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Walking The Trent Valley Way: Rolleston to Newark

26 Jul

The Trent Valley Way is the second-most well-known walking route in Nottinghamshire (after the Robin Hood Way). Only part of the Way is in Nottinghamshire as the walk extends to where the Trent flows into the Humber in Lincolnshire (around eighty miles in total). It is hoped eventually to cover most of the length of the river Trent from its source in Staffordshire. The Way doesn’t always follow the river exactly and indeed the section I describe here goes a couple of miles away from the Trent. If you are doing the whole Trent Valley Way it must make a bit of a change from the riverbank. The Trent Valley Way is generally quite well signed and you should look for way marks with a wavy blue line.

The start and finish points here are connected by bus and train routes which is always a consideration if doing point-to-point walks. I’m describing the walk in this direction as it seems to be traditional to do river walks heading downstream, (although I did the Thames Path going upstream).

Start: Rolleston Village. There is a bus every two hours to Newark and a regular rail service.

Finish: Newark. The Trent Valley Way only goes into Newark as far as the river near the castle but it’s only a short walk to the centre of Newark.

Distance: 12.4 km (7.7 miles)

Map of the Route

The centre of the village of Rolleston is near the Dapper Spaniel pub. For the start of the walk you want to be on the opposite side of the main road through the vilage. The Trent Valley Way leaves Rolleston heading towards the church and Southwell racecourse along a quiet road (Station Road) leaving the main road by a sharp bend. Go past the church and just after that as the road turns sharply to the left, look to the right where there is an open area of ground and a track going away from the road.  Turn off the road here.

Go straight across this area and then follow the track as it goes to the right.  You arrive at a railway crossing which you should cross with care.  You will see a small waymark with a wavy  arrow on it which indicates that you are on the Trent Valley Way.  After the crossing carry on along the metalled narrow road for about fifty yards.  Almost immediately after a bend to the right look for a footpath sign pointing left at some buildings.  Go left here between the buildings and then bear right onto a golf course.

Tree line on the golf course

You go onto the course at the back of a green and should go left up the bank behind the green.  This takes you to the top of the bank with the golf course on your right and a dyke containing the River Greet to your left.   Turn right here to follow the bank.  You can’t go wrong here as you are between the dyke and course for 300 yards, though you should keep an eye out for any errant gold balls flying in your direction.  Shortly after going past a short, attractive line of trees on the course running parallel to the bank the dyke bends to the right and you should do the same. Go behind a green for twenty yards where you reach a concrete crossing over the dyke on the left.  Cross that to leave the course and enter a large arable field.  There is a path going straight on here which takes you back towards the earlier part of the walk but ignore that and instead turn left to follow the grassy edge of the field.  This follows the river, now on your left.  After 200 yards you reach a footpath signpost.  Here you turn right away from the dyke to cross the field at its narrow point for fifty yards towards a hedge line.

At this hedge and line of trees you should go to the right of the hedge and follow it for 200 yards with a large field on your right.  As you reach the first large gap in the hedge after 200 yards look for a metal kissing gate in the next hedge ahead on the left.  Go through this gate into a smaller, more enclosed field than many of the surrounding ones.  Bear left diagonally across the field towards the line of trees.  As you near the far side of the field  after 150 yards you will see a post with a yellow top.  Leave the field there and go out onto a wide track under the trees.  This is the track that featured in Walk 26 .  Turn left here to walk along the track.

Almost immediately after this look for a footpath on the right.   This is the path we came along earlier and now we retrace our steps.  Turn right along this path which runs along a field edge towards the church tower at the top of the hill.  After 300 yards the edge of the field starts to turn right.  As it does so our route goes almost straight on towards the church.  We enter another field and make our way uphill aiming directly for the church.  After 200 yards go through a gate into the churchyard.  Go towards the main door of the church and from there a short way forward onto the main path in the churchyard.  Turn left along this path and out of the churchyard through a gate.  Carry straight on along a narrow path over some flagstones and keep going for 100 yards along the cul-de-sac of Church Walk until you meet the main road in Upton.  If you want to visit the Horological Institute then cross the road, carefully.  Alternatively, if you wish to visit the Cross Keys pub turn left for 200 yards along the pavement to reach the pub.

To continue along the Trent Valley Way turn right around the path on the inside of the sharp bend in the middle of the village.  This goes under a group of apple trees.  The people of Upton don’t appear to be very keen on apples as when I did this walk there were dozens of nice looking red ones lying on the ground underneath.

