Archive | June, 2020

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Papplewick and Newstead Abbey to Blidworth

18 Jun

If walking the Robin Hood Way there are various loops you can do which with only slight alterations can be turned into circular walks. The Way visits Blidworth twice and a short walk links them so that a circular walk starting and finishing in Blidworth can be done which is about ten miles (16km).

This may be too long for some so I have decided to break it into two stages which connect Blidworth with Papplewick. The walk via Ravenshead which I will describe another time is four miles (6km) . The stage described here going via Newstead Abbey, Thieves Wood, Harlow Wood and Fountain Dale is six miles long. The Robin Hood Way doesn’t quite go into Papplewick on these stages but goes half a mile north of the village. The Trent Barton 141 bus runs between Blidworth and Papplewick and there is a stop close to the start of this stage.

Start:  The entrance road to Newstead Abbey about 600m north of Papplewick village

Finish:  The centre of Blidworth

Distance: 11.4 km 

Map of the Route

This description starts from Papplewick village as you may prefer to start from there although it is just off the Robin Hood Way.  The words in italics are to get from the village to join the Robin Hood Way.

From the main crossroads by the Griffin pub go north away from the pub on the B683.  Follow the pavement by the road as it turns sharply right then left.  Stay on the pavement for another 600m.  It starts to descend after leaving the village. 

On the left as the main road turns to the right again you reach a wide road on the left by a little grassy island with a bench and tree.  This road is an entrance to Newstead Abbey and is another part of the Robin Hood Way.  Leave the main road to bear left here.  There is a small cluster of buildings here including stables and houses.  Follow the road between these buildings with the cricket club entrance on the left. The road bends to the right as it becomes a wide track.  The track is a nice one running very straight with widely spaced trees on each side.  Follow it for just over half a mile until you reach the gates to Newstead Abbey and a cottage next to them.  For walkers there is a smaller gate to the side of the main driveway.  Go through this gate to enter the main park.

Our way stays on its very straight course but the track becomes a properly surfaced road again and the trees become much more densely arranged to the right and the cover more noticeable.  Stay on this driveway, there are grass verges to either side which you may prefer to walk on as, although this isn’t a proper public road, there are occasional vehicles along it.  After half a mile you come to the centre of the park.  The road you are following bends to the left and then right before meeting another wider road.  This is the main one through the Abbey estate, Swinecotte Dale, which comes from the A60 Nottingham to Mansfield road with the main entrance about half a mile off to your right at this point. 

Where you meet this thoroughfare if you want to explore the Abbey you should turn left along it going downhill towards a lake.  You can see a cricket field on your left and then the Abbey itself.  Go down the hill where you can explore the many interesting features of Newstead Abbey and its surroundings.

Newstead Abbey lake

Waterfall at Newstead Abbey


Swinecotte Dale

To continue on the Robin Hood Way cross the road and follow the path bearing off to the right uphill into woods.  This is along a nice track under trees on a decent earth surface.  The track is easy to follow and is mainly straight as you climb steadily.  From the highest point after 500m you descend still on this good path which soon goes down some long, shallow steps to reach an open field on left as you get to the bottom of them.

Undulating field

Stay going straight on with the attractive undulating field surrounded by woodland on your left.  Go up for a short way then down again until you go under trees again and uphill on a track with low stone wall on the right and wooden fences by houses on the left. There is quite a steep climb for 150m to the top and a small gate.  Carry on ahead towards some large telegraph poles where you turn left.  Pay attention here as you then take a narrow path to the right almost immediately that goes off the main track and out of the wood.

Follow a narrow path down to road with a small open area to the left at first.   After 100m you emerge next to a fairly busy road. There are also bus stops here.   Go left for a short way then cross the road.  On the other side of the road keep going left until you soon reach a junction.  Turn right along this road going downhill along a wide verge for 100m.  At the bottom of the hill there is a wood to the right where there is a “No Tipping” sign and a narrow path through the hedge on the right which you should take.  Just through the hedge go down a small dip then up a little then take a path to the left which soon comes to a car park. Bear right in the car park going away from the road and leave the car park at the far end.  You soon come to a large information board with a map of the woods showing the local trails here in Nomanshill Wood and Thieves Wood, a large area of tracks and tall trees on either side. 

Follow the path going almost straight ahead bearing a little to the left.  After 600m of straight track you meet another wide track and turn right for 250m to another junction of tracks.  Here you turn right.  After 250m a track comes in from the left but you should carry straight on.

Follow a wide, firm light-coloured track with trees on either side.   The track is mainly straight but bends gradually to the left and is a little undulating.  After 500m you reach a major junction of tracks.   The main wide track bears left but you should take the right hand track uphill going into the woods.  This is along a slightly less open and more earthy track.  Go straight along for 150m where the path kinks a little to the left but stay on the path for 200m until on the left you see Fountaindale school.  Continue for another 150m all the way to the A60 then turn right to follow the pavement alongside it for 150m.

Carefully cross the A60 here where on the opposite side you should see a footpath sign.  A very short distance to the right along the A60 here is the Sheppard Stone which commemorates an unfortunate girl who was murdered here.  From the footpath sign go straight into the wood (Harlow Wood) on an indistinct path for 80m to meet  a wider track. On that track go just to the right and follow the main track that goes straight on.  Follow this good wide track which is quite straight but goes into a small dip around a patch that can be a little muddy. Then soon the track becomes very straight in more open coniferous forest.  After 400m the path bends to the right and after another 300m you can see a small lake through the trees on the right as you reach more deciduous areas. Soon you come to a major junction of paths in the wood with a signpost pointing to several different tracks.  


Lake in Harlow Wood


Go straight on past a board telling you the story of this place.  Soon you leave the main part of the wood and carry straight on to follow the edge of the field staying by the trees on your right.  After 300m the path bends to the right and you come to the end of a large pond.  This area is Fountain Dale and nearby is Friar Tuck’s Well where the eponymous member of Robin Hood’s men met the outlaw.  Continue along the bottom of the field for 300m to another crossroads of paths. 

Fountain Dale

Fountain Dale

Here we go into the woodland on the right and cross a small bridge over a stream.  Leave the woodland going uphill through a gate onto a wide track.  After 100m as you pass a house on your left  go through a gate on the track.  Just past this gateway jink to the left as you pass the house to go onto a wide farm track still going up the hill.  This is a steady climb but the path is pretty good despite a few stones.  The track passes between fields on left and right.  As the path starts to flatten out trees appear on the right of the track.  At the end of the track half a mile from the bottom of the hill you reach a quiet road.

Turn left and go downhill along the road for 300m.  Where the road turns sharply left you should leave the road and carry on along a wide track.  This soon climbs quite steeply for a short way.  We stay along this track for a mile all the way to Blidworth.  It’s a good track which has a few undulations and in places good views to the left.  After a kilometre you reach a small copse.  Just after this the track becomes a metalled road as you climb and then reach the first houses of Blidworth.  When you reach the main road in Blidworth turn right for 150m to reach the main junction.  There are bus stops here where you can return to Papplewick or get connections to Mansfield and Farnsfield, Eakring and Southwell.