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Walks in Central Notts – Walk 23 Averham to Newark (Stage 7 of the Mansfield to Newark walk)

28 Feb

Averham to Newark (Stage 7 of the Mansfield to Newark walk)

This walk carries on from Walk 22 Fiskerton to Averham (Stage 6 of the Mansfield to Newark walk) and completes the last stage of the walk from Mansfield ( a grand total of 29 miles for the entire walk).

Start: Bus stop by the school in Averham.

Finish: Newark Market Place

Distance: 3 miles

Map Of The Route

The first stage of this walk is, unfortunately, alongside the main A617 road. It would be nice to be able to avoid this but any diversion is rather long.  The road section is only a mile long and there is a decent pavement all the way.

From the bus shelter in Averham walk for 50 yards towards the main A617 road along the pavement next to the school. Cross the A617 with extreme care as the road is busy and the traffic fast. You may have to wait for a minute for a suitable gap in the traffic but one will occur and when it does make your way to the other side of the road where there is a pavement.

On the far side of the road turn right and walk along the pavement around a slight bend and follow the pavement for the next half mile to the village of Kelham. For the first 400 yards you are walking next to open fields.  Soon the road enters an area of tall trees on either side of the road and on the right hand side of the road you approach the grounds of Kelham Hall, the soon-to-be former home of Newark and Sherwood District council. Kelham Hall is an impressive building and you will catch a glimpse of it between the trees.  The new owners have a woodland trail around the grounds which you may like to incorporate into your walk.

You enter Kelham village and reach a sharp right hand bend.  Follow the pavement around the bend and carry on past The Fox pub on the left. If you have walked from Fiskerton you may want to stop here for refreshment. If not, continue along the pavement crossing a minor road on the left before the road rises slightly as it crosses the River Trent on quite a narrow bridge. On the far side of the river there is another sharp right hand bend which sometimes causes problems for larger vehicles trying to negotiate it. As you start to follow this bend round look for a wide track on the left, going away from the road, which you should turn along.

The temptation is to carry on along this straight track but the path you want actually leaves the track almost as soon as you reach the bottom of the slope coming away from the road.  Look for a path leaving the main track to the right going into a small grassy field.  Cross the field through long grass trying to avoid the nettles and aiming for a kissing gate with a yellow post indicating the footpath about 100 yards away.

The nature of the next fields may differ from my description as I did this walk last summer.  In fact it will probably be easier to negotiate them when the crops haven’t reached their full height.  At the time of my walk the next field of oil-seed rape had a clear path made through the crops.  If the path isn’t obvious when you do the walk you should keep going in the same direction as when you crossed the grassy field.   Actually the path goes almost straight for the next half mile across the next three fields.

This first field is about 300 yards across, the second is slightly further across.  As you leave this field you may find that the next one you enter contains sheep. This third field is about 400 yards long and you should follow the line of the hedge just to your left.  I found that the temporary fence to contain the sheep was very close to the field edge and the narrow gap was a little awkward.  If this fence is still there you may be able to step over it and walk just inside it where you have a bit more room.  Leave this field in the far left-hand corner to enter another field which is about 150 yards straight across and opens up to your left  Go straight across this to the end of a line of trees and from there enter another more enclosed field .  This field is only 100 yards across, mostly surrounded by trees and you should stay on the left hand side by the hedge.  The way out only becomes apparent as you get close to the far side of the field where you will see a gap in the corner.

Leave the field in this corner where you cross a dyke and go straight over the next field for 200 yards.  Leaving this field you come to the rugby club.  Cross the rugby pitches towards the large clubhouse pictured below but pass to the left of all these buildings going almost straight on aiming for the obvious gap in the hedges you see ahead. You go very close to a small hut by the pitch just before going through the gap in the hedge.  This leads to another set of pitches which you go straight across in the same direction you have been walking.  The prominent spire of the church next to Newark Market place shows how near you are to finishing the walk and may give you an extra spring in your step.

Newark Rugby Club

Newark Rugby Club

At the end of these pitches you go up some steps to reach the A617 again.  Very carefully go straight across the road and down some more steps on the far side. Cross the corner of a small field to reach a slightly larger grassy field which you should go straight across.  This brings you to another potentially busy road, the Newark by-pass (A46).  Cross this carefully and enter another small field.  Go straight across this and through the treeline at the far side.  Going up a bank brings you onto the old Kelham Road at the end of a cul-de-sac.  Keep going almost straight on and follow the road for 300 yards all the way to the far end where it meets the main road into Newark, bearing right at the small fork in the road near the main road.  Turn right at the end and go over the level crossing next to Newark Castle railway station.

Continue alongside the main road passing the Cattle Market on the right and soon reaching the bridge over the river Trent.  As you cross the bridge Newark castle rises proudly above the river on your right.  Continue straight on over the bridge and then onto a wider section of pavement.  If you are planning to get the bus back towards Mansfield then there is a stop just here which you walk past. The main Newark bus station is found not far away by turning right along Castle Gate and following the road round the corner onto Lombard Street. At the end of the main road you reach a roundabout and junction.  Right on the corner is the entrance to the grounds of Newark Castle.  The castle is well worth a look and has played a part in several incidents in British history, perhaps most notably being where King John died and as the focal point of the siege of Newark in the English Civil War.  The grounds are a pleasant spot for a wander or sit down and the view from the castle back towards our route is a good one.

Newark Castle

Newark Castle

If you aren’t going to visit the castle or if you have had a look then our route resumes at the corner.  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,one of the largest and finest in England.  There is no one spot which marks the end of my Mansfield to Newark walk but the market place is in itself a splendid place to finish the walk.

If you have come all the way from Mansfield take satisfaction in having completed a challenge where you will have encountered a interesting variety of the landscape of Central Nottinghamshire.  You will also have seen some of the finest buildings the county has to offer.  Newark has a wide selection of pubs, cafes and eating establishments where you can celebrate reaching the end of your walk.

Walks in Central Notts – Walk 22 Fiskerton to Averham (Stage 6 of the Mansfield to Newark walk)

31 Jan

This walk is mainly along or close to the River Trent. It runs between two small villages that are on the number 28 bus route from Mansfield to Newark so you can return to your starting point by bus or on foot. This is Stage 6 of my Mansfield to Newark walk and continues from Stage 5

Map of My Route

Start: Bus stop in Fiskerton on Station Road at the junction with Main Street.  If coming by car there is a small car park by the river at the north end of the village.