Continue along the pavement for 300 yards to the end of the village and carry on on this side of the road taking care as you now only have a grass verge to walk on. After another 300 yards out of the village look for a footpath sign on the other side of the road in the hedge and cross to join it. Go through the hedge into a large arable field and bear right towards a sizeable hill not far away. The path goes downhill for 200 yards to a gap in the trees where you cross a stream and go into another field. Start to climb the hill, Micklebarrow Hill, and after 400 yards reach the top of this large field. The hill gets steeper as you go through a grassy field and a kissing gate. This is one of the best places to stop and take in the view. Micklebarrow Hill is the highest point for a long way looking south and east. There are excellent views of the Trent Valley and towards Newark where the spire of the church near the market square can clearly be seen.

View north from Micklebarrow Hill
View from Micklebarrow Hill towards the Trent Valley

Bear slightly left across a grassy field for 200 yards until you come to a which you go through into another grassy field and carry almost straight on across it. You may notice a kind of pathway ahead which is clear of the clumps of nettles elsewhere in the field. On your right is a house. Go over a stile and follow a barbed wire fence along the top of the slope for a short way. The official route takes you down from the barbed wire fence near a small dead tree and you should try to go down the hill here. However, you may find bits of fencing mean you end up slightly further along the fence at the top of the hill but don’t worry. When you can go steeply down the hill to your left for 200 yards and find your way to the bottom hedge and a footpath going through it via a wooden kissing-gate to reach the A617.
Cross the road very carefully because not far to the right is a very sharp bend and on your left the trees may obscure your view a little. On the other side of the road go down some steps to the bottom of a field.

Go uphill for 300 yards with a hedge on your right. You reach a junction of paths where you turn right and after 150m make a sharp turn to the left until reaching a metal gate. Follow the field edge for 250 yards and go through another metal kissing gate into a large field. Turn right and go uphill for 250m to the field corner then turn left along the field edge. Enter a smaller field and follow the path next to the tree line on your right for 150 yards.

You reach a quiet road and turn right downhill past houses to reach a stables area and the main farm complex of Averham Park stables. Turn left to cross a farm road and a crossing over horse racing gallops. There are large signs warning you about the gallops. It is unlikely the gallops will be in use except early in the morning but stay alert. On the other side of the gallops go straight on through an arable field until you reach another part of the gallops. Cross this and immediately go down steps into a small hollow under some trees and straight up again out of the hollow up more steps. Go through a gap in the hedge and across a quiet road onto a track by fields opposite.

Go straight on for 100m then turn left uphill on a wide track for another 100 yards. Turn right along another track for 200 yards until you reach a gap in a hedge with a yellow-topped post and footpath signs on it. Go through the gap into a field and turn right along the field edge for 100 yards. The path descends and bends to the left. Continue along the field edge downhill and shortly go through a wooden gate on the right into another field. From here you can see Micklebarrow Hill and the Trent Valley.

View towards the Trent Valley from the top of the hill

Go down quite a steep hill for 400 yards in a grassy field with a hedge just to your left. At the bottom when I last went this way was the wire of an electric fence, which was unwelcome, but could be ducked under easily. Hopefully this won’t be there now. Turn right along the bottom of the field with a wood to your left for 100 yards. Go left over a small bridge slightly downhill into another field. Go left just below the wood at the edge of the field for 150 yards and then through a gate. Turn right along a path in a new field, going away from the wood. After 300 yards go through a gap in the hedge into another field. Follow a path around to the left for 250 yards along the field edge, ignoring the footbridge on your right. The path bends more sharply to the left. Keep the hedge on your right as you carry on along the track which bends slightly to the left again. Continue straight on for 500 yards alongside a field on a farm track aiming towards houses. This becomes a narrower path as you reach the houses and come to a quiet road in the village of Kelham. Turn right until reaching the main road where you turn left.

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 Rolleston 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 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.

Newark Castle

Advice For Seasonal Walks in Nottinghamshire in Soggy Conditions

24 Dec

One of the most popular activities in the Christmas holidays is to go for a walk to burn off the calories accumulated during the festivities. However, the weather in Nottinghamshire in the last few months has been so wet that many of the walks in my blog have been affected. Most of the walks have sections in fields or on grassy paths that are now either muddy or under standing water. They are still possible for those who are determined and have good footwear but sliding around with wet feet isn’t pleasant for anyone just wanting a nice walk in the country.

I thought that it would be a good idea to highlight some of my walks that I think should be relatively unaffected by the recent downpours as they mostly stay on good firm tracks.

