Archive | October, 2015

Walks in Central Notts – Walk 30: Edwinstowe, the Major Oak and the River Maun

28 Oct

This is a relatively short walk but has a good deal of interest including the famous Major Oak.

Start: The centre of Edwinstowe. The crossroads near Edwinstowe church and the Royal Oak pub, where the High Street (B6034) meets the A6075. Edwinstowe is quite well served by public transport with buses from Nottingham and Mansfield. If coming by car the best place to park is probably not in Edwinstowe itself but at the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, just north of the village on the way the Major Oak, which is well signed.

Distance: 5 miles

Route of the Walk

From the crossroads in the centre of Edwinstowe head north along a quiet road (Church Street) past the church going away from the village. The church, where Robin Hood married Maid Marian according to the stories, is the official end of the Robin Hood Way (or the start), which goes all the way to Nottingham castle if you decide to tackle it from this direction. After 200 yards you come near to the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, which you may well wish to visit before doing the walk .  On the left is a cricket pitch, just after a small road to the left which leads to the Sherwood Forest Youth Hostel and the new Visitor Centre.

For the walk, stay on Church Street. You should follow the path next to the cricket pitch, keeping it on your left. Carry straight on as the track gets wider, going slightly uphill towards trees and leave the pitch behind you.

Go through a wooden gate and continue straight on along the wide track among the trees which brings you close to the car park for the visitor centre from where you can start the walk if coming by car. You soon come to a wide track coming across. Turning right here takes you to the former site of the visitor centre from where there is a well signed track to the Major Oak. Go straight across the wide track and through a gate. This takes you onto a narrower track where the tree cover is more pronounced. Go downhill for 400 yards until you come to another gate (with a small green Robin Hood Way marker on it) which takes you out onto what was the main track from the visitor centre to the Major Oak. Turn left here and follow this wide track for 300 yards until you reach the Major Oak.

The Major Oak

The Major Oak

The Major Oak is one of the most famous trees in England and indeed was named Tree of the Year in 2014.  It is reputed to have been the hide-out of Robin Hood and his men and many years ago it was possible to go and hide in the trunk of the tree.  These days the tree itself is fenced off from the path and has several supports for the main branches.  Follow the main path close to the Major Oak.  It soon starts to turn away to the right.  As you begin to go away from the tree look for quite a significant track on the left with a green Robin Hood Way marker on a post next to it pointing straight along the track.  Turn onto this track and keep going almost dead straight for the next half mile.

Sherwood Forest near the Major Oak

Sherwood Forest near the Major Oak

The path is a little stony but it is easy walking among quite dense tree cover, a fine example of a deciduous forest.  Ignore all side turnings as the path slowly starts to rise a little.  Eventually you come to a large tree, the Centre Tree, at a junction of paths and tracks with a finger signpost indicating the various ways. There is a large area open ground a little to your left.

The Centre Tree

The Centre Tree

Track south from Centre Tree

Track south from Centre Tree

Turn left to go into the large open area and follow a wide, somewhat reddish, track running southwards very straight with trees to your left and the open area on your right.  The track eventually starts to go downhill and after nearly a mile you come to the end of it as you enter a small area of trees with a road ahead. Turn right and follow the path through the trees about fifty yards from the road.  The path gradually gets closer to the road and meets it close to a large boulder.  At the boulder go to the road and cross it carefully.  This is the A6075 and the traffic travels quickly.

On the other side of the road go straight on along the obvious track going into the woods.  Follow the clear road-like track into the woods.  This soon bends to the right and takes you to the edge of the wood with a field now on your right.  Keep following the “road”, actually more of a driveway, for 300 yards until on your right you reach a building with some rather ornate sculptures, some of which are of Robin Hood and his Men, on the walls above a large arch.  This is Archway House, built by the Duke of Portland in 1842.  It is now used as self-catering holiday accommodation and there is an information board to tell you more next to the path.  Pass by the house and tall trees and start to go downhill along a wide, earth track.  After 300 yards you reach a bridge over the River Maun. Just before the bridge turn left to follow the path next to the river.

River Maun

River Maun

The river here is very tranquil and flows slowly among the fields on either side.  At one time these were the Duke of Portland’s Flood Meadows and there is an information board about them next to the path.  The path stays close to the river for the next 200 yards and then goes up a small rise into some trees.  The path now splits into two branches although they both end up in the same place.  They are only twenty or thirty yards apart with the left hand one running very straight next to fields on the left.  My preference is for the right-hand path which meanders a little more but overlooks the river.  Whichever path you choose they come together again after 300 yards and you soon leave the trees to enter a quite long, narrow field.

Path near the River Maun

Path near the River Maun

Follow the left hand side of the field on a decent path with a hedge to your left.  After 250 yards, just before you reach the end of the field,  down a slope on your right you will see a wide gap in the trees.  Turn right down the slope and follow the track down through the gap, crossing a bridge, which you may hardly notice, over the Flood Dyke as you go.  Almost immediately after this you will see a more obvious bridge just ahead.  Cross this wooden bridge over the River Maun to reach a narrow path.  Follow this path with the river on your left.  After 100 yards the path bends a little to the left and you reach a junction of paths at the bottom of a field.  Ignore the path going up the hill and continue along the path close to the river at the bottom of the field as the field opens up to your right.

Stay along this path for 400 yards with trees and a hedge to your left.  You will catch occasional glimpses of the river below you.  At the end of the field go through a gap next to a hedge and come out onto a road.  The road is fairly quiet but there is no pavement or footway so be careful.  Turn left along the road and follow it as you come to the first houses of Edwinstowe.  The road soon bends to the right and then runs straight for the next 300 yards until you reach a road junction.  At the junction turn left to go downhill along the pavement of this main road going into the centre of Edwinstowe.

After 100 yards you come again to the River Maun.  Crossing the main road here takes you to an area where you can sit down near the river.  This is quite a good spot to relax at the end of your walk.  Carrying on along the main road takes you uphill after 200 yards to Edwinstowe’s shops and eateries which have quite a wide number of options.  On the left hand side of the street you should see a statue of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.  A little further along you arrive back at the crossroads from where we started.