Archive | April, 2016

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 35: Ollerton, Wellow and Rufford Park

27 Apr

This is a walk linking the villages of Ollerton and Wellow, each with their own interesting features, and Rufford Country Park which has many attractions.  It is mostly flat on paths in fields and on roads.  There is one very short section of quite steep steps down and up a railway embankment.

Distance: 4.8 miles

Map of the Route

Start:  The centre of Old Ollerton village near the church.  There is a bus-stop near the river and water-mill on the bus routes from Nottingham and Mansfield.  If coming by car you should be able to find somewhere to park on the roads nearby or there is a small car park area near the Italian restaurant by the river in the centre of the village.  Alternatively you can start at Rufford Park where there is a large car park near the main entrance and a smaller one at the northern end of the lake near the road to Wellow.  There is usually a charge to use these car parks. The park has a host of attractions including a historic abbey, art installations, children’s playgrounds, refreshment facilities, nice woodland and an attractive lake.

Ollerton is a village of two distinct parts.  The main section is New Ollerton, a busy place built as housing for the pit, with a good selection and amenities.  However, just over the road is Old Ollerton, a quiet village near the River Maun where you often won’t see anyone else if you are out and about.  It is home to Ollerton Mill, the only working watermill in Nottinghamshire , which is open to the public most days of the week from March to November, and the neighbouring award-winning teashop.  There is also the aformentioned Italian restaurant and a pub,

River near Ollerton Mill

River near Ollerton Mill

The area by the river is very pleasant and you can go onto the “island” in the middle of the river from the road opposite the water mill and tearoom.

The Walk

Leaving the bus-stop  go towards the church.  You can have a look at the church itself before crossing over the main road to the wide pavement on the other side. Then turn left and go up the hill.  The road bends round to the left and from the right as you round the bend a road comes in (Bescar Lane).  You can cross back over to the church side of the road at this point to cut the corner to the top of the hill along a path.  At the top of the hill you reach quite a busy road (the A616 Wellow Road).  Cross this main road and turn left along the pavement on the other side.  After 50 yards you will see a footpath signpost at the end of a track on the right directing you along the track. Turn right along this track, named Middlefield Lane  on the roadsign at the end of the track.  The track begins as just a firm path but soon becomes a proper tarmac driveway passing some well-appointed houses on the right with a wood on the left.  After 300 yards the straight track bends to the right to cross a bridge over a railway line.  Keep straight on after the bridge to enter Fairfield Park, a complex of new homes.

You may think you have come the wrong way as you enter the complex but bear left at the fork in the road just as you enter the Park and you soon see a footpath which takes you round the edge of the Park.  The footpath takes you over the grass and down a narrow path going outside the complex next to a fence.  This path is quite narrow and can be a little muddy.  Follow the path next to the fence passing close to the houses at the edge of the park with a wood on your left.  As you reach the end of the houses you turn to the right and come to an area where the fence on your right is a solid wooden one and the land to the right a building site.  On your left is a sign for Tip Top Wood.  Carry on along the path with the wooden fence on your right and the wood to your left.  The path here is a little more muddy than previously although not anything to be too bothered by.  I can’t pretend that this part of the walk is very attractive with the fence blocking views to the right, and the sound of heavy construction vehicles coming from beyond it, but it is only a short section.

After 400 yards you reach the end if this path as it reaches a small field.  Turn left for 50 yards along the edge of this field and then turn right so that you are walking with the wood to your left and the field to your right.  This path is less muddy with a fence and a ditch immediately on your left.  Before long the hedge on the right of the path becomes more substantial until the trees start to form a little cover across the path.  As you near the road ahead you may start to notice bits of rubbish strewn near the path.

On reaching the road go atraight across to join the pavement on the far side.  Turn right and follow the pavement alongside the fairly busy road.  After 200 yards the road dips down where the old railway line was and then rises up again to reach a junction near a sign for Wellow House school.  At the junction turn left and walk along the pavement by the road where you will see a large pond on the left (Wellow Dam).  Keep going along the road for 200 yards until you reach a sharp left-hand bend as you near the first houses in Wellow.  At this bend carefully cross the main road towards a post with a yellow top indicating a footpath.  Follow this path down away from the main road as it goes along side a stream on the left.  The path becomes a shale one and starts to climb slightly as you walk close to the houses of the village.  At the top of the path the route of the walk turns right but from here it would be a shame not to take a look at Wellow so I recommend turning left for thirty yards to reach a road (Eakring Road).  Cross the road and turn left to follow the pavement.

Immediately you will notice the main claim to fame of the village as you go up towards the village green.  Wellow is the home of Nottinghamshire’s only permanent maypole, which towers over the green and is still used.  It is well worth having a closer look at the maypole and there is the added bonus of the green having pubs close by should you wish to have some refreshment.