Distance: 4.2 miles

If starting from the bus shelter or the bus stop on Station Road you should cross the Main Street to reach the grassy track between houses directly opposite the end of Station Road. Go straight on along this track for 80 yards and go up and down the steps at the end to reach the path next to the river Trent. At this point you join the route from Stage 5 of my Mansfield to Newark walk.

Turn left to walk along the riverside path for 200 yards until you reach the end of the houses on your left. You skirt the edge of a small car park and carry on alongside the river near metal fencing which is a popular resting place for black-headed gulls in winter. The river comes closer to the road and you actually walk along the road, which is generally quiet, for a short way as you approach a lone house ahead. As you reach the house you go to the right taking a narrow path between the house and the river. The path goes past a landing stage at the back of the house and once past the house you emerge on a wider path next to the river.

Take this path bearing to the right still alongside the river as it bends away from the road. You pass a bench after 200 yards and soon go up a small bank. At this point the main path carries on by the river and if you wish you can keep on along this path. However, this does make quite a large loop which adds nearly a mile to the walk. Instead, my route goes sharp left down the bank into a field and alongside a hedge for 100 yards.  At the end of the hedge you come to a heavy gate which you should go through onto a wide farm track.

Turn right and follow this track which is pretty good underfoot, though after wet weather there are a few puddles.  After 300 yards the main farm track turns right into a field but we carry straight on as the track becomes grassy between hedges on either side.  The track is reasonable at first but as you reach a section where the trees enclose the track a little more the ruts become a little deeper and muddier.  You may have to use a little agility to step around the worst of it but it shouldn’t be a major problem unless the weather has been very wet.  After the section of path with tree cover the track becomes more open again and is in better condition.  Carry on between the hedges until just after passing a very large tree stump on the right you reach a new firm track.  This is the track leading to the car park for local anglers.

Carry on in the same direction you have been going for the last mile along this track and follow it for 400 yards to the car park.  There can be quite large puddles all the way to the Trent but there is enough dry land on the track around them so that you can avoid getting your feet wet.  Go on to the end of the car park and then through a gate where a firm track continues with the river now appearing again to your right.  This track can again be puddle affected and you can if you wish go onto the embankment to follow the path right next to the river.  However, the path is a little rough and you still have a good view of the river from the firm track.

Follow the track for another half mile as the river bends to the right until on the opposite bank of the river you start to see the moorings and gardens of Farndon.  At this point the track we have been following goes very close to the river. You may be tempted to try and find a path alongside the river as the main track appears to be going into an industrial boatyard.  However, you should stick to the main track as it goes under a wide avenue of trees towards the yard. Keep your eyes on the left hand side of the track and after 100 yards you will see a stile with yellow footpath waymarks.  Leave the track and go over the stile into a very large field.

If there is a clear path across the field then you should follow it.  However, on my last visit this was just a ploughed field with no crops growing and no indication of the way across.  If this is the situation when you arrive then my advice is to look across just to the right of the far end of the field  where you will see the tall towers of Staythorpe power station about a mile away.  Aim straight towards the towers across the field for 800 yards until you arrive back at the river and then turn left to follow the riverside path where after 100 yards you reach the hedge at the far corner of the field.  The official path across the field aims slightly to the left of the towers and as you get towards the far end of the field you will see a yellow marked post indicating the path by a gap in the hedge.  If you wish, you can go to this gap and from there turn right alongside the hedge for a short way until this path comes to the river at the corner of the field. 

Whichever way you arrive at the far corner of the field you should then walk along the path with the river just to your right.  There are trees alongside the river here and you are not far above river level.  On my last trip the river was high and coming quite close to the path.  It may be that after very wet weather this path becomes flooded.  Follow the path for 400 yards until you come to Staythorpe power station.  The footpath bears right to go between the power station and the river.  Much of the path is along concrete walkways with a high fence to your left.  You walk for 500 yards past the power station and surrounds.  It isn’t the most beautiful part of the walk but you are very close to the river with great views of the water below and local wildlife.  It was here that I once saw two oystercatchers. It is also quite an interesting contrast with the fields and tracks you have been following for miles.

As you reach the end of the power station complex the river reaches a lively weir.  At this point the path turns left through the trees down a bank and into a field.  Follow the path at the edge of the field alongside the river, taking care as there is some tangly stuff including brambles hidden in the long grass.  At the end of the field go under the railway bridge and continue by the river for 400 yards approaching Averham church.  Go as far as you can until you reach a large beck (Rundell Dyke) flowing into the Trent near the churchyard.  Turn left and walk alongside the beck for 200 yards where you come to a bridge over it.  Turn right to cross the bridge and go on for 100 yards until you come to the road in Averham (Church Road).  Turn left and walk along the road for 300 yards until you reach the main road in the village (Staythorpe Road).  There turn right for fifty yards to reach another road by the village school.  Turn right here and follow the road around the bend.  The bus stop for buses going back towards Fiskerton is on this side of the road and for buses to Newark you should cross to the bus shelter next to the school.  There are few amenities in Averham, although it does have the Robin Hood Theatre, a surprising feature for such a small village.

If you are making your way back to Fiskerton on foot, if you don’t want to retrace your steps you will have to walk along Staythorpe Road for part of the return journey.  The road isn’t the busiest and there are verges but I never particularly like road walking. Alternatively, if you have the energy you may want to do the last few miles into Newark which I will describe in my next post.

Walk 19 and Stage 5 of the Mansfield to Newark walk: Southwell to Fiskerton

24 Oct

This is the next stage of the Mansfield to Newark walk but is also a brand new walk so I have also included it as such.  The walk takes you out of Southwell and up to get a good view east over the Trent Valley before using paths across fields and along quiet roads to take you to the river Trent at Fiskerton.  From Fiskerton you can get a bus back to Southwell or on to Newark.

