Archive | September, 2015

Walk 29: Westhorpe of Southwell and Halloughton Wood

30 Sep

This walk starts on the very outskirts of the Westhorpe of Southwell and goes uphill west before turning towards Halloughton and returning to Southwell via Cundy Hill with fine views of the surrounding area.

Start: The corner of Westhorpe and Leachcroft Hill at the west of Southwell just south of the Oxton Road. This is a very quiet road junction. There is plenty of space to park a car you should use common sense to avoid blocking any potential traffic. The nearest public transport to this point is where the Oxton to Southwell road meets Allenby Road about 600 yards away. As this is a circular route you could start the walk elsewhere and the stop at Brackenhurst College is only 200 yards from the route. If coming from the centre of Southwell you can join the walk near the bottom of Cundy Hill.

Distance: 4.4 miles

Map of the Route

From the road junction in the Westthorpe follow the wide track going westwards as indicated by the footpath sign. This is going directly away from the houses of Southwell. You have tall trees on either side providing shade and shelter. After 300 yards the trees on the left of the track open out for a little way. The track goes straight and after 600 yards from the start you come to a very large field rising to your left and ahead. Keep going straight on keeping the hedge and a ditch immediately to your right.

The path rises gently but steadily for the next 500 yards. It is no longer the proper track we started on but is still a very decent path to walk on with a good margin at the edge of the field itself. After 500 yards you reach the end of this field and go straight on through a gap in the hedge ahead to reach another field. Carry on uphill in this new field keeping the hedge just to your right close to trees.  After 200 yards comes the first complication of the walk after such a straightforward start.  Look for a yellow post just to the right of the path.  This is slightly obscured by plants but is a footpath indicator.  On the post you will see a waymark directing you right.  Follow this through a small bit of undergrowth and across a wooden plank bridge over a ditch.  This takes you out to a small patch of grass near fields.  Just ahead of you is a finger post with indicating path directions.  You can cut a short bit of the walk here by going up the bank to the left onto a track.

At the track turn left and follow the track for 100 yards until, as the track turns left, on the right you see a footpath sign going into a field.  Go through a gate into the field.  Follow the edge of the field to your left next to a tall hedge.  You soon turn right along a long section of hedge which you should keep following for the next 400 yards.  The field is grassy but quite easy to walk on.  Eventually the hedge turns left again and you come to a metal farm gate.  This is chained shut but thirty yards along is another metal farm gate which you can open, although it is slightly stiff.  This takes you into a large grassy field.  There are no waymarks on the gate so it is a little uncertain where you should go.  You should go roughly straight on from the gate along the length of this very long field.  If you stay about halfway between the two sides of the field as you walk you should come to a sort of path which has been worn by a tractor.  This is easier to walk on than the rather long grass in the field and following this path takes you in the right direction.  Go all the way to the other end of the field about 600 yards away passing close to a field entrance next to a tree on your right after 300 yards.  The field goes slightly downhill towards the far end where you reach another metal farm gate.  The latch on this is stiff and it may be easier to climb over if you can.

Leaving the large field takes you into another field with a track running across you.  Ignore this track and carry straight on.  You go under the electricity wires to the right of a pylon 200 yards ahead and out of this field into another one.  Turn right and follow the field edge towards a wood and then alongside the wood until you come to the corner of the field.  Leave the field via a gate and go on another few yards to reach a shale track.  Turn left along this track which is a good one with trees on either side.  It is in good condition for the next 400 yards and should be fine in all weathers.  The track then goes in denser woodland and becomes less firm.  You will probably find a few muddy patches and puddles although these aren’t too problematic except after wet weather.

Halloughton Wood

Halloughton Wood

After 600 yards you come to a wide track and junction of paths.  On my recent walk I had to duck under a rope here but I suspect that was only to stop the cows which were being taken to pasture at the time from leaving the main track.  The wide track goes away to the right along the edge of the wood towards the village of Halloughton.  There are various path signs and waymarks here including the unusual red ones indicating a byway.  Cross the wide track to a small metal gate on the other side.  Shut the gate behind you and enter a field.  Go straight on and follow the edge of the field with trees and a ditch just to your right.  After 100 yards turn left still following the edge of the field and follow the line of trees on your right.  After another 150 yards you reach the corner of the field and turn right to leave the field through another metal gate.

You enter another field and follow the left hand edge with a hedge to your left.  The path is a decent one with slightly long grass being the only thing to bother you.  The route is easy to follow for the next mile as you go almost straight the whole way.  you pass through fields following the hedge all the way.  On my most recent visit two of the fields had head-high maize rustling in the breeze beside me.  After half a mile the path changes to a firmer track and soon after switches from having the hedge on your left to your right as you go through a gap almost without noticing it.  The hedge on your right now has tall trees and hawthorn as part of it and the track becomes well defined and wider.  After another 500 yards you reach a driveway to Stubbins Farm on your left.  Carry straight on ahead until you come to a sort of tunnel formed by overhanging trees on both sides of the track.  This tunnel only lasts for 100 yards before you emerge onto open farmland on either side of the track.  Keep going along the firm track for another 200 yards until you reach a road at a right-angled bend.

“Tunnel” of trees near Stubbins Farm

At the road carry straight on, there will probably not be much if any traffic, but take care.  After 100 yards you reach a road junction to your right but should continue straight on.  Just after the junction on the left you will see a gap in the hedge which you should go through (you also join the Robin Hood Way at this point).  You enter a large field at the top of a hill with fine views of Southwell, including the distinctive pepperpots of the Minster, below you.  Also prominent are the towers of Staythorpe power station a little further to the right.  At the entrance to the field there is also an information board, one of a series you will pass on this section of the walk.  The board also shows a route for a walk in the vicinity which you may like to follow if you require further exercise after this walk.  Incidentally this is also the point to start this walk if you are coming from Brackenhurst College nearby.

View of Southwell and Southwell Minster

View of Southwell and Southwell Minster

Follow the edge of the field downhill with a hedge immediately to your left.  The going is easy and the path is good unless it has been wet when it can be a little muddy and slippery.  After 150 yards go through a gap and wooden gate at the end of the field and enter another one, still affording fine views.  Carry on downhill a little more steeply at the edge of this field for 300 yards until you reach the bottom corner where you turn right.  After 80 yards by another information board turn left through the hedge to enter another field where you make a short climb up Cundy Hill with the hedge to your right.  After 300 yards you reach the top and have more good views of Southwell.  Go straight on downhill leaving the hedge behind for 400 yards until you approach the bottom of the field near some trees. If coming from the centre of Southwell this is where you can join the route.  Turn left so that you have the trees on your right hand side and the field sloping down on your left.  Follow the footpath straight for 200 yards until it drops down to meet a road.

Turn right to cross a bridge over a stream and follow this road for the next 500 yards ignoring any minor turnings.  It firstly goes uphill where you turn sharp left passing houses on the right.  After 100 yards turn sharp right and go downhill for 150 yards to a junction.  You are now back in Westhorpe and turn left at the junction where after 150 yards you arrive back at your starting point.