Archive | September, 2016

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 38: Southwell, Maythorne and Winkburn

7 Sep

Start: Normanton Road in Southwell, a little way north of the centre at the end of the disused railway track that used to run to Mansfield. Park in the car park at the end of the track. Much of this walk is along quiet roads and through fields near the very small villages of Maythorne and Winkburn.

Distance: 6.3 miles

Map of the Route

I recommend following my route all the way in summer or after dry weather. However, if the weather has been wet the first part of the walk along the path near the river Greet can become muddy. You may prefer to follow the railway track for a mile as far as the first road crossing you reach. There you should turn right and follow the road for 300 yards to Maythorne. There you seem to reach an enclosed “courtyard” of buildings but you are able to leave it by going to the end and following a path and bridge over the river to the left.

 

From the car park walk to the road near the Final Whistle pub. At the road turn left and pass the tall mill building overlooking the River Greet and pond. Immediately after the mill turn left along a footpath. This crosses a short patch of gravel before becoming a narrow path with the river Greet on your left and Reg Taylor’s garden centre on your right. you are separated from the garden centre by a fence but can see through that. Shortly you can see a pond in the garden centre which can be worth having a look at to see the birds.

River Greet near Southwell

River Greet near Southwell

The path itself can be rather muddy at this point as it seems to get a fair amount of use and is narrow. The river here is about six feet wide. Carry on straight along the path as you reach the end of the garden centre. You now reach fields on your right with the river still at your left as it starts to make small meanders. The walk continues straight along the path. The fields on the right can be quite varied in character depending on the time of year you walk. In recent years these fields have often had maize in them. In the spring you will be able to see across the fields but as the year goes on the maize grows higher and higher until it really is “as high an elephant’s eye” before harvesting in the late autumn. If the maize is tall I think it gives a rather exotic feel to the area. You walk along and can imagine being in a tropical country with the vegetation towering above you. It also gives a sense of isolation. Someone could be twenty yards away and have no idea you were walking there hidden by the maize.

Maize field near Southwell

Maize field near Southwell

Eventually you have to make a sharp right turn at the end of a field. Ignore the temptation to carry on into the clump of trees. There is a path going into the trees but that has been caused by people thinking that is the correct path, me included. It comes to a dead end at the river and you will have to turn around. Having taken the sharp right turn follow the field edge for about 200 yards before taking a left turn through a gap in the hedge.

River Greet near Maythorne

River Greet near Maythorne

The river Greet appears again on your left as you emerge from the hedge. It is slightly wider than before and is flowing more quickly. Walk alongside the river for 200 yards before you have to divert your course slightly as you reach the hamlet of Maythorne.  As you reach a wooden footbridge it is worth walking the few yards towards the tall mill building in Maythorne to reach a narrow footbridge over the river as it sweeps down from the mill. If you wish to return to Southwell from here you can easily do so by walking through the “courtyard” area of Maythorne past the few buildings. Then go up the road for 300 yards to the old railway track and turn left along that.   You can follow the track all the way back to the start of the walk.

Near the Mill at Maythorne

Near the Mill at Maythorne

To continue the walk to Winkburn go back to the first footbridge you came to near Maythorne. Go slightly downhill under some trees towards a stile. Cross the stile. The area around the stile can be rather muddy at times and you may have to step carefully around to reach the field beyond the mud. This field can be a little wet underfoot after heavy rain but otherwise is a pleasant grassy meadow. The path across the field can usually be seen quite clearly. You are aiming to the right of a few trees in the middle of the field towards the hedge on your right as you cross the field. You should reach this hedge at a point roughly level with the trees. Continue along the hedge for 100 yards.  Go through the hedge across a stile then immediately turn left over a wooden plank bridge and another stile. You enter a new field, dryer than the last. Aim diagonally across this field towards the hedge corner on your right. On reaching this corner turn right uphill, walking in the middle of this narrower part of the field towards a telegraph pole. Go to the right of the telegraph pole towards the corner of the field where there is a stile by a gate. Cross the stile and go downhill for 10 yards onto a road. This is Corkhill Road.

