Walks in Nottinghamshire – Walk 44: Creswell Crags and the Harley Gallery

31 Mar

This walk isn’t really in Central Nottinghamshire. It is very definitely in the North of the county. However, I hope that you will indulge me a little as it packs a huge amount of interest into a very short walk. I am currently considering another project to do with walking in Nottinghamshire which took me here rather than the area which is covered by the title of the blog. I thought that as it is only five miles or so from some of the other walks I have already written about that it would be allowable to include the walk in this case.

Start: There are a few options here. My route starts from the bus shelter opposite the entrance to the Harley Gallery as this is accessible by public transport. The Harley Gallery itself has a large car parking area 200 yards or so from the shelter. The car park is free and there are worthwhile attractions to visit if parking at the Gallery.  The Gallery itself has a series of exhibitions throughout the year and a permanent collection housed in a new gallery.  There is also a garden centre and café.  Alternatively you can start at the Creswell Crags visitor centre where there is a large car park (pay and display) which lies directly on the route.  If you are coming by public transport the bus shelter opposite the Gallery is on the number 209 bus route from Edwinstowe to Worksop with buses every two hours during the daytime on weekdays.  It is also possible to join the route from Creswell station, which is half a mile from Creswell Crags, on the Robin Hood Line from Nottingham to Worksop.

Distance: 2.8 miles

Map of the Route

If starting from the Harley Galley car park walk out to the main entrance on the A60 and cross the road very carefully as the traffic is fast although the road is straight and you can see it coming.  This takes you to the bus shelter.   Crossing to the bus shelter turn left to walk southwards in the direction leading towards Edwinstowe along a reasonable pavement.  The traffic can be unpleasant here even though you are on pavement all the way.  After 400 yards you reach a road which you turn along, relieved to be away from the main road.  Follow this road which turns to left and then right a little further along until you reach the small hamlet of Holbeck after nearly half a mile.  As you reach Holbeck look to the left of the road where you should see a finger post pointing left along an avenue of lime trees.  This is on the route of the Robin Hood Way which is also signposted.  We will be following the Robin Hood Way but in the other direction.  Almost opposite the fingerpost but just a little further along on the right hand side of the road look for another footpath sign aiming for Creswell Crags along the Robin Hood Way.  Turn right off the road along the path which goes between houses and then up a short rise to enter a field.  Go straight on along the left hand side of this grassy field down to a gate and then into another field.  Stay on the left of this next field which you soon leave to reach a much more open arable field.

Here go right for twenty yards and follow the right hand side of this field to the far end, some 200 yards away.  Leave this field and enter another one with a wood nearby on your left.  Just past this another appears on your right hand side.  This second woodland is next to but separate from the field and you will see notices reminding you that it is private.  Enter a grassy field and stay near the right hand edge of the field as you start to climb up a noticeable incline.  You come near to a wall between the field and the wood as you approach the top of the hill after 400 yards.  By this time you may need a breather and at the top you have quite a wide prospect ahead to the west looking into Derbyshire, now only a hundred yards away.  You can see the houses of Creswell nearby.

From the brow of the hill start to descend quite a steep little slope and you should see quite a well defined path going off to the right a little way below.  As you reach the path turn right along it and you soon come to a stone stile which you step over.  This takes you into the Creswell Crags area.  Follow the clear path across a stream as you reach the main tracks in the Crags.  Turn right after the stream and very soon you reach a small lake.  There are good paths on either side of the lake and it doesn’t really matter which one you take.  For the purposes of this walk we will stay on the near side of the lake (as we at least stay in Nottinghamshire on this side!) and walk alongside it.

Creswell Crags

You are now walking through Creswell Crags, a limestone gorge with several caves on either side of you in the rock.  These caves were some of the oldest known inhabited places in Britain, dating back some 13000 years.  Remains of prehistoric animals have been found in the caves.  You can take guided tours of some of the caves which leave from the Visitor Centre.  As well as being of great historical interest the Crags are also a very pleasant environment to walk in with very good tracks running along the gorge and lake.  At the far end of the lake follow the main track almost straight on away from the lake.  As you leave the lake take the track going to the left hand side of the grass ahead.  Follow that for a short way and keep looking to the left where soon you will see a small wooden figure of depicting one of the ancient inhabitants of the Crags.  Cross a stream to go into the woods near him where there is another good path.  Turn right to follow this path through the wood towards the Visitor Centre which you will see clearly a little way ahead.

Walk to the Visitor Centre which you really should have a look at if you have time.  As well as the tours and interesting displays about the Crags you can also find refreshments here at a cafe.  There are also good picnic table facilities on the grass nearby.  After looking round you leave the visitor centre and go into the car park.  Once in the car park turn right from the visitor centre and walk to the far end of the car park where there is an intersection of paths.  There you should ignore paths going off to the side and just carry straight on ahead along quite a wide path.  This is still the Robin Hood Way which we have been following since Holbeck.  The path enters a slightly more open area, although with trees not far away, as it bends gently round to the right.  Just before you reach the main A60 road you pass a small lodge by the path.  At the A60 the Robin Hood Way crosses straight over but to return to the Harley Gallery we turn right here to follow the pavement alongside the road.  As before the road is busy but the pavement decent although this time you must walk for 400 yards until reaching the bus shelter from the start of the walk.  Here you can either wait for the bus or cross over carefully to visit the Gallery and surrounding attractions.

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