Start: Bus stop on Church Street in Southwell Continues from Stage 4 of the Mansfield to Newark Walk

Distance: 3.8 miles

From the bus stops on Church Street by the Minster make sure you are on the same side of the road as the Minster.  Turn so that you have the Minster on your right hand side and walk along the pavement going slightly downhill on Church Street away from the main junction in Southwell.  After 200 yards the road bends to the right and then left before it crosses the Potwell Dyke.  Immediately after this you should see a sign on the right for Harvey’s Field where there is a narrow path going from Church Road.  Take this path which runs alongside the Potwell Dyke, under trees for 100 yards before coming to a large grassy field.  Here you should bear left away from the dyke aiming for the obvious exit from the field about 100 yards away on the left (not the one at the far end of the field).  The path from the field takes you between houses and out to a road (Farthingate).  Cross this road and turn right then almost immediately left up the next road (Farthingate Close).  After fifty yards this starts to bend to the left.  As it does so you should cross the road and look for a narrow alley going off to the right.

Take this short path between the houses which soon comes to a grassy field.  Enter the field and keep to the right alongside the fence as the path starts to rise slightly.  After fifty yards go through a gate in the fence to the right and go into a large arable field.  You should aim diagonally across the field up the hill towards a stile about 200 yards away by a wood.  The path across the field may be well-defined but depending on the time of year the field could be ploughed or have crops in it making the route less clear.  At the top of the path go over a stile into the wood.  Carry on through the wood in roughly the same direction as the path across the field.  The path twists and turns a little through the trees but should be quite easy to follow.  The only slight problem could be in autumn if fallen leaves cover the path.  In any case keeping in the same direction up the hill should bring you to the far end of the wood not far from the right spot.  The wood can be a little muddy after wet weather.  The path flattens out towards the top of the wood and you emerge at the far end through a gate.

Take care as you leave the wood as the gate leads straight onto Crink Lane.  There isn’t much traffic but you are coming out at a sharp bend in the road.  On the other side of the lane to the right is a house but we want to go into the field of allotments just to the left of us.  Cross the road carefully and enter the field which has a wide entrance.  Follow the track for twenty yards but look for a path on the right in the hedge.  Take this  path, which can be a little overgrown, and come out a few yards later in an open grassy field.  There is a line of short posts across the field which provides quite a good guide for our route.  Follow them for 200 yards across the field until you see a gate in a hedge at the far end of the field.  Go through the gate onto a small lane (Pollard’s Lane).  Again the gate comes straight onto the lane so take care, although this is even less busy than Crink Lane.

Turn right along the lane . The road runs relatively straight for four hundred yards and the surface becomes shale.   Follow it past some houses on the right.  On the left you will be able to have your first view of the Trent Valley and if you are doing the full Mansfield to Newark walk the first thoughts of the final destination.   Then there is a sharp bend to the left and another soon after to the right before another straight section for 200 yards past a few houses on the right.  Another very sharp bend to the left is followed by a right turn 200 yards later as the lane follows the edges of the fields.  One hundred yards after this right turn look on the left of the lane for a footpath sign and a rather large lump of concrete by the field entrance.

Turn left to go into the field and walk straight ahead down the hill.  The field is a large one used for growing crops but the bridleway we are following is a wide one and there should be no difficulty with the path being overgrown.  After 400 yards at the end of the field turn left and cross a small bridge.  The path then almost immediately turns right.  In the field you have now reached go down the hill for 200 yards until you reach the bottom of the hill.  Turn right alongside the hedge and after thirty yards turn left at a bridge which crosses a tree-lined stream.

Stream at the bottom of the hill

Stream at the bottom of the hill

Cross the bridge and then immediately start a steady climb along the bridleway going straight ahead up the hill.  After 300 yards you reach the top of the rise.  In fact this is the last climb of any significance if you are going all the way to Newark on my route so it is all downhill from here, almost.  Continue straight ahead as the bridleway becomes a wide track between hedges going downhill.  In a little while the path starts to change from grass to concrete and after a little right bend it becomes a road.  Keep going straight on along the very quiet road for 400 yards and cross the railway at a level crossing.  After this another straight 200 yards a slight right bend takes you into the village of Morton.   As you reach the village the road forms a three-way junction.  Bear left here so that you are still going in almost the same direction that you have followed for the last half mile.

You are now walking down a quiet village street in Morton (Middle Lane) which you should follow for the next 200 yards until you come to the junction with another road.  Turn left here and turn along this road (Main Street).  Soon you pass the Full Moon pub on your left which is a good place for a stop if you feel the need for refreshment.  If you wish to continue you should carry on along the road on the opposite side from the Full Moon.  Fifty yards or so after the pub look for a footpath leaving the road to the right, just before another road and the church ahead of you on the left.

Take the path on the right which starts off between houses but soon leaves them behind and goes alongside a large field at the back of a house.  After 100 yards you reach a small wood where the path turns  for a short way before leaving the wood and emerging at the end of a very large arable field.  Follow the path straight ahead along the edge of the field for over 100 yards and then go through a gap in the hedge to another field and follow the same direction but on the other side of the hedge.  Carry on in this direction through four more small fields encountering the odd quite tall stile.  You will see to the left some houses which are part of the village of Fiskerton.  Leaving the fourth field takes you onto a wide track that comes out onto a road.

Here if you wish you can follow the road to the left which takes you into the centre of Fiskerton but my preference is to take a different route which adds about 400 yards to the journey.   My route turns right along the road for 200 yards where it meets another road coming in from the left.  At this point cross the road you have been walking along and look for a footpath which goes away from the road bearing to the left .  Take this footpath which is quite narrow and largely enclosed by tall hedges and trees which form a sort of tunnel.  The path approaches the backs of houses and starts to bend a little to the right.  About 400 yards from the road you appear to be coming to a dead-end but when you get there you will see a way out to the right which takes you out to an embankment overlooking the river Trent.

The River Trent at Fiskerton looking south

The River Trent at Fiskerton looking south

The Trent at Fiskerton

The Trent at Fiskerton

Go down from the bank to the main path running alongside the river.  Turn left and walk along the path for 200 yards as you reach the houses of Fiskerton and the newly renamed and revamped pub by the river “The Bromley at Fiskerton“.  There is a beer garden by the river which is a great place to sit if the weather is good.  If you are lucky you can see all four of Britain’s  hirundine bird species here (swallow, swift, house martin and sand martin) together with other ducks and gulls.  Carrying on past the Bromley  you will see a few small flights of steps on your left going into gardens.  About 150 yards past the pub one of these flights of steps takes you onto a wide grassy track between houses with a path that you can follow straight on for fifty yards to the road. If you wish to finish your walk here take this route.   You come to the road just at the main T junction in the village.  Carefully cross the road to reach a bus shelter.  The buses from this side of the road go on to Newark.  Almost opposite on the other side of the road is the stop for buses back to Southwell.

