Archive | February, 2016

Walks in Central Notts – Walk 33: From Farnsfield across the fields, over Greaves Lane. Returning by a new route via Cotton Mill Farm

29 Feb

This walk is similar to walk  14 but there is a route back across the fields to Farnsfield that I haven’t described yet and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to address that having found a way of avoiding the worst of the wet ground that can be a problem going this way.

Start: Parfitt Drive Farnsfield.  This is a road coming off the Southwell Road about 100 yards east of the Plough pub in the village.  There is a bus stop on the main road very nearby and a small car park by a playground.

Distance: 3 miles

Part of the original route shown on the map is temporarily closed until July and I have described a diversion.

Map of the Route

Parfitt Drive is a quite new development of houses with a large grassy area nearby. Walk past the children’s playground and onto the grass. Pass just to the left of a clump of trees and walk straight on until you reach a metal gate (see photo). Go through the gap next to the gate onto a field with the village allotments. Bear slightly to the right until you reach a wooden fence with a gap which enables you to pass through onto a wide track. Walk on this track for thirty yards towards a metal barrier. Just to the left of this barrier is a gap to walk through where a patch of  shale has been added. Recently a wooden fence has been built which requires a jink to the left of five metres or so before you enter onto the Acres.

The Acres is the main football field in Farnsfield with two pitches at right-angles to each other. The nearer pitch isn’t used by the football club. There were swings just to your left as you walk onto the Acres but now only the rubberised surround remains. Walk straight ahead towards a red-brick building which are the changing-rooms for the football club. After 200 yards you are at the far end of the Acres.

Follow the main path almost straight on as it enters an area of woodland. The trees in this plantation were only planted around twenty years ago but have formed a nice little area to walk through. Over the years various other paths have been formed through the trees. these can be explored if you have time. For this walk I am following the widest path which goes almost straight ahead. The path is a good one on short grass passing between the trees with a clearing and bench on the left after one hundred yards. Another hundred yards beyond this the path dips slightly to a ditch and you leave the woodland.

The path enters a field and rises for about two hundred yards. The field can get a little muddy after wet weather but dries quite well, especially when it is breezy as it is quite open. At the top of the field is a bench which you may wish to take advantage of after the short climb. Looking back from the bench you can see the football pitches again.

Where Walk 1 turns right down the track,  this walk continues straight ahead.

Walk straight on by the field edge with a hedge to your left. After 100 yards the hedge ends and the path carries on ahead downhill. It is nearly always well-defined to the bottom of the hollow.  After wet weather it can be a little muddy at the very bottom.  At the bottom you come to a hedge coming in from the right. Go to the left of the end of this hedge and through a gap into the corner of a new field. Our route keeps roughly straight ahead up a steep little hill by a new hedge.  Keep the new hedge, mainly of trees, to your left and follow the field edge up this sharp rise for 200 yards.

Back towards Farnsfield from the top of the hill

At the top of the climb you come to a fence with a stile by another hedge. Nowadays there is a gap by the stile so there is no need to climb the stile itself.  Go through this gap and turn immediately right with the hedge now on your right.  After 50 yards you reach the corner of the field and must turn left going slightly uphill.  After 30 yards you reach the top of the hill. You can see back the way you came all the way to Farnsfield. Ahead of you are views to another ridge and to the east are extensive views towards Newark. On a clear day you can see for miles. To the west you can see Combs Wood along the hill.

Towards Greaves Lane from the top of the hill

From the top of the hill go quite steeply downhill along the field edge with the hedge to your right.  The field may have crops in it and if you stick to the very edge of the field the ground is slightly uneven in places. The field and path can get a little muddy but is generally not bad.  After 300 yards you reach the bottom of the hill. Look for one of the gaps in the hedge on the right and go through to the other side of the hedge.  Now with the hedge on your left walk for fifty yards until you reach a stream in a ditch. Turn right here along the edge of the field for fifty yards. The ground here can be wet so you may have to look for  a drier line just in from the field edge.  You come to the end of a farm track on your left leading to a wooden gate. Follow this track over the stream to the gate 80 yards away. Occasionally the gate is open but if it isn’t go to the right of the gate and climb over a stile to reach a road (Greaves Lane) opposite a farm.

Looking back up the hill from near Greaves Lane

On reaching the lane turn left and then almost immediately right across the lane to the drive of the house opposite.  After twenty yards look for a footpath gate on the left and go through it onto a grassy area.  Turn right to go up the hill with a field on your left and the house and outbuildings on your right. The grassy path rises straight up for 150 yards to the end of the field and then turns sharply left to go along a narrow, sometimes slippery path into a strip of trees.  The path here goes uphill along a sunken path between two banks.  Follow this path for 200 yards until you reach a gate. At the side of the gate is a narrow gap with a metal piece which can be lifted up to pass through, which I find slightly quicker than using the gate.  Just after the gate look to your left for a gap in the hedge. If you go through you will find an information board about the Robin Hood Way (this path is an offshoot of the Way) mounted on a large stone plinth.  There is also a bench which you may well want to take advantage of as it gives great views back to Farnsfield over the path you have walked.

