Walks in Central Notts – Walk 24 Rainworth and Sherwood Forest

31 Mar

Walk 24 Rainworth and Sherwood Forest

Distance: 6 miles

A walk taking you from the village of Rainworth into Sherwood Forest via heathland and using National cycle route 6 along forest tracks.

Map of the Route

Start: the small park on the right about 400 yards up the hill towards Mansfield from the main junction in the centre of Rainworth.  If coming by car you should be able to park on the verge by the  road.  There is a bus stop close by for anyone using public transport.

Enter the park going away from the main road.  Pass a small childrens recreation area and go to the far end of the park about 200 yars from the road.  Leaving the park takes you onto a disused railway track.  Turn right here and shortly start to descend for a short way down to a road.  This road is usually quiet.  Cross the road and continue along the path downhill.  As you reach a wider area of open ground you should see a path beafring left diagonally across the grass.  Follow this path down the hill to the far corner of the grass where you arrive at a cycle path.  Take the cycle path left which meanders up a short hill and takes you up to a very busy road, the Rainworth by-pass.  Use the crossing to reach the other side of this dual carriageway and then turn right along the pavement.

After fifty yards you will see a signpost for a footpath pointing left.  Step over the barrier and follow the sign.  Leave the road and descend some wooden steps to reach a path.  Follow the path through a pleasant area of grass and trees glad to be getting further away from the noise of the by-pass.  The path is clear and you keep going away from from the road passing a group of silver birch trees on your left.  The surroundings now become more obviously heathland with sandy soil and gorse bushes in evidence.

Looking back towards Rainworth

Looking back towards Rainworth

Heath near Rainworth

Heath near Rainworth

Keep along the clear path (pictured above) for 400 yards passing next to a telegraph pole.  The path starts to bear right and you leave the heath to enter an area of trees.  Again the path is clear and you go uphill through the trees on a nice track.  The strip of trees isn’t very wide and as you reach the top of the hill after 400 yards you may like to have a look at the view on your right back to Rainworth.  If you step outside the wood here you can see a path ahead running parallel with the wood at the edge of the field.

Looking back down the hill in the wood

Looking back down the hill in the wood

Path alongside the wood

Path alongside the wood

It is possible to follow this path (pictured here) along the field edge and around the wood but my recommended route stays along the main path within the wood so return there.  Follow the path straight down the hill in the wood to the bottom of the dip for 200 yards and then carry stgraight on as the path rises up another short hill.  At the top of this you find yourself on an embankment overlooking a cycle track on the old railway line.  Turn left here and follow a path along the top of the embankment which gradually descends for 300 yards to meet the cycle track.

Cross the cycle track and go onto a track made up of the stones that formed the bed of the old railway line.  This seems an unpromising route as you will find the stones slip around under your feet.  Fortunately you only have to put up with this for 20 yards when you leave the track by going down a path on the bank to your right.  This takes you into a field where you follow a path downhill for 200 yards along the field edge.  Just past the corner of field where you turn right look for a gap in the hedge on the left by a yellow post indicating the footpath.  Going through the gap takes you alongside a stream – Rainworth Water.

Rainworth Water

Rainworth Water

Tunnel by Rainworth Water going back to the cycle track

Tunnel by Rainworth Water going back to the cycle track

Turn left here to go through a tunnel under the old railway line (see picture).  At the far end of the tunnel go up some steps back onto the cycle track.  Here turn right along the cycle track and go immediately down back through the tunnel to emerge on the other bank of the stream where you went through the hedge.  Carry on along the cycle track passing ponds on your left.  The tarmac surface of the cycle track changes to a rougher track beside Rainworth Water for 200 yards and the turns left to leave the stream by some large rocks (pictured below).

Rocks next to the cycle path

Rocks next to the cycle path

Fifty yards on from the rocks is a sign pointing right along cycle route 6. In fact this is the cycle path you have been following for the last few minutes.  Route 6 is one of the main cycle routes in the country and runs from London to Cumbria.   Cyclists wishing to have an adventure can follow it that far but it is also useful for walkers wanting to find a walk where route-finding will be easy and traffic-free.  At the Route 6 signpost turn right but just a few yards along leave the main track and turn left along a narrow but obvious path going into the wood.  Follow this path staying about ten yards from the edge of the wood to your left.   The path runs almost straight going slightly uphill.  After 500 yards the path becomes a little less distinct but if you stay within 20 yards of the edge of wood you should have few problems.  After another 200 yards the path turns right although it is not very distinct on the ground.  Instead you should look for red dots of paint on the trees at eye level and follow those for 100 yards until you reach a wide forest track.

Turn right and walk along this track for 400 yards until you meet another wide track coming uphill from the right.  At this junction is another  signpost showing that you are on route 6 again.  Incidentally if you carry straight on here for 250 yards and then turn left through the trees on route 6 you come to the cycle track to Bilsthorpe.  However, for this walk you should turn right at the junction and go down the hill into more heavily wooded area.  Then the track rises for a short way before it goes downhill again.  After 600 yards on the wide track you reach another junction.  Turn right along a slightly narrower track, still on route 6. Follow this track for 400 yards back to where you left it earlier to go through the trees.

Track in Sherwood Forest

Track in Sherwood Forest

Turn left at the end, go past the large rocks you passed earlier and retrace your steps along the cycle track until you go back through the tunnel.  Once through the tunnel instead of going back down the steps follow the cycle track up the hill.  250 yards up from the tunnel you reach the point where you crossed the cycle track earlier.  From here you can either retrace your steps to the start of the walk, possibly walking along the edge of the wood this time, or for variety you can carry on along the cycle track.  I won’t pretend that this way is very exciting but it makes a change and you can use it to link up with walks to Blidworth.  If you continue along the cycle track the way is almost straight and you can’t go wrong.

Cycle path along the old railway line

Cycle path along the old railway line

The track runs along the bottom of the cutting with many gorse bushes and some trees on either side.  After 1 kilometre you go under the A617 Rainworth by-pass where there is an exit up to the road above.  Our route continues along the cycle track  with the houses of Rainworth now appearing on your right at the top of the embankment.  Carry on for another 8oo yards bearing slightly right round a bend.  Come off the track using an exit on the left hand side to go down to a road via a zig-zagging bit of track.

At the bottom you reach the pavement. Go under the bridge and uphill for 300 yards crossing a road which can be busy coming in from the right near the Lurcher pub.  At the top of the hill if you look to the other side of the main road you will see the start of a track which goes onto Blidworth and which feature in some of my earlier walks.  However, to conclude this walk you go down the hill on the pavement by the main road for 1 kilometre, crossing a few side roads, to the main junction in Rainworth at the bottom of the hill by Tesco.  At the bottom you should use the crossing to go to the right across Kirklington Road which comes down the hill from the right.  On the other side of the road go slightly further downhill along the main road.  At the very bottom is the bus stop, next to which under a bridge you can see a stream, Rainworth Water again.  Climb the hill along the main road and after 500 yards you return to your starting point.

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