My Mansfield to Newark walk continues alongside the river and I will be describing the next stage before too long.

Mansfield to Newark Walk Stage 4: Farnsfield to Southwell

3 Sep

This stage is the continuation of my Mansfield to Newark walk, picking up from Stage 3.  However, it is a nice walk in its own right with a couple of short climbs leading to good views of the local countryside with fields and woods featuring strongly.

Start: The Green, Farnsfield

Finish: Bus stops by Southwell Minster on Church Street.

Distance: 6.3 miles

Starting at the main bus stop in Farnsfield at the Green head along the Main Street towards the centre of the village passing the church on your right after 100 yards.  Carry on along this side of the street for another 200 yards until you reach the end of Tippings Lane where it meets the Main Street.  Cross Tippings Lane so that you are near the entrance to the Co-op but continue along the Main Street.

Continue along the Main Street along the pavement. After 50 yards you will come to Atherley’s bakery. This is very popular with villagers and if you want a snack before or after your walk good quality food can be bought here.

Continue along the pavement past the entrance to the Pot Yard. After 100 yards you reach Quaker Lane. Cross the end of Quaker Lane and walk past the bus stop with The Plough pub on the other side of the road. There is a good size car park at The Plough as well if you wish to start the walk from here. Pass the bottom end of The Ridgeway, also on the opposite side of the road, and walk for another 200 yards and turn into the entrance to Parfitt Drive.

Parfitt Drive is a quite new development of houses with a large grassy area nearby. Walk past the children’s playground and onto the grass. Pass just to the left of a clump of trees and walk straight on until you reach a metal gate (see photo). Go through the gap next to the gate onto a field with the village allotments. Bear slightly to the right until you reach a wooden fence with a gap which enables you to pass through onto a wide track. Walk on this track for thirty yards towards a metal barrier. Just to the left of this barrier is a gap to walk through where a patch of  shale has been added. Recently a wooden fence has been built which requires a jink to the left of five metres or so before you enter onto the Acres.

The Acres is the main football field in Farnsfield with two pitches at right-angles to each other. The nearer pitch isn’t used by the football club. There were swings just to your left as you walk onto the Acres but now only the rubberised surround remains. Walk straight ahead towards a red-brick building which are the changing-rooms for the football club. After 200 yards you are at the far end of the Acres.

Follow the main path almost straight on as it enters an area of woodland. The trees in this plantation were only planted around twenty years ago but have formed a nice little area to walk through. Over the years various other paths have been formed through the trees. these can be explored if you have time. For this walk I am following the widest path which goes almost straight ahead. The path is a good one on short grass passing between the trees with a clearing and bench on the left after one hundred yards. Another hundred yards beyond this the path dips slightly to a ditch and you leave the woodland.

The path enters a field and rises for about two hundred yards. The field can get a little muddy after wet weather but dries quite well, especially when it is breezy as it is quite open. At the top of the field is a bench which you may wish to take advantage of after the short climb. Looking back from the bench you can see the football pitches again.

Where Walk 1 turns right down the track,  this walk continues straight ahead.

Walk straight on by the field edge with a hedge to your left. After 100 yards the hedge ends and the path carries on ahead downhill. It is nearly always well-defined to the bottom of the hollow.  After wet weather it can be a little muddy at the very bottom.  At the bottom you come to a hedge coming in from the right. Go to the left of the end of this hedge and through a gap into the corner of a new field. Our route keeps roughly straight ahead up a steep little hill by a new hedge.  Keep the new hedge, mainly of trees, to your left and follow the field edge up this sharp rise for 200 yards.

Back towards Farnsfield from the top of the hill

At the top of the climb you come to a fence with a stile by another hedge. Nowadays there is a gap by the stile so there is no need to climb the stile itself.  Go through this gap and turn immediately right with the hedge now on your right.  After 50 yards you reach the corner of the field and must turn left going slightly uphill.  After 30 yards you reach the top of the hill. You can see back the way you came all the way to Farnsfield. Ahead of you are views to another ridge and to the east are extensive views towards Newark. On a clear day you can see for miles. To the west you can see Combs Wood along the hill.

Towards Greaves Lane from the top of  the hill

From the top of the hill go quite steeply downhill along the field edge with the hedge to your right.  The field may have crops in it and if you stick to the very edge of the field the ground is slightly uneven in places. The field and path can get a little muddy but is generally not bad.  After 300 yards you reach the bottom of the hill. Look for one of the gaps in the hedge on the right and go through to the other side of the hedge.  Now with the hedge on your left walk for fifty yards until you reach a stream in a ditch. Turn right here along the edge of the field for fifty yards. The ground here can be wet so you may have to look for  a drier line just in from the field edge.  You come to the end of a farm track on your left leading to a wooden gate. Follow this track over the stream to the gate 80 yards away. Occasionally the gate is open but if it isn’t go to the right of the gate and climb over a stile to reach a road (Greaves Lane) opposite a farm.

Looking back up the hill from near Greaves Lane

On reaching the lane turn left and then almost immediately right across the lane to the drive of the house opposite.  After ten yards look for a footpath gate on the left and go through it onto a grassy area.  Turn right to go up the hill with a field on your left and the house and outbuildings on your right. The grassy path rises straight up for 150 yards to the end of the field and then turns sharply left to go into a strip of trees.  The path here goes uphill along a sunken path between two banks.  Follow this path for 200 yards until you reach a gate. At the side of the gate is a narrow gap with a metal piece which can be lifted up to pass through, which I find slightly quicker than using the gate.  Just after the gate look to your left for a gap in the hedge. If you go through you will find an information board about the Robin Hood Way (this path is an offshoot of the Way) mounted on a large stone plinth.  There is also a bench which you may well want to take advantage of as it gives great views back to Farnsfield over the path you have walked.

