees and see the house on your right and golf course to the left. At a crossroads look just ahead of you to your left and you will see a footpath sign and rather obsolete stile.  Follow the sign and go round the stile along a wide avenue between apple trees.  At first the path goes slightly downhill before climbing again.

Norwood Hall

Norwood Park

Norwood Park

At the top of this rise you have good views to the right of Norwood Hall and behind you to the left of the golf course.  Ahead of you are the massed ranks of polytunnels used for cultivating fruit.  Depending on the time of year the polytunnels will either be skeletons with only the frames showing or a series of long plastic tubes. Carry on ahead between them going downhill again. Shortly you reach the end of the tunnels and come to a field. Follow the edge of the field straight on down the hill with a treelined hedge on your left. At the bottom you go through a narrow gap in a thick hedge and emerge on the pavement next to the main road from Halam to Southwell. Take care crossing the road as it can be busy and having done so go straight ahead over a ditch into a large field. The path goes straight on up the hill through the field and is usually well- defined. At the top of the field keep just to the right of the row of houses as you come to the Oxton to Southwell road.

Cross this road and almost straight ahead on the other side you will see a narrow footpath going between the houses. Go down this footpath for 200 yards until you reach the road at the bottom.  This is a quiet, pleasant  road in the Westhorpe of Southwell.  Cross the road and take the jitty almost immediately opposite just to the right.  Go down this narrow alley which goes straight downhill between gardens on the left and a wooden fence on the right .  After 150 yards cross a small bridge and enter a grassy field.  Go straight on up a small bank and then gradually descend for 200 yards on the left hand side of the field until in the corner you reach some slightly muddy steps down.  Leave the field going down the steps into a dumble (small wooded valley and stream). Cross a bridge over the stream and go up the steps in the embankment on the far side.  At the top you emerge at the bottom of a large arable field.  Turn left to follow the clear path along the bottom of the field.

Carry on roughly straight on along the bottom of the field for 400 yards until you come to what appears at first sight to be a dead-end at a hedge at the end of the field.  On closer inspection you will see a gap in the hedge in the corner which you should go through to reach a very nice tree covered path alongside the stream (Potwell Dyke).  The path can be a little slippery after rain so take care.

After 200 yards you arrive at a quiet residential street (Halloughton Road).  Cross the road and turn right up a small rise for fifty yards.  Look for a footpath signpost pointing to the left and follow that between houses.  As you approach the houses you may again think you have reached a dead-end but on the right you will see where the path picks up.  Follow the narrow path as it meanders around the houses.  However, you can’t really go wrong as there are no alternative for 300 yards.  Immediately after a churchyard on your left you enter a large field.  There are a few paths running across this field but you should take the one going just right of straight ahead which after 100 yards arrives at the busy Nottingham Road.  Use the crossing to reach the other side and turn right along the pavement on the other side.  After 100 yards take the road on the left (Park Lane).  This is a quiet backroad with little traffic.  Follow this as it passes Southwell rugby club on the left and uphill beyond.  You soon come to a fork in the road where you should take the left hand branch keeping roughly straight on.  Take a sharp left turn and keep following this road round a right bend and then almost immediately a left turn as it becomes Crink Lane.

Follow the lane for a mile round various bends in a generally north-east direction passing the Minster school playing fields on your left below you.  You are at the top of a ridge with good views of the Minster to your left and the Trent Valley on the right.  After a right-angled bend to the right you reach another right-angled bend to the left soon after.  At this bend you will see some allotments ahead of you on the right and on the corner to your left is a wooden gate.  Go through this gate into some woodland and follow the path through the wood.  The path is mostly clear enough to follow easily but in any case head downhill in roughly the same direction as the initial path from the gate.  The path gets a little steeper and the woodland denser but after 400 yards from Crink Lane you should come to a stile at the end of the wood.

Go over the stile into a large arable field and aim down the hill bearing to your right towards a gate near the corner of the field.  The path here will often be well-defined anyway.  Go through the gate into a grassy paddock field and turn left alongside the fence going slightly downhill towards the houses.  You come to a jitty between the houses which brings you to a quiet residential street (Farthingate Close).  Turn right and follow the road round a bend to the left where you meet another road (Farthingate).  Turn right along this road for a short way until you come to a main road.

Cross the road (Church Street) to the Hearty Goodfellow pub and take the path to the right of the pub.  At first this is on tarmac but after crossing a small bridge you enter a pleasant track with trees covering you on both sides.  After 100 yards as the track starts to climb look for a path on the right going up some steps into a field.  Go into this field and go straight on following the field round at the bottom of the slope.  The field starts to bend to the left while on your right below you will see a stream.  You will see signs directing you the the Workhouse which you should follow in this part of the walk.  At the end of the field you come to a path which takes you to a road (Newark Road) alongside the stream.

Go straight over the road, which can be quite busy, and continue straight on along a hard path for fifty yards until you approach houses.  On the first lamp post as you reach the road you should see a small, green Robin Hood Way marker pointing to the right.  Turn along the road to the right and after fifty yards cross the road to turn left and then slightly right before the road bends left along what seems to be a cul-de-sac.  As you reach the end of this you will see a path which you should take over a bridge to reach a new path.  Turn right here and follow the path alongside the stream for 100 yards until you come to the main road.  Go onto the pavement and turn left towards the sign for the Workhouse.  The Workhouse is an interesting place to visit as you can find out about life in the Workhouse which existed here.  To reach it follow the pavement round for another fifty yards where the main entrance can be found.

If you don’t wish to visit the Workhouse then just before you reach the big sign for the Workhouse where the road turns right you should turn left along a path on the left taking you away from the road.  Follow this firm path almost straight along for the next 400 yards.  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 the mill building.  Take the path up to the road (Station Road) and you are now opposite the car park where the walk started.

If you wish you can finish your walk here but for those wishing to take in more of Southwell’s attractions here is an extra loop of about three-quarters of a mile.

As you come out from alongside the River Greet onto the road turn left and walk along the pavement for 200 yards where the road comes to a crossroads at the bottom of a grassy slope.  Cross the road ahead , which can be quite busy, to reach the bottom of the grassy area and walk up the hill (The Burgage) to the left of the road.  After 200 yards you reach a road coming off the Burgage near the War Memorial.  Take this road off to the left past the memorial and carry on until you meet another road (Burgage Lane) shortly afterwards.  Turn left along this road but after less than fifty yards look on the right for a big house with a blue plaque on the gate post.  Just to the right of this is a narrow pathway.  Take this path downhill and follow it all the way to the bottom.  The area opens out to the left of you to a field.  At the bottom the path bears right and you should follow this until you come out on Church Street.

Turn right to go along the road, slightly uphill, and follow this to Southwell Minster.  Cross over the road to enter the Minster grounds .  Follow the obvious path to reach the Minster and if you aren’t going in then turn right along the path to follow it round.  Here turn away from the Minster and walk along the path up to the road.  Cross the road and turn right until you reach the main junction.  At the junction on your left is the attractive half-timbered Saracens Head Hotel.  This historic inn is reputed to be where King Charles I spent his last night of freedom before being captured by the Parliamentarians in 1645.

Carry on past the inn and cross a road coming in from the left (Queen Street).  Continue along the street (King Street) which has shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants and go uphill past the library.  This brings you back to the Burgage where you should go down the hill back to the crossroads you were at a little earlier.  Cross the road ahead and go back along Station Road to the Final Whistle pub and the start of the walk.