Archive | May, 2015

Walks in Central Notts – Walk 26: Upton and Micklebarrow Hill

31 May

Walk 26: Upton and Micklebarrow Hill

This is a walk in two parts. The first takes you round fields to the north of Upton and over the fine viewpoint of Micklebarrow Hill. The second is down the hill and back up past the church into the village. This means that you can treat this as two separate walks and do as much or little as you like.

Start: The British Horological Institute in the centre of Upton village (about two miles from Southwell on the road from Southwell to Newark). This is merely to serve as a convenient starting point if you are coming by car. There aren’t many good places to park in Upton.  One option is to visit the Horological Institute and use the car park there.  Alternatively you could park at the Cross Keys pub on the right of the main road not far into the village if coming from Southwell if you want to have some refreshment before or after your walk.

Distance: 3.5 miles

Map of the walk (Please note that this map shows the route using official footpaths.  You may find that you have to make small diversions due to overgrown crops.  I have included these diversions in my route description).

From the Horological Institute car park go to the main road and turn left along the pavement. Go up to the very sharp right-hand bend. At the corner you will see a minor road going left off the main road. This is Hockerton Road. Turn onto this road and cross it so that you are walking on the right hand side of it facing any oncoming traffic. Very soon after turning along the road look for a partially hidden footpath sign on the right pointing up a drive between houses. Go up the drive for a short way until you come to a metal gate. This is the first of an interesting variety of barriers here. Go through the gate and continue straight on for twenty yards to a tall wooden door ahead. Opening the door and then shutting it behind you takes you into a small enclosed area where the only means of escape is over a stile to your left. Take care as you use the stile as the step is a bit wobbly. After the stile you go round the back of a shed and into what appears to be someone’s garden. This is a little disconcerting but don’t worry, this is the correct route. Go under the trees in the garden and carry straight on for thirty yards to the far side of the garden where you leave using another stile.

This takes you into a large arable field. The official route here goes out of the field to your right almost immediately.  This should take you into an orchard where you turn left aiming away from the garden you left earlier before picking up a path which reaches the far corner of the orchard.  It is easy to miss this way out of the arable field as I did myself.

If you do miss the exit then you should carry straight on in the arable field keeping to the right hand side of the field until you reach the corner. . At the end of this second field you come to the corner of the field which seems at first to have no exit. However, closer inspection reveals that there is a very narrow gap to squeeze through. Unfortunately the hedge is hawthorn so care should be taken to avoid being scratched. The other side of the hedge is a field close to the car park for the cricket club which is on the left. Carry on along the right hand side of this field for fifty yards and look for a small wooden footbridge. Cross this bridge and enter the orchard I mentioned in the official route. Twenty yards into the orchard you meet the official path.

Turn left and follow the pleasant path through the orchard to the far corner. Leave this orchard and enter a grassy field which on my visit in May contained sheep and lambs. Keep going straight on along the right hand edge of this field and into another connected field passing a hedge. Follow the hedge for 300 yards until you reach the corner of the field by a stile. There is a gap here so you don’t need to use the stile. Go through the gap and into another grassy field. This gives a good view of the distinctive mound of Micklebarrow Hill ahead of you to your right. Turn left and follow the hedge line. where we are on the left side of the field. Keep going along the edge of the field until you reach the corner where you leave the field. On my visit this entailed stepping over a low electric fence. This takes you into another field which you soon leave under some trees. You will already be hearing the roar of the traffic on the A617 ahead of you and after crossing a small field go through a gap in the hedge onto the verge of this very busy road. Take extreme care crossing the road and go straight over the A617 where there is another footpath signposted.

Micklebarrow Hill

Micklebarrow Hill

Go into the field indicated by the signpost and go down for 200 yards to the bottom of the dip where you climb a stile with a broken step. It is easier to use the wooden struts on the stile than the step to come down from the stile.  Then go uphill out of the dip for 100 yards as far as a hedge coming across where you go through a gap in the hedge into another field.  How easy it is to find your way to this gap will depend on what is growing in the field.  On my latest walk the field contained oil-seed rape which can be difficult to negotiate.  From the bottom of the dip I had to go round the edge of the field where there was a wide verge. Where this hedge met the one coming across look just to your left for the gap in the hedge.

In the next field, if you can, aim diagonally across bearing slightly right towards the wood.  If your route is obstructed by crops then head due right, using the aisle that is clear of crops, towards the wood. As you reach the edge of the field next to the wood turn left and follow the line of the edge of the wood but inside the field.  If you take this route after 100 yards next to the wood you may notice a footpath sign by the wood which is where the direct route across the field arrives.  From here you shouldn’t need alternative routes for the rest of the walk as crops didn’t seem to be much of a hindrance thereafter.