Resume our walk by going to the top of the path just a few yards up from the plinth where it joins a farm road  Officially this is Carver’s Hollow although there is no sign to this effect.  Bear left to go straight along the farm road along the ridge with good views to the north.  After 200 yards you meet a wide track coming in from the right.  Turn along this track which approaches a farm after 80 yards or so.  As you get close to the farm the track turns to the left.  Keep following the track, which is these days a good one, almost straight for 400 yards with hedges on either side.  In places on the right you may be able to see through gaps in the hedge where you can see over to the next ridge.  At the end of the track you pass the mound of a small reservoir on the left and reach a farm road.

The road drops quite steeply in both directions but we want to go straight across it and into the field opposite.   Follow the hedge along the top of the ridge for the next 600 yards.  The path isn’t clearly defined but is easy to follow if you just keep the hedge immediately to your right.  It can be slightly uneven in places but is usually pretty reasonable.  The views to the left are good as the field falls away down the slope.

At the end of this long field you go through a kissing gate and into a small copse.  Go down the path through the trees with a hedge on your left.  After 80 yards pass a red brick house on your right and enter an open field with a few trees in it.  Continue straight on down alongside the hedge to the bottom of the field and then turn left to go along a narrow path with a solid wooden fence to your right and a hedge to your left.  After 50 yards the path drops to a concrete bridge over a stream surrounded by trees.  Cross the bridge and go out into a small grassy area near a tennis court.  Go straight across the grass and through a gate onto the drive to the house.  Carry on ahead along the driveway for fifty yards until you reach the road.  This is the main street in Halam (Church Lane).  Turn left and walk along the pavement for 300 yards along the generally quiet road.  On your right you see the village church.  If you wish to finish your walk in Halam carry on for another 200 yards until you reach the main road from Southwell where you can catch buses either onwards to Southwell or back to Farnsfield and beyond. To continue walking to Southwell cross the road and go into the churchyard.

Follow the path straight through the churchyard and out into the field beyond.  Bear to the right uphill aiming for the corner of the field about 300 yards away and a kissing gate.  Go through the gate into a wooded area and go up quite a steep path.  After wet weather this path can be rather slippery.  Follow the path as it continues up the slope and then turns to the right getting a little narrower.  The path then starts to flatten out and after 50 yards you come to a gate at the top of a field.  Don’t go into the field but take a few minutes to look at the view back to where we have walked earlier (pictured here).

Looking West to Halam and our route beyond.

Turn away from the field and go left up into an old orchard now occupied by fruit being grown in polytunnels.  Go straight on through the field keeping the tunnels to your left and tree-lined hedge to your right.  After 200 yards leave the field in the corner and go into a well-manicured area of grass which is actually the large garden of a house.  Keep straight on along the edge of the grass and pass a rather lonely looking bit of fence.  You are now alongside the driveway to the house and should follow the grass next to it all the way to the drive entrance.  This is another part of the walk where the pipe laying work is prominent.

Leave the driveway and go onto a narrow road (Saversick Lane).  Turn right and follow the road for 300 yards until it rises to meet the Oxton-Southwell road.  Go straight across the road, taking care as it can be quite busy with traffic, and then go down a steep slope along the narrow road opposite (Leachcroft Hill).  After 200 yards the road bends sharply to the left and you should follow this turn.  You are now entering the Westhorpe area of Southwell.  After another 100 yards turn right at a road junction.  Follow this lane (The Holme) as it goes slightly uphill and then after a couple of bends past houses downhill to the bottom of a hollow.  Cross the bridge over a stream and immediately after the bridge turn left along a footpath.  At first the path rises to reach a field.  Follow the path straight on alongside the hedge and trees on your left and a large field rising to your right.

Through the trees on your left is a classic example of a dumble, a stream at the bottom of a wooded slope.  This feature gives its name to a nearby pub.  If you want to have a look at the dumble take the steps down from the path you are on when another footpath crosses it after 200 yards.  Otherwise carry on roughly straight on along the bottom of the field for 400 yards until you come to what appears at first sight to be a dead-end at a hedge at the end of the field.  On closer inspection you will see a gap in the hedge in the corner which you should go through to reach a very nice tree covered path alongside the stream (Potwell Dyke).  The path can be a little slippery after rain so take care.

After 200 yards you arrive at a quiet residential street (Halloughton Road).  Cross the road and turn right up a small rise for fifty yards.  Look for a footpath signpost pointing to the left and follow that between houses.  As you approach the houses you may again think you have reached a dead-end but on the right you will see where the path picks up.  Follow the narrow path as it meanders around the houses.  However, you can’t really go wrong as there are no alternative for 300 yards.  Immediately after a churchyard on your left you enter a large field.  There are a few paths running across this field but you should take the one going just right of straight ahead which after 100 yards arrives at the busy Nottingham Road.  Use the crossing to reach the other side and turn left to follow the path and pavement taking you to the road entrance to the Minster School and Southwell Leisure centre.  Cross the road leading to the car park to reach the wide pedestrianised path by the bridge over the stream.

Turn right here and go towards the large building at the end of the path.  Just before the entrance turn left along a narrower hard pathway.  This path takes you past sports pitches on your right.  After 200 yards look for a path down to the left which takes you to a small bridge over a stream,The Potwell Dyke again.  Looking at the stream it is hard to believe this caused widespread flooding in July 2013 after a torrential downpour.  Cross the bridge to enter a park area next to an adventure playground.  Go past the playground and aim for the far corner of the park to the left of the buildings, bowling green and tennis courts at the other end of the park.

Southwell Minster

Southwell Minster

DSCF0738

As you get to the far corner of the park you come to a nice avenue of lime trees and will see some stone arches marking the War Memorial.  Go through these and carry straight on along a short section of road and then along a path past houses on your left and into the grounds of Southwell Minster.  Fifty yards further on turn right towards the main entrance of the Minster.  If you have never been to the Minster before you really should take this opportunity to go inside and look round.  If you don’t wish to go inside then walk along the path  around the outside of the minster, turning right and then take the first path on the left which takes you out onto Church Street where the main bus stop is very close.  This side of the road is for buses to Mansfield and over the road you can go to Newark.