Turn left along the road going quite steeply for a short way downhill. You emerge from the trees at the bottom of this little hill. On your right is a long, quite steep ridge whilst on your left are flat fields.  After 100 yards on the right of the road you will see a turning to Far Corkhill farm. Follow the farm track quite steeply uphill for 300 yards. At the top of the slope are some farm buildings but you should ignore these and the tracks to them. Instead at the top where the main track turns left carry straight on going onto the edge of a field. Follow the edge of the field with a hedge on your right. The path starts to descend, at first gently but as you go further into the field away from the buildings the path gets a little steeper. After 300 yards the hedge disappears,  Go straight on across the field for 200 yards down to an area of woods ahead and enter the woodland. The path into the wood may be a little covered in summer but you should be able to find it quite easily.  The path enters a small dumble and drops a short way down to a footbridge over a stream before climbing straight up again out of the wood.

You emerge into an arable field.  There is no footpath sign or any indication of which way to go.  Here you should turn right to follow the edge of the field next to the wood you just left.  After fifty yards you reach the end of the field and should go through a wide gap in the hedge a little to your left.  This takes yo into another field.  Turn left to go slightly uphill along the edge of the field with a hedge now on your left.  Almost immediately you reach the verge of a busy road (the A617).  Turn right and walk along the verge for 100 yards before crossing the road very carefully where you see another road meeting the A617 on the opposite side.  Turn off the A617 to go along this road on the left .  You can cut the corner on the other side of the A617 as there is a grass verge there just before the turning.

The road you have now joined is fortunately much quieter with very little traffic as it  only goes to the small village of Winkburn and then on to Maplebeck.  It is rather wide for such a quiet road and very straight except for one small bend to the right after 400 yards.  Go along the road for the next mile until you reach Winkburn.  The road climbs uphill for much of the way, relatively gently for a while but then a little more steeply before flattening out as you approach Winkburn.  As you reach the village you will see a footpath sign on the right of the road pointing to the right.   You can avoid going all the way to the sign by bearing right along a driveway track about fifty yards before the sign.  Look to the right of the track after fifty yards and you will see a wooden stile which the footpath sign is pointing towards.  Go over the stile into a large grassy field and start bearing slightly to the right away from the house and grounds (Winkburn Hall) and tall trees on your left.

It isn’t immediately obvious exactly where you should go but as you angle to the right you should see after 200 yards some small fences from an equestrian cross-country course.  Aim towards these keeping just to the right of them and then go down into a small hollow and up again on the other side to reach a wooden stile.  Leave the grassy field at the stile and enter an arable field.  Go straight on along the field edge with a barbed wire fence on your left and the field itself on the right which may have crops growing in it.  There are quite nice views to the left here across the fields and woods.  After 200 yards just past a tree the barbed wire fence disappears and you carry straight on across the field for 250 yards to a gateway at the end of the field.

Going into the next field you will find no indication of the way.  You should carry on in a straight line from your direction across the previous field so that you are going across the middle of this next field rather than the edge of it near some woodland.  I did this walk in the middle of August and the crop was still to be harvested.  There was a line across the field which was slightly easier to follow than the surrounding crops but it still wasn’t that clear.  Hopefully  when the crops are harvested the route across will be clearer.  The path goes slightly uphill at first then flattens out as you approach the far corner after 400 yards.  Leave the field in the corner and enter another more grassy field.  Follow the field edge with a hedge on your right.  After 100 yards go through a gap in the hedge on the right and enter a large arable field.

There is a yellow arrow waymark here that seems to be pointing across the field.  I think this is slightly misleading as instead of going across the field you should follow the field edge on the left for 200 yards.  Leave this field and go into another where you bear left and the path goes across the middle of the field.  Here the views open out to the south towards Southwell.   Follow the path to the hedge at the far side of the field 200 yards away.  Turn right and follow the hedge downhill for 200 yards then go left through a metal kissing gate.  This takes you into a grass field which you cross to the far right hand corner.  Go through another metal kissing gate and out to the A617 again.

Cross carefully to the pavement on the far side and turn left to enter the village of Hockerton.  Follow the pavement through the village alongside the main road for 500 yards passing the Spread Eagle pub on the opposite side of the main road.  You reach a junction. Turn right here and walk along the edge of the road.  There is no pavement on this road but it is relatively quiet.  Follow this road  It is quite a wide road but the views are restricted by the hedges on either side so unfortunately it isn’t the most interesting part of the route.  There are a few undulations on the road but it is mainly straight.  After nearly a mile and a half you reach a small crossroads as you descend into Southwell.  Go straight on here and carry on down to the river Greet and old mill buildings at the bottom of the hill.  From here you are almost back at the start again.  You may wish to call in at the Final Whistle pub which has a good selection of beers and has an interesting interior designed to look like a station waiting-room.