View from the ridge over the fields towards Combs Wood

View from the ridge over the fields towards Combs Wood

Resume our walk by going to the top of the path just a few yards up from the plinth where it joins a farm road.  Carry straight on along the road with good views on the left as the ground falls away.  After 100 yards look for a footpath sign on the left which directs you through a hedge via a metal kissing gate. You can see Farnsfield ahead and below in the semi-distance beyond the fields.  Go through the kissing gate into a grassy field that drops away steeply ahead. You should be able to see a path where the grass is slightly worn away more than the rest of the field. If you can’t see a path then aim almost straight ahead going down the hill.

There may be a few cows in the field. The path is quite a steep one but the good grass covering in the field means that doesn’t get muddy until you reach the lower reaches of the field. Towards the bottom of the field aim about twenty yards to the right of the fence and hedge that goes straight down towards the house at the bottom of the hill. You may find that there are patches of mud but with a little care you can find your way through quite easily. Aim for the bottom of the hill near the house where you should see a kissing gate. Go through the gate into a small grassy area going down to the building ahead. After twenty yards turn sharp right just before the building and go into the yard. Go downhill for twenty yards to the obvious exit from the yard which goes straight out onto Greaves Lane so make sure there is nothing coming.

Go straight across Greaves Lane to the metal kissing gate just to the left of the yard you have just left.

From January 2021 the path ahead is temporarily closed.  The notice claims it is because the bridge across the pond is unsafe.  I have been across this bridge many times over the years and find it hard to believe that it is unsafe as on my most recent visit it was fine.  The notice also says there is boggy ground, which is true in wet weather but in normal conditions it is no worse than many paths.  The path near the rubble is a bit of a mess for a short distance but that is purely due to farm vehicles.  The path is officially closed until July, which is far too long for the reasons stated for closure.  It is possible to use the path but according to the notice you shouldn’t.  To continue with the walk the diversion is as follows.

From the kissing gate retrace your steps along Greaves Lane past the yard you just left and continue along the lane for 300 yards until you see a track on the left.  There is a footpath sign which is easy to miss coming from this direction.  Follow the signed track down from the lane and by a field for 200 yards until you get to another field.  Go straight on for a short distance when you will see in the hedge on the left a gap where the original path joins us.  Turn right here across the field and follow the main route for the rest of the walk.

 Go over another stile into a large grass field. This field extends ahead for 300 yards. It sometimes has cows in it and they can be a little curious and may follow you as you cross the field. The field has a good covering of grass and is generally good to walk on, at least for the first 250 yards. After very wet weather there can be standing water in places. I have found that the best place to walk in this case is close to the hedge on the left by the stream and ditch where there is a slightly raised bank about a foot higher than the rest of the field. Cross the field by walking close to the hedge straight on for 300 yards until you reach a gate. You will find that this gate is often open and you can just walk through, although it is a little muddy. If the gate is closed go through the smaller wooden gate to the left.

In either case you go into a smaller grass field continuing from the larger one. Keep straight on in this field for a little way. If it has been dry you can carry on to the next gate without any problems. However, if it has been wet you may well find some quite boggy ground ahead. If so what you should do to find the best route ahead is to go to the left hand side of the field. You will see a small part of an old brick wall ahead. Aim to the left of this and you should find that the ground isn’t too bad. Go through the gate at the end of the field taking you onto a track next to Cotton Mill Farm. There can be a variety of obstructions on this track but they aren’t too much of a problem.

After fifty yards you meet other footpaths coming in from the right which have been included in some of my earlier walks but you should carry on along the main track as it bends to the left. Just before a house on the right the track straightens and goes off towards the main Farnsfield to Edingley road but you shouldn’t go that way. Instead look to the left for a wooden gate going into a large grassy field. This is sometimes slightly hidden by farm vehicles parked near the field entrance.

The footpath gate next to the main gate isn’t in the best state of repair. The main problem here though is the state of the field next to the gate. The field is sometimes used for cows and as they use this gateway the entrance can often be rather muddy. The best strategy is to try and edge along the very thin strip of grass at the side of the field but this can take a bit of nimble footwork. If the mud is too bad and you want to go into Farnsfield you may have to resort to using the driveway from Cotton Mill Farm which goes to the Farnsfield to Edingley road and from there along the road to Farnsfield.

Once past the mud the field is very pleasant to walk through. Walk straight on near the hedge with a barbed-wire fence close by on your left. The path soon goes along a little bank a couple of feet above the rest of the field. You may have to negotiate two low gates across the path.  Half way along you pass a stone which looks as though it may mark a boundary. The only hazards you may encounter are curious cows together with other reminders that cows have used the field so watch where you are putting your feet. After 250 yards leave the field using a stile and then ten yards later go through a gap ahead of you next to a gate that takes you onto the track next to the Acres football pitches.

Go straight along the track towards the swings but after thirty yards look for a gap in the hedge on the right next to a fence by the allotments. Go along a narrow path by the fence for fifty yards then turn right to cross the field by the allotments to the metal gate from earlier in the walk.

Go through the gate back onto the field which you crossed at the start of the walk. From here you can just retrace your steps to the Main Street and to the start of the walk.