Alternatively, if you have the energy you could walk back to Farnsfield either along the disused railway line or by using my walk along the River Greet (walk 6).  To reach the start of either of these you should go from the bus stops to the main junction in Southwell just up Church Street.  There turn right up King Street and carry on up the hill and then down the hill along the Burgage.  At the bottom of the Burgage cross the main road and carry straight on down Station Road until you reach the start of my walks just after the Final Whistle pub on the left.  This is a link of a little over quarter of a mile.

If you are attempting my Mansfield to Newark walk you are now over halfway.  If doing it over two days Southwell makes a convenient stopping point as it is the largest place between Mansfield and Newark with many amenities including restaurants, pubs, shops and even accommodation should you require it.

Mansfield to Newark Walk Stage 3: Blidworth to Farnsfield

8 Aug

Stage 3 of my Mansfield to Newark walk, continuing from Stage 2

Start: Centre of Blidworth

Finish: The Green, Farnsfield

Distance: 3.9 miles

Note: This is my earlier Walk 13 done in the reverse direction.

Start from the bus stop near the main junction in the centre of Blidworth next to the Tesco store (on the site of the former Forest Folk pub).  Go past Tesco and turn left along Dale Lane (the wide flat road running east)  and follow the road for 800 yards, walking along the pavement on the left hand side. While walking along Dale Lane you will cross several side roads and will notice bus stops at regular intervals. There are regular buses from Mansfield and hourly buses that go on to Farnsfield and Newark.

Path through the trees near BlidworthPath through woods near Blidworth

As you reach the end of the village immediately after the last house on the left side of the road take a footpath going into the wood. The path through the trees is a pleasant one. Follow the most obvious path through the wood which bears slightly to the left and winds it way through the pine trees. The path is a good one but keep your eyes open for the odd tree root which reaches the path. The path turns a little to the right after two hundred yards and after another hundred yards takes you back out to the edge of the wood near the site of the former Jolly Friar pub, now demolished.  At this point turn left. You can either follow the narrow path along the edge of the wood or move ten yards further out to follow a broad grassy ride which runs parallel to the edge of the wood. After two hundred yards you reach a track coming across you. Turn right along this track downhill for fifty yards and then turn left keeping to the wide track.

Path near Blidworth WoodsPath near Blidworth Woods

After 100 yards leave the main track and take an grassy track to the left running almost parallel to the main one straight ahead.  The grassy track runs straight between a tall hedge on the left and trees on the right which become more dense.  After 300 yards you reach the end of this path and it appears initially that you have reached a dead end.  If you look to the left here you will see a gap and a wood plank forming a  “bridge” over a ditch.  Cross the plank and enter a field.

Turn right and follow the field edge.  If you can, follow the path along the grassy bank on the edge of the field.  Occasionally this path can be a little overgrown or uneven and you may have to resort to walking along the edge of the the field itself.  After 300 yards you come to a wide farm track.  Cross this and go a few yards to the right.  Go over a stile by a gate and down into a field. The path across this field is usually quite easy to follow.  Go almost straight ahead aiming for the telegraph pole in the middle of the field.  Carry on past the telegraph pole until you reach the end of the field and the signpost pictured below.

Field on the way to BlidworthField on the way to Blidworth

Go slightly up a bank through a gap in the hedge to leave the field and enter another.  Go straight on following the edge of the field alongside the hedge.  The path may be a little uneven and if necessary you may have to go onto the field itself which often has quite a wide margin free of crops.  Go all the way to the end of this field around 300 yards away and continue into the next field.  As you go you will see over the hedge to the left a caravan park.  As you reach the end of the second field you pass a small concrete shed just before a wide farm track.  On the other side of the track is a long hedge going up an incline ahead.  Go just to the right of this hedge and follow the edge of the field alongside the hedge up the hill.  Again the path can be a little uneven and the grass slightly longer than you would want but it isn’t a great problem.

Just beyond the top of the rise you come to another farm track.  Turn left along this track which after fifty yards bends sharply to the right and downhill.  Follow the track next to a hedge on your left for 200 yards down the hill and then 200 more yards up again.  At the top you reach a stile which you can now go around.  You approach the gate to a house ahead but you should bear slightly left so that you go across a track and around the property keeping a fence immediately to your right.  You will probably by now hear the roar of the traffic from the A614 which is now just ahead.  As you come to a large hedge just before the A614 look for a narrow gap to the right where there is a small metal stile.  Climb this and go to the verge of the A614.

We need to cross this road but this is a bad place to do so.  The traffic is frequent and fast and partly obscured by a bend when crossing from this side. You can cross here but the best thing to do is to go downhill to the left towards the roundabout and cross at the island just before it.  This takes you to the edge of the car park for the White Post Inn where you may wish to stop for food and drink.  Turn back up the hill for 100 yards until you are opposite the point where you emerged on the other side of the road.  Go into the field on your left either by using the stile or a gap in the hedge about ten yards before it.  The path isn’t very clear in this field but you should follow the edge of the field going away from the A614 keeping a hedge just to your left.

Looking back towards Farnsfield from fields going towards the A614.Looking to Farnsfield from near the A614. 

At the end of this field the path becomes a bit more obvious although occasionally crops and ploughing may slightly affect it.  Aim slightly to the right across the next field where you should see a gap in the hedge at the far side of the field.  Go through the hedge and follow the path through another four quite narrow fields in each case bearing slightly to the right.  You then come to a hedge and bank where you must climb steps up to reach the next field. In the previous fields you have been crossing in the middle of long fields but now you follow the hedge at the field edge.  After 300 yards you reach the end of this field and pass under a tree in the corner which brings you into a very large field extending from the road a few hundred yards away on your left to well past you on the right.  Cross the field straight on along an obvious path aiming for the hedge 400 yards ahead of you.  You are at the highest point of the field looking left across to the road which runs from the White Post to Farnsfield.

As you reach the hedge at the far side of the field go just to left of it and follow it as far as a kissing gate.  The field becomes more enclosed and as you go through the gate you come to a nice small, grassy field between hedges.  Continue alongside the hedge through another gate into another shady field where a bench awaits if you wish to rest.  The way continues straight on along the wide track between hedges and gradually becomes a lane (Vicarage Lane).  300 yards from the bench you come to a road at an extremely sharp bend.  If you wish you may continue straight on downhill along the road which after a left turn at the bottom of the hill takes you into Farnsfield at The Green, the main bus stop in the village, which is on your right with “The Lion” pub just ahead.  However, there is no pavement or footway for the 200 yards down the hill and the road does have some traffic.  My choice here would be to add a few minutes to your walk by going through the gate into the field on the left at the end of Vicarage Lane.

