Archive | March, 2018

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire: Walk 52 Sherwood Pines and Vicar Water

15 Mar

This is a walk that is in two parts. The first is in the trees of the Sherwood Pines recreation area in Sherwood Forest. The second goes past the small lake at Vicar Water and along a track to King’s Clipstone and King John’s palace. It is a walk that can be done in just about any conditions as the tracks are all good, firm ones that won’t get muddy. There is a bit of road walking where care must be taken but it is only for a short way before you return to the safe ground of Sherwood Pines again.

Start: Sherwood Pines Visitor Centre

Distance: 5.2 miles

Map of Route

There are parking facilities (Pay and Display) and other amenities including a café at Sherwood Pines. You can also join the route at Vicar Water where there is parking or even at King’s Clipstone at the Dog and Duck pub if you are visiting the pub. If coming via the bus take the number 14 or 15 to Kirton or Walesby from Mansfield bus station. They run every 1/2 hour Monday – Saturday and every hour on Sundays. Sherwood Pines has a large variety of activities including Go Ape, cycle hire and trails and children’s play areas. There are a huge number of routes you can take within Sherwood Pines and there are display boards showing these in more detail.

Sherwood Pines

My route initially follows the Green Family Cycle route. If you are standing at the Visitor Centre entrance looking towards the Centre look to the right along the avenue of trees and you will see a large number 1 on a green background. This is your first target so walk to the number 1 sign and follow the arrow to carry on past it where you will see the number 2 sign. This first part of the route is easy to follow as you can see the numbers and arrows of the Green Trail. At number 2 you turn left to go downhill on a path next to a wider track. On you left here is a football field. At the bottom of the hill you see number 3 and turn right to follow the wide track for 300 yards until you reach number 4 where you turn left for a short way until you get to number 5.  There you turn right to follow the path for 300 yards before reaching, surprise surprise, number 6.  Here you are at the bottom of a wide track and you turn left to climb quite steeply for 500 yards until you come to number 7.  Just beyond that you reach a track coming across and this is where we leave the marked Sherwood Pine Forest Trails.

Turn right along the track coming across.  This is still quite a wide track and when I did the walk was the only part that was wet.  This was after a wet period and hopefully after some drier weather will be perfectly all right.  Even when I did it the track was quite soft and sandy and the verge next to the track was fine to walk on so you should have no problems.  Follow the track straight along, ignoring all the side tracks.  It stays flat for the first 500 yards before starting to descend reasonably quickly.  After 200 yards descending you reach a track where there is a small sign indicating that you are on National Cycle route 6.  Go straight across this track and down a little further until you see a bridge ahead which was part of the old railway line.  Just before the bridge you reach an information board showing the various tracks of the Sherwood Pines area.  If you wish you can follow these instead of my route but we go under the bridge and out of Sherwood Pines here.

Emerging from the other side of the bridge we go uphill along a path with a slightly red tinge to it.  You may notice some small pieces of brick in places on it.  After 150 yards there is a fork in the path.  The main National route 6 path bears to the left and is signed that way but we bear to the right to follow a narrower path.  This twists and turns a little before shortly you go down a small bank and then left across a bridge that goes over a road.  This road isn’t a proper one that is used any more as far as I know.  After crossing the bridge turn right along a narrow, slightly red,  path with the road now to your right.  After a short way you see on the right of the path some blue signs for the National cycle route with distances to various places on it.  Carry on along our path as it descends, with a wood on your left, to a picnic area with tables and benches.

Vicar Water

As this is about half way around the route you may choose to sit here for a rest and enjoy he surroundings.  You are close to the small lake known as Vicar Water and this is a nice spot to relax, very popular with the people of Clipstone which is nearby.   You have a choice of routes around the lake from the picnic area.  Whichever option you take you should aim for one of the most bizarre sights on any of my walks, namely a giant sculpture of a golden hand.

You can take a narrow path going to the left which follows the bottom of the wood next to the lake and then comes out onto a wide but quiet drive where you turn right along the far side of Vicar Water and aim for the hand.  This adds about 400 yards to the route

The route I have shown on the map is the direct path which I describe here.  From the picnic area follow the main track to the right of Vicar Water to the end of the lake aiming for the golden hand.  Go past the giant hand along the main track and after another 100 yards you leave the lake area and go through tunnels under a bridge.  The track from here is very easy to follow as it runs almost straight for the next mile.  It is a well surfaced track which is suitable for bicycles so look out for cyclists, although in my experience there aren’t too many.  The first part of the path has a few areas of woodland to the left hand side until after about 600 yards you pass an old factory building.  After this the path becomes a little more open with fields on the left of you.  There are a few small gates to go through at intervals along the track but it is very flat and easy walking with the stream from Vicar Water close to the path but barely noticeable.

After nearly a mile you reach a gate and then the large area leading to the car park of the Dog and Duck pub, where there is also a small brewery.  To the left of the car park area are the remains of King John’s Palace.  There isn’t a great amount left of the palace which was built by the kings of Northumbria and later used by King John as a hunting lodge.  There is an information board with more details of the palace near the car park.  Keep going straight on to the end of the car park where it meets the B6030 road with the village of King’s Clipstone off to the left and the pub to your right.  Turn right here, staying on the pub side of the road and possibly calling in for a drink.

Follow the road for a short way towards a bridge, taking care as there is no proper pavement.  Go under the bridge where there is a narrow footway and carry on uphill along the road.  Take great care here as there is no verge for around 200 yards and a reasonable amount of traffic which can be going quite fast.  At the top of the climb there is a grass verge which you should use as we carry on along the road.  After another 300 yards a road meets our road from the left and opposite that a cycle path begins on our side of the road.  Follow this cycle path for 200 yards until it turns right at the entrance to Sherwood Pines.  This road is a good one with plenty of room on either side for walking.  Follow this main entrance road for 600 yards around a few bends but where the route is obvious until you reach the car park and centre of Sherwood Pines where we started the walk.