Walking The Robin Hood Way: Duncanwood Lodge near Budby to Edwinstowe

28 Mar

This is the final stage of the Way if walking from south to north. I decided to do this stage before some of the intermediate stages so that you have a description to do your own circular walk from Edwinstowe combining this stage with some of my walk The Robin Hood Way: River Maun near Edwinstowe to Norton. I have chosen to start at Dunanwood Lodge because it is on the Sherwood Arrow bus route that also goes through Edwinstowe and you can do a linear walk using the bus to get to start and finish points.

Start: Duncanwood Lodge a mile north of Budby on the B6005 (there are bus shelters on either side of the road if you are using public transport)

Finish:  Edwinstowe Church 

Distance: 8 kilometres (5 miles)

Map of the Route

From the road go to the left of Duncanwood Lodge onto a path going westwards by the side of a field.  At the end of the field go slightly right to join the main track from the Lodge and continue west along this clear track for one kilometre.  You reach Hazel Gap which was on our route in the earlier stage from Edwinstowe to Norton.  This time we are doing a short section in the reverse direction.  Cross the quite busy A616 carefully and take the right most track which goes through a gateway and then downhill along a path at the edge of a wood on your right with a field to your left.

After 550m you reach woods on the left too and in another 100m look for a path to the left.  Turn along this narrower, unsurfaced path for 400m, which may have a fallen tree to go around but is easy to follow.  It descends a little and you leave the trees to go past a house on the right and through a small gate by a bigger main gate.  The path reaches the quite busy Netherfield Lane again which you cross carefully.

The River Meden

Go straight on to reach the path opposite and continue straight to cross the River Meden but bear just off the metalled track onto a grassier one almost straight on.  The path re-enters the forest and you follow it ahead for 600m until reaching a crossroads of tracks which we also came to on the stage to Norton and this is the point where you can make a circular walk if you want to.     You are at the bottom of a dip in the path coming across which may have freewheeling cyclists going quite fast so watch for them.  Turn left uphill quite steeply for a short distance then follow a flatter shale path for 300m to another major junction of paths.

Turn right along the main track which undulates a little over the next part of the walk.  Soon the trees on the left disappear and you see the open heathland near Budby South Forest.  You come under more substantial tree cover again and about a kilometre from the previous signposts reach another junction of tracks.  The left hand track goes off the Robin Hood Way towards the Major Oak which is a little under a mile from here.  Going straight on you reach the next major path junction by the Centre Tree in another kilometre.  This prominent tree is reputed to mark the centre of Sherwood Forest. There is a large area open ground a little ahead. 

The Centre Tree

Sherwood Forest near the Major Oak

At the tree turn left along a wide path.  The path is a little stony but it is easy walking among quite dense tree cover, a fine example of a deciduous forest.  Ignore all side turnings as the path slowly starts to descend a little.  After 1200m a quite substantial path meets ours from the left but keep on ahead a little longer until you reach a clearing by the Major Oak. The Major Oak is one of the most famous trees in England and indeed was named Tree of the Year in 2014.  It is reputed to have been the hide-out of Robin Hood and his men and many years ago it was possible to go and hide in the trunk of the tree.  These days the tree itself is fenced off from the path and has several supports for the main branches.

The Major Oak

Leave the clearing with the Major Oak on your left and go onto what was the main track to the visitor centre from the Major Oak. Follow this wide track for 600m until you reach the site of the old visitor centre.  Go through this site to soon reach the car park for it.  Keep to the right hand side of the car park and then leave it continuing in the same direction.  You soon reach another good path near a cricket pitch.  Follow this path to the left of the cricket field aiming towards the spire of a church.  You come to a road and follow it ahead, crossing a small road to the right which leads to the Sherwood Forest Youth Hostel and the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, which you may well wish to visit.  Continue on towards the crossroads in the centre of Edwinstowe heading south along the road (Church Street) past the church going into the village. The church, where Robin Hood married Maid Marian according to the stories, is the official end of the Robin Hood Way (or the start), which goes all the way to Nottingham castle if you decide to tackle it from this direction.

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