The field is a pleasant grassy one, often occupied by sheep or horses.  Aim straight ahead from the gate going down quite a sharp slope to the bottom of the field before a small upslope to a gate at the far end.  This brings you out beside the Mansfield road next to a bus stop, from where you can catch a bus back to Blidworth, Rainworth and Mansfield.  If you want to finish this walk at the main stop in the village, The Green, turn right from the field and walk along the pavement for 150 yards until you reach The Green where a tree stands in the middle of an island between three roads.  The main bus stop is on your right over the road past the tree.  Alternatively you may wish to stop for refreshment at The Lion pub on the other side of the main road.

Mansfield to Newark Walk Stage 2: Rainworth to Blidworth

8 Jul

Rainworth to Blidworth

Distance: 3.5 miles

This is the second stage of my Mansfield to Newark walk and continues from Stage 1: Mansfield to Rainworth.  It follows the route I took from Rainworth to Blidworth in walk 15 so I am not counting this as a new walk.

Start: The bus stop in the centre of Rainworth near the main junction of roads where there is a Tesco store.

On the Co-op side of Southwell Road walk away from the junction towards Mansfield.  After 100 yards cross a road on the left  (Lake Farm Road) and continue on the main road going slightly uphill.  After 100 yards turn left along a footpath.  This is almost opposite the end of Churchill Drive on the other side of the main road, which you walked along if you did Stage 1.  After 50 yards you reach a quiet metalled road alongside a wood.  This runs straight for around 200 yards until it enters the car park of an angling club.  Go into the car park which is next to a large angling lake.

Rainworth Water Angling Lake

Leave the car park by going left alongside the lake under the trees.  You are likely to pass a few anglers as you walk past the ponds so take care not to get caught by a fish hook as they cast their lines.  After 100 yards you leave the trees and cross a stream over a little footbridge.  The stream, Rainworth Water,  goes all the way to Rufford Lake eventually.  After the footbridge turn right along the path near the lake.  From here you can see that the lake is quite extensive.  After 300 yards you come to another area of woodland and the end of the main lake of the fishery.  Turn right at the end of the lake and walk along the path between the main lake and another smaller lake on your left.  After 100 yards this path leaves the fishery and enters a field.  Turn left and walk beside a hedge with the small fishery lake now on the other side of the hedge.

After 200 yards you reach a long straight road.  The road is a little busier than you might expect and the traffic can be quite fast so take care when crossing.  Almost directly opposite is the next footpath.  Go away from the road through a little patch of trees and then join a path at the edge a large field.  Go straight along the edge of the field away from the road.  This path runs uninterrupted for almost half a mile.  On your right all this time is a field with a slope that gradually increases and a view of  wind turbines while on your left is woodland and, at the right time of year, some nice flowers.  The path is generally a good one although after rainy periods in places can get a bit wet.  In any case you should be able to find a route past the worst of it.  You may come across interesting wildlife along here.  I once saw a stoat not far from the road.

  

After 300 yards you leave the trees and bushes behind. Half a mile from the road look for a path coming down the hill from the right and a waymark indicating a turn to the left.  Here we join the Robin Hood Way for a short while.  Go into the woodland on the left and cross a small bridge over a stream.  Leave the woodland going uphill through a gate onto a wide track.  After 100 yards 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.

At this point the Robin Hood Way goes down the road and along a track into Blidworth.  The way is quite easy to follow and is an alternative route into Blidworth. 

For my route almost immediately opposite you will see a footpath signpost.  Cross the road and follow the sign along the wide track ahead.  This goes slightly downhill on a good track with a line of grass in the centre.  After 300 yards the path gets  quite narrow.  Take a little care not to get scratched by the hawthorn next to the path.  At the end of the path go through a metal kissing gate into a field and bear right uphill towards another kissing gate at the other side of the field about 100 yards away.  Go through this second kissing gate and then a third at the end of the next field, again bearing right and uphill.  Once through the third gate you are in an open field much larger than the previous ones and quite high up.  My recent walk through here in early April coincided with the  lapwing breeding season and they were rather animated as I walked along the path near to their territory.  Try to pass through quickly if there are nesting birds in order to keep any disturbance to a  minimum.  This field is as high as the path gets and there are decent views.

The small pond

The small pond

After 300 yards you leave this rather bare field past a small pond and enter a smaller field next to a much larger pond.  This pond is home to geese, ducks,  moorhen and coot.  Keep going straight on leaving the pond behind and descending into a pleasant valley with grassy fields rising to your right.  Keep straight on along the valley initially in the field and then along a narrower path.  A footpath comes in from the left but ignore that and continue straight on until you reach the corner of a wood.  Follow the path straight on at the bottom of the wood for 200 yards until you reach a crossroads of paths at the end of the wood.

Valley on the way to Blidworth

Valley on the way to Blidworth

There are various options that take you into Blidworth from here.  On this walk we turn left to follow the side of the wood going uphill for 200 yards.  At the top of the path you reach a road.  There is also a bench for anyone wanting a rest.  Turn right along the road and follow it for 500 yards as it enters Blidworth.  Keep going along the road all the way until you come to the main road in Blidworth.

There are plenty of shops here and the main bus stop is just down the hill at the junction near a garage.  To catch the bus to Rainworth and Mansfield stay on this side of the main road.  If you want to catch a bus to Farnsfield and beyond or want to continue the Mansfield to Newark walk cross the main road here and turn down the hill to reach the junction.

I will publish the directions for Stage 3 soon but the route is simply the reverse of my Walk 13 from Farnsfield to Blidworth.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 17: Mansfield to Rainworth

8 Jun

 

This walk is the first in a series that I will be writing which when linked together form a continuous walk from Mansfield to Newark.  In total the walk is around thirty miles long and each stage will be three to six miles.  The route will roughly follow the number 28 bus route from Mansfield to Newark which means that if you want to break the walk into smaller stages you can easily return to your start point using public transport.  The 28 bus runs hourly through the day although nowadays the last bus is rather early at somewhere between 7 and 8 in the evening.  I decided to start in Mansfield as finishing in Newark makes a fitting end to the walk boasting a fine market place and castle grounds.

