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The Nottinghamshire Way – An Unofficial Long-Distance Walk Around the County

31 Dec

As I have now done fifty Walks in Central Nottinghamshire much of the area has been covered and I wanted to try something a little different.

For years I have thought about devising a long-distance footpath around Nottinghamshire taking in as many of the most interesting parts of the county as I could while avoiding too many loops and spurs.

There are already several trails in Notts, most notably the Robin Hood Way and the Trent Valley Way, which cover some of the sights. My route uses parts of these trails which are usually well signposted and waymarked. It also links with other shorter trails and paths to visit areas I think worth seeing.

As I thought about the idea of my route I set myself some ground rules that as far as possible I would stick to:

 

It will be a circular walk starting and finishing in the centre of Nottingham.

Try to visit all the major towns in the county and as many notable places of interest as possible including the highest point in Nottinghamshire.

Divide the route into sections of a maximum of around ten miles so that anyone doing the Way can break it up easily into shorter walks.

Each section will start and finish somewhere accessible for public transport.

Try to avoid walking along roads, especially busy roads, as much as possible.

Try and link with the various trails and paths in the County to give a taste of them for walkers interested in those.

 

Bearing these points in mind I came up with a route divided into eighteen stages, which are:-

1. Nottingham to Beeston via Attenborough

2. Beeston to Kimberley

3. Kimberley to Hucknall

4. Hucknall to Mansfield

5. Mansfield to Sutton-in-Ashfield

6. Sutton-in-Ashfield to Mansfield Woodhouse via Silverhill Wood (the highest point in Nottinghamshire)

7. Mansfield Woodhouse to Edwinstowe

8. Edwinstowe to Creswell Crags

9. Creswell Crags to Worksop

10. Worksop to Retford

11.  Retford to Tuxford

12. Tuxford to Newark

13. Newark to Southwell

14. Southwell to Lowdham

15.Lowdham to Radcliffe on Trent

16.Radcliffe on Trent to West Bridgford

17.West Bridgford to Keyworth

18.Keyworth to Nottingham

 

There are a few loops in this which take you back close to other parts of the route, which can be annoying, but this may be useful in some cases for doing shorter circular walks.

I reckon that the total distance would be around 160 miles or 250 kilometres although I haven’t calculated this accurately yet.

I have done some sections in the past and will publish guides to the various stages with maps and directions.   My plan is to do the rest of the walk over the next year and write guides to those as and when I do them.  The route isn’t set in stone and if anyone reading this thinks that they know a better way than mine in a certain area then please let me know.  I don’t know all parts of the county that well and my choices of path may not all be the best ones.

For more details, photos and descriptions of the route follow this link to The Nottinghamshire Way for my blog or this one for The Nottinghamshire Way Facebook Page

This does mean that I will be spending less time on my Walks in Central Nottinghamshire blog than previously but I will still try to add more walks when I can.

Thanks for reading my posts on this blog and I hope you will continue to enjoy these walks.

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.