Archive | January, 2017

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 42: Newark, Queens Sconce and Newark Castle

29 Jan

This is a walk that is perhaps stretching the definition of Central Nottinghamshire a little but it connects with another of my walks, Walk 23, and is quite a good one for winter when other walks can be a little muddy.  It visits some interesting parts of Newark on roads and good paths which are fine to walk on in all conditions.  It’s a walk I like to do if I have a spare hour when I’m in Newark.

Start: Newark Market Place

Distance: 2.8 miles

Map of Walk Route

Newark is a local transport hub with good connection across Nottinghamshire to Mansfield and Nottingham by bus and further afield by train.

From the market place in the centre of Newark, one of the largest and finest in England, you will see the church of St. Mary Magdalene towering over one side.  Turn so that the church is on your left with the town hall behind you and leave the market place by the wide road in the middle ahead of you.  After fifty yards on this pedestrianised road you reach a junction.  Turn right here and walk along this road, also pedestrianised, (Carter Gate) for 200 yards until you reach a busy crossroads.  Here go to the left hand side of Carter Gate and use the crossing to go across the road (London Road) to the other side of the crossroads.  Walk along the pavement going straight on from the crossroads along the road ahead (Portland Street) in almost the same direction as Carter Gate.

After 100 yards cross a road coming off the main road (Albert Street) so that you stay walking along Portland Street.  Continue along the street, which becomes Victoria Street, for half a mile going past a Co-op store and over a few minor roads.  The road is quite busy but there is pavement all the way.  Eventually you see the Spring House pub on the other side of the road, which is now Farndon Road.  Stay on the same side of the main road but cross Boundary Road coming in from the left.  As you come level with the pub you will see to the left of you a large park appear.  Go into the park, Sconce and Devon Park,  and follow the edge of a small entrance road that enters the park near a car park.  Leave the road and head left up a bank to reach a wide expanse of grass.  Aim for the far left hand corner of this grass about 300 yards away.  At the end of the grass in the corner you reach a good track but this won’t be what attracts your attention.

You will have noticed approaching the corner that the ground ahead rose steeply at the end but as you reach the path you see a large earthwork with an arrangement of deep ditches.  This is the Queens Sconce, where the Parliamentarians were based to launch their attacks on the Castle and the King in the siege of Newark during the English Civil War.  There is a notice board giving much greater detail than I will go into here next to the path.  A little way ahead there is a relatively new bridge across one of the ditches which you can cross to take a closer look.

The "new" bridge and Queen's Sconce

The “new” bridge and Queen’s Sconce

Walk along the path with the Sconce to your right and a hedge to your left.  It is worth having a look round the earthwork at the bridge but return to the path and go past the Sconce earthworks.  Immediately after you have gone past the ditch turn right along another track for fifty yards.  Where this track starts to reach a slope you should turn left to stay on the top level heading towards a building, a sports pavilion.  Stay on the right hand side of this football field, going past the pavilion on your left to emerge at the corner of another football pitch.  Carry straight on along the side of the pitch with trees to your right, for 200 yards.

You should then see a post with directions on it indicating different paths you can take.  Here you should turn right to go into the trees towards the Devon Pastures and down a decent path which starts to head back in the direction of Newark.  Below you through the trees you will see the River Devon which you come down to at the bottom of the path.

River Devon

River Devon

 

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 Walk alongside the river which is slow-moving and peaceful here.  After a short stretch of open grass you reach some more trees.  Other paths come down the slope on your right occasionally but you should keep following the river on your left until the path comes out onto the pavement next to a busy road.  On the other side of this road you will see the impressive array of boats moored at Farndon Marina.  Unless you want to take a closer look at the Marina you should stay on this side of the road and turn right.  The road is busy but there is a wide pavement here.

After 400 yards you approach the Spring House pub again where we went into Queens Sconce Park.  Just before the pub you should cross the main road where there is a crossing to a central refuge and go to the other side of Farndon Road.  Turn right and walk along the pavement bearing left at the fork where the Spring House is.  You should be on the opposite side of the road to the pub.  Follow this left hand road (Mill Gate) for the next 600 yards.  This road is much quieter than Farndon Road but there is still a good wide pavement.  You may pass some horses which are tethered alongside the road here.  By now you are back in the town with various residential streets coming off Mill Gate.  you should ignore all of these until you have gone past the Watermill pub on the right hand side of Mill Gate, which is now much narrower.  Look for the next road on the left (Mill Lane) and turn along that for a short way.  You soon cross a quite steeply humped bridge over the river.

On the other side turn right to follow the River Trent, at this point technically known as the Navigation.  With the river immediately on your right you go past a boatyard by a short narrow footbridge, before coming to a lock.  Stay on the left of the Navigation all the way along as ahead you see Newark Castle on the other side of the river. Shortly after the lock there is a bridge across another branch of the river on the left.  Cross the bridge, turn right and walk along a firm path next to the river as you come alongside the castle.  The path reaches a road bridge just past the castle.  The riverside path does go under this bridge but instead you should bear slightly left on the path that takes you up to the road.  At the road turn right and cross the bridge over the river along a quite narrow pavement which then becomes much wider as you leave the river behind.  Go slightly uphill alongside the pavement until you reach the corner of the road near a roundabout.  On your right here is the entrance to the castle grounds.  If you haven’t looked around this is an ideal opportunity to walk around the grounds and to go to the castle walls overlooking the river.  If you do this then you should return to this corner to continue the walk.

From the corner turn right to walk on the pavement alongside the castle grounds on Castle Gate.  Very soon you come to a crossing where you should cross Castle Gate.  On the other side just to the right of the crossing you will see a lane, Boar Lane.  Go along Boar Lane, which is usually quiet, for 200 yards until you reach the end as it meets Middle Gate.  Cross Middle Gate and almost immediately opposite but just to the right is another lane, Chain Lane, which you should join.  After 150 yards you emerge from Chain Lane into Newark market place again.