Stage One of this walk is mainly along cycle paths which take you out of Mansfield avoiding too much walking in built-up areas and taking in some features which may surprise you. It takes you from the centre of Mansfield to Rainworth, the next village on the 28 bus route heading east towards Newark.

Start: Mansfield Market Place

Finish: Centre of Rainworth

Distance: 4.2 miles

I think it’s a nice idea to start and finish the Mansfield to Newark walk in the town’s respective market places.  Mansfield’s may not be a large as Newark’s, but then few in England are.  However, it is still a very decent-sized area with the most notable feature being the Bentinck Memorial.  This, rocket-shaped monument commemorates Lord George Bentinck, the son of the Duke of Portland, and was built in 1849.  To start the walk stand with your back to the Memorial and town hall facing north towards the larger part of the market square, which may be occupied by market stalls.   Walk to the right hand corner of the square towards a group of large concrete spheres.  As you reach these spheres turn right along Church Street and go under the impressive viaduct which now carries the Robin Hood Line trains.

Once you have passed under the viaduct carry straight on downhill on the left hand side of Church Street.  After 150 yards you arrive at a statue of a man holding back a metal structure.  This is  “The Amphiteatre” by David Annand, which also bears a poem of the same name by Kevin Fegan.  Cross the road immediately after the statue to reach the pavement next to the church of  St.Peter and St.Paul.   Turn right to go up the hill along the pavement past the church.  Where the main road turns sharply right you carry straight on along the pavement for another hundred yards until you reach an underpass.  Go through the underpass and emerge at the end of Church Lane.

Carry straight on along the left hand pavement keeping to this road as it crosses another road.  Pass the Discovery science centre building on the left and the road starts to rise slightly.  You pass the site of the old Mansfield brewery on the left and then cross the wide Great Central Road, taking care as it can be busy.  Keep straight on along our road (Littleworth) and cross four smaller roads leading to terraced houses.  Immediately after crossing the fifth road (Fisher Lane) look for a gap on the left where there is a cycle path and a sign on the ground for the Timberland Trail.  Turn left along the cycle track which initially runs almost parallel to Fisher Lane with plenty of vegetation to the side of you. After 200 yards you go up quite a steep incline as you reach Fisher Lane Park, a large open area of grass.  Follow the cycle track up the hill then along a flat section before another sharp climb out of the park up to a road (Windsor Road).

Cross the road and go just to the right where you again pick up the cycle track going away from the road.  Go down a short but steep slope  before the path flattens out.  Here the cycle track is surrounded by a quite dense area of plants although the path itself is clear of them.  Follow the track for 400 yards until you come to a group of tall trees on the right of the path which make the path sheltered and quite dark.  After 150 yards you drop down a small slope and come to the busy Southwell Road.  Cross the road using the island in the middle and go straight on to reach Selwyn Street.  Go along Selwyn Street to the end where for a moment it appears you are reaching a dead-end until on the right you can see that the cycle track resumes.

Follow the cycle track past the end of the Racecourse recreation ground with trees on either side of you.  Pass the entrance to the Recreation Ground where the we leave the Timberland Trail. However, now we are on the  Mansfield Way.  Follow the cycle path uphill and before long you come to a road (Little Barn Lane).  Cross the road and continue along the cycle track just to the right.  The track soon reaches a quiet road (Earlswood Drive) which you carry on along until you reach another wide road (Big Barn Lane).  Go straight across and again just to the right to reach the cycle track on the other side with various paths and Ways being indicated on the signpost.  Carry straight on along the track passing behind houses and a school.  Just after you pass the school you start to enter a more interesting area of sandstone.  You pass through an area of small sandstone cliffs adorned with graffiti names carved into the rock.

 

Sandstone cliffs

This is a rather attractive landscape somewhat out of keeping with the large residential area immediately around it.   At the end the cycle track climbs up to arrive at Oak Tree Lane, a very busy road with fast-moving vehicles in both directions.  Fortunately there is an island which you should use to cross to the other side of the road.  From there carry on along the cycle track down from the road and follow that.  A little way along the track you come to the first slightly tricky route-finding of the walk where the path splits into three.  At this point take the middle path.  By now you are reaching the end of Mansfield itself and things start to become more rural.  You come to another small valley with sandstone to the side of you.  The track rises out of this valley up to a crossing which leads and is signed for Ransomwood industrial park.  Cross over the road and continue along the track which is now slightly rougher.  One of the features that you will have noticed is the large number of yellow flowers by the path.  These have mainly been broom plants but now these are joined by more and more gorse bushes with their yellow flowers.  The soil here is sandy and the surroundings are more heath-like.  After 300 yards you cross another tree-lined road.  This was the old entrance to Ransomwood.

Old entrance to Ransomwood

Cross the road and go down a small slope along the cycle track with gorse on either side.  After another 200 yards you emerge at the roundabout for the Rainworth by-pass.   Take great care crossing here as vehicles come at quite a speed.  There is a proper crossing which you take to the central island and then over to the other side of the by-pass.  Take the cycle track straight ahead of you which goes up a small bank.  Follow the track straight on as it undulates slightly and makes its way towards the back of the first houses of Rainworth.  the path here is narrower than earlier in the walk and is unmetalled.  The view to the left opens up to reveal fields and beyond them a large area of  woodland.

The track has been dead-straight but now you take a slight leftward kink and climb up to cross a road (Helmsley Road).  On the other side of the road go back down a path to rejoin the line of the track from before.  Before long dwellings start to appear on your left-hand side and you pass a park on the right.  Not long after this the view in front of and below you opens up and you can see much of Rainworth ahead of you.  At this point the path starts to peter out as you reach a sandy area.  Go down a steep little slope to a quiet road and turn right along the road.  This soon comes out on the main road through Rainworth.  Cross the road.  just to your right on the other side you will see a footpath sign.  if you wish to continue onto Stage 2 of the walk to Blidworth take this path and follow the route I described in Walk 15. If you wish to finish in Rainworth turn left down the hill and go to the junction at the bottom.  A bus shelter there is where you can catch a bus back to Mansfield.