Archive | February, 2015

Walks in Central Notts – Walk 23 Averham to Newark (Stage 7 of the Mansfield to Newark walk)

28 Feb

Averham to Newark (Stage 7 of the Mansfield to Newark walk)

This walk carries on from Walk 22 Fiskerton to Averham (Stage 6 of the Mansfield to Newark walk) and completes the last stage of the walk from Mansfield ( a grand total of 29 miles for the entire walk).

Start: Bus stop by the school in Averham.

Finish: Newark Market Place

Distance: 3 miles

Map Of The Route

The first stage of this walk is, unfortunately, alongside the main A617 road. It would be nice to be able to avoid this but any diversion is rather long.  The road section is only a mile long and there is a decent pavement all the way.

From the bus shelter in Averham walk for 50 yards towards the main A617 road along the pavement next to the school. Cross the A617 with extreme care as the road is busy and the traffic fast. You may have to wait for a minute for a suitable gap in the traffic but one will occur and when it does make your way to the other side of the road where there is a pavement.

On the far side of the road turn right and walk along the pavement around a slight bend and follow the pavement for the next half mile to the village of Kelham. For the first 400 yards you are walking next to open fields.  Soon the road enters an area of tall trees on either side of the road and on the right hand side of the road you approach the grounds of Kelham Hall, the soon-to-be former home of Newark and Sherwood District council. Kelham Hall is an impressive building and you will catch a glimpse of it between the trees.  The new owners have a woodland trail around the grounds which you may like to incorporate into your walk.

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 Fiskerton 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 on quite a narrow 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.  As you cross the bridge Newark castle rises proudly above the river on your right.  Continue straight on over the bridge and then onto a wider section of pavement.  If you are planning to get the bus back towards Mansfield then there is a stop just here which you walk past. The main Newark bus station is found not far away by turning right along Castle Gate and following the road round the corner onto Lombard Street. At the end of the main road you reach a roundabout and junction.  Right on the corner is the entrance to the grounds of Newark Castle.  The castle is well worth a look and has played a part in several incidents in British history, perhaps most notably being where King John died and as the focal point of the siege of Newark in the English Civil War.  The grounds are a pleasant spot for a wander or sit down and the view from the castle back towards our route is a good one.

Newark Castle

Newark Castle

If you aren’t going to visit the castle or if you have had a look then our route resumes at the corner.  From the corner turn right to walk on the pavement alongside the castle grounds on Castle Gate.  Very soon you come to a crossing where you should cross Castle Gate.  On the other side just to the right of the crossing you will see a lane, Boar Lane.  Go along Boar Lane, which is usually quiet, for 200 yards until you reach the end as it meets Middle Gate.  Cross Middle Gate and almost immediately opposite but just to the right is another lane, Chain Lane, which you should join.  After 150 yards you emerge from Chain Lane into Newark market place,one of the largest and finest in England.  There is no one spot which marks the end of my Mansfield to Newark walk but the market place is in itself a splendid place to finish the walk.

If you have come all the way from Mansfield take satisfaction in having completed a challenge where you will have encountered a interesting variety of the landscape of Central Nottinghamshire.  You will also have seen some of the finest buildings the county has to offer.  Newark has a wide selection of pubs, cafes and eating establishments where you can celebrate reaching the end of your walk.