Follow the edge of the field next to the wood going uphill for 100 yards and then downhill for 200 yards.  At the bottom of the field look to the right through the trees where you should see a good footbridge.  Cross the bridge and enter another field.  Turn left along the field edge which had slightly long grass when I was there.  Keep going in the same direction and leave the field edge to go quite steeply uphill.  This was very obvious when I did it as the path was a wide one between the flowers in another rape field.  At the top of the field you should see a yellow footpath marker post as you are joining another path here.  At the top turn right and follow the path downhill with the hedge just to your left.  After 300 yards you reach the bottom of the field and go up some steps to reach the A617 again.

Cross the road very carefully because not far to the left is a very sharp bend and on your right the trees may obscure your view a little.  On the other side of the road go through a wooden kissing-gate into a grassy field.  Go up a steep hill heading straight up until you reach the top after 200 yards.  This is Micklebarrow hill which we saw earlier.  The official route takes you up to a barbed wire fence near a small dead tree. However, you may end up slightly further along the fence at the top of the hill but don’t worry.  You should reach the barbed-wire fence somewhere and when you do turn right along it until you come to a stile.  To your left here you will see a house.  Cross the stile into another grassy field and carry almost straight on across it.  You may notice a kind of pathway ahead which is clear of the clumps of nettles elsewhere in the field.

View north from Micklebarrow Hill

View north from Micklebarrow Hill

Leave this field after 100 yards and go into another where the grass is somewhat longer.  Bear slightly left across this field for 200 yards until you come to a kissing gate which you go through into another field.  This is one of the best places to stop and take in the view. Micklebarrow Hill is the highest point for a long way looking south and east. There are excellent views of the Trent Valley and towards Newark where the spire of the church near the market square can clearly be seen.  Carrying on with our walk we go on from the kissing gate in the same direction, away from the house on the hill.  We go downhill steeply from a grassy field into a very large arable one.  The path through this field should be quite clear going almost straight down towards a gap in the trees at the bottom of the hill 400 yards away.

View from Micklebarrow Hill towards the Trent Valley

View from Micklebarrow Hill towards the Trent Valley

At the bottom go across a stream at the gap in the trees.  This takes you into another arable field.  Go uphill following a clear track which goes straight on for 200 yards before a final little turn taking you out onto the road into Upton.  Turn right and follow the verge next to the road.  Unfortunately there is no footway here and the verge is narrow for the first hundred yards.  It does get a little wider for the next 200 yards as you approach Upton village.  As you reach the first houses you will see a pavement on the other side of the road and you should cross over to it.  Again you should take care as this road is also a busy one.  Once across follow the pavement into Upton.  This is the end of the first part of the walk  and if you wish you can carry on along the main road which will take you back to the starting point at the Horological Institute.

If you are doing the rest of the walk  200 yards into Upton you should look for a narrow lane, Carr Lane, on your left.  This hardly even looks like a proper road. Turn left along it where almost immediately the metalled road surface becomes a track.  After twenty yards you will see a footpath sign and the road name, Carr Lane.  There are two paths here.  One bears right but we want to follow the main wide track which goes slightly left.  Soon the track starts to go downhill and we follow it for 300 yards to the bottom of the hill.  There turn right still following the obvious wide track and continue for another 400 yards.  This brings you to a junction of paths at a dyke (Pingley Dyke) and you should turn right here so that you are following a path along the field edge with the dyke immediately to your left.

The Pingley Dyke

The Pingley Dyke

Upton Church

Upton Church

Stay next to the dyke for 400 yards until coming onto a wider track under some trees.  You should see a footpath coming in from the left.  Almost immediately after this look for a footpath on the right.  Turn right along this path which runs along a field edge towards the church tower at the top of the hill.  After 300 yards the edge of the field starts to turn right.  As it does so our route goes almost straight on towards the church.  We enter another field and make our way uphill aiming directly for the church.  After 200 yards go through a gate into the churchyard.  Go towards the main door of the church and from there a short way forward onto the main path in the churchyard.  Turn left along this path and out of the churchyard through a gate.  Carry straight on along a narrow path over some flagstones and keep going for 100 yards along the cul-de-sac of Church Walk until you meet the main road in Upton again.  If you have parked a the Horological then cross the road, carefully, and return to the start of the walk.  Alternatively, if you have parked at the Cross Keys or if you wish to call in there, turn left for 200 yards along the pavement to reach the pub for a well-earned drink.