Having visited this unique attraction we return to the walk by going back along the road to the path by the stream.  At the point we left the walk carry straight on up the track and go through the gateway towards a sign which tells you to follow the footpath to the left (these are the grounds of Wellow House school).  Follow this instruction and head left under a pleasant area of trees and out to the cricket field.  Keep to the left edge of the cricket field next to the hedge until you reach the cricket nets in the corner of the field.  Go to the left of the nets and leave the cricket field through a metal kissing gate.  You leave the school grounds to enter a new field and walk alongside a fence to your left.  On the right when I did this walk were a series of small paddocks containing horses.  After 300 yards you reach the end of this field and leave by another kissing gate.  This takes you under trees and immediately past a small solid log fence used for an equestrian cross-country course so just check to make sure no horses are coming.  Go straight across the next track.

This takes you to the top of quite a long and quite steep flight of wooden steps that go down the side of what was the embankment of the old railway line.  These steps are by far the longest encountered on any of my walks in Nottinghamshire and care should be taken.  At the bottom of the steps the old railway line has now reverted to nature and become a large pond covered with pondweed.  Stop briefly at the bottom if for nothing else than to prepare yourself for the climb back up the other embankment up an equally steep and long set of steps.  At the top you emerge from the embankment into a large field with your calf muscles aching.

The next section of the walk is described as I experienced it but be prepared to follow alternative signs if they occur on your walk or if there is an obvious path restored going straight across the field.  According to the Ordnance Survey map the path across the field goes straight across.  However, on my visit there were crops growing and no sign of a way across. Hopefully when you do this walk the way across will be clear but if it isn’t you should make your way straight across as best you can.  After nearly 400 yards you reach the far side of the field and go through a gap into another field where again you should try to go straight across.

It is some years since I did this walk and at that time the path in the field wasn’t marked anywhere.  If this is still so just use common sense and follow the field edge as it bends around to the right taking you back towards the road.  As you near the road again turn left and stay along the field edge inside the field with the hedge on your right.  Keep following the edge of the field as it turns left away from the road after 200 yards near a wood and then soon right, following the edge of the wood.  Again you find yourself approaching a hedge with a road beyond it.  This time however the road is in fact a driveway to a farm.  At the hedge turn left so you are walking with it the hedge on your right and the driveway beyond that.  After 200 yards you reach the end of the hedge at a small fence.  Turn left for twenty yards to go round the end of this fence and onto a track (which is where the official path on the Ordnance Survey map rejoins us)  which goes out to meet the driveway by a pond.

Turn right to meet the driveway and go past the pond on your left aiming towards Rufford Hills Farm.  Just before you enter the farmyard you will see a stile on the left.  Go over that into a field and follow the hedge which is on your right.  You pass the back of a sort of shed and after 200 yards reach the end of the hedge.  As you do so turn immediately sharp right to keep the hedge on your right once more.  Go over a stile into a rather nice little field under the trees with the house visible on your right.   Go straight on and then leave the small field over another stile.  This takes you into another grassy field which you carry straight on through until you meet the driveway again as it comes out of the farm area.  Effectively we have been going round the edge of the farmyard for the last section.

Join the driveway and follow it down the hill for 300 yards until you reach an automatic gate at the bottom.  To the right of this is a stile which you go over.  Then cross the entrance road to Rufford Park Golf Club and join the main road from Wellow to Rufford.  Almost straight away cross this and walk alongside it on a grassy footpath passing a few houses.  After the last of these if you look back over the road you will see a small wooded gate.  This is the back entrance into Rufford country park.  I won’t give a detailed route here for a walk in the park and you may not wish to go in but I would thoroughly recommend a visit as you are here, even if it is just to have a quick look at the lake, tea room and gift shop at this end of the park.  To continue with my walk instead of crossing into the park you should turn right the road along the Bridleway immediately opposite the park entrance.

DSCF0188

Rufford Lake

The path goes directly away from the road and park and initially runs next to a hedge on the left.  It is a very straight path for the next mile, passing through a gap so the hedge is now on your right with fields to the left and for a short way a wood on the right.  After the wood it continues straight on in more open fields, undulating gently until it becomes a track for the last yards until meeting the main A614 road as it bends round to go under a bridge.  Follow the pavement next to the A614 and go under this railway bridge which has been an obvious landmark as we walked across the fields.  Continue along the pavement for 300 yards until you reach the turn-off for Ollerton village.  Follow the pavement on the left hand side of the road (Station Road) passing several sleeping policemen traffic control humps.  Keep going along this road for a little more than 300 yards until you come to Ollerton church again.  There turn left and return to the starting point of the walk where you may wish to visit the watermill and teashop.