Walk 12:Haywood Oaks and Blidworth

Walk 17: Mansfield to Rainworth

Walk 30: Edwinstowe, the Major Oak and the River Maun

Walk 39: Blidworth Wood

Walk 42: Newark, Queens Sconce and Newark Castle

Walk 43 – Tracks around Boundary Wood near Blidworth and Rainworth

Walk 48: Newstead Abbey, Papplewick and Linby

Walk 52 Sherwood Pines and Vicar Water

Walk 53 – Newstead Abbey, Nomanshill Wood and Harlow Wood, Ravenshead

Walk 54 Clipstone and the River Maun

Walk 56: Hazel Gap and the Thynghowe Trail in Sherwood Forest

Walk 57: Ollerton, Boughton Brake and the River Maun

Walk 58 – Farndon and the River Trent

Walk 59: Rainworth and Strawberry Hill

 

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 42: Newark, Queens Sconce and Newark Castle

29 Jan

This is a walk that is perhaps stretching the definition of Central Nottinghamshire a little but it connects with another of my walks, Walk 23, and is quite a good one for winter when other walks can be a little muddy.  It visits some interesting parts of Newark on roads and good paths which are fine to walk on in all conditions.  It’s a walk I like to do if I have a spare hour when I’m in Newark.

Start: Newark Market Place

Distance: 2.8 miles

Map of Walk Route

Newark is a local transport hub with good connection across Nottinghamshire to Mansfield and Nottingham by bus and further afield by train.

From the market place in the centre of Newark, one of the largest and finest in England, you will see the church of St. Mary Magdalene towering over one side.  Turn so that the church is on your left with the town hall behind you and leave the market place by the wide road in the middle ahead of you.  After fifty yards on this pedestrianised road you reach a junction.  Turn right here and walk along this road, also pedestrianised, (Carter Gate) for 200 yards until you reach a busy crossroads.  Here go to the left hand side of Carter Gate and use the crossing to go across the road (London Road) to the other side of the crossroads.  Walk along the pavement going straight on from the crossroads along the road ahead (Portland Street) in almost the same direction as Carter Gate.

After 100 yards cross a road coming off the main road (Albert Street) so that you stay walking along Portland Street.  Continue along the street, which becomes Victoria Street, for half a mile going past a Co-op store and over a few minor roads.  The road is quite busy but there is pavement all the way.  Eventually you see the Spring House pub on the other side of the road, which is now Farndon Road.  Stay on the same side of the main road but cross Boundary Road coming in from the left.  As you come level with the pub you will see to the left of you a large park appear.  Go into the park, Sconce and Devon Park,  and follow the edge of a small entrance road that enters the park near a car park.  Leave the road and head left up a bank to reach a wide expanse of grass.  Aim for the far left hand corner of this grass about 300 yards away.  At the end of the grass in the corner you reach a good track but this won’t be what attracts your attention.

You will have noticed approaching the corner that the ground ahead rose steeply at the end but as you reach the path you see a large earthwork with an arrangement of deep ditches.  This is the Queens Sconce, where the Parliamentarians were based to launch their attacks on the Castle and the King in the siege of Newark during the English Civil War.  There is a notice board giving much greater detail than I will go into here next to the path.  A little way ahead there is a relatively new bridge across one of the ditches which you can cross to take a closer look.

The "new" bridge and Queen's Sconce

The “new” bridge and Queen’s Sconce

Walk along the path with the Sconce to your right and a hedge to your left.  It is worth having a look round the earthwork at the bridge but return to the path and go past the Sconce earthworks.  Immediately after you have gone past the ditch turn right along another track for fifty yards.  Where this track starts to reach a slope you should turn left to stay on the top level heading towards a building, a sports pavilion.  Stay on the right hand side of this football field, going past the pavilion on your left to emerge at the corner of another football pitch.  Carry straight on along the side of the pitch with trees to your right, for 200 yards.

You should then see a post with directions on it indicating different paths you can take.  Here you should turn right to go into the trees towards the Devon Pastures and down a decent path which starts to head back in the direction of Newark.  Below you through the trees you will see the River Devon which you come down to at the bottom of the path.

River Devon

River Devon

 

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 Walk alongside the river which is slow-moving and peaceful here.  After a short stretch of open grass you reach some more trees.  Other paths come down the slope on your right occasionally but you should keep following the river on your left until the path comes out onto the pavement next to a busy road.  On the other side of this road you will see the impressive array of boats moored at Farndon Marina.  Unless you want to take a closer look at the Marina you should stay on this side of the road and turn right.  The road is busy but there is a wide pavement here.

After 400 yards you approach the Spring House pub again where we went into Queens Sconce Park.  Just before the pub you should cross the main road where there is a crossing to a central refuge and go to the other side of Farndon Road.  Turn right and walk along the pavement bearing left at the fork where the Spring House is.  You should be on the opposite side of the road to the pub.  Follow this left hand road (Mill Gate) for the next 600 yards.  This road is much quieter than Farndon Road but there is still a good wide pavement.  You may pass some horses which are tethered alongside the road here.  By now you are back in the town with various residential streets coming off Mill Gate.  you should ignore all of these until you have gone past the Watermill pub on the right hand side of Mill Gate, which is now much narrower.  Look for the next road on the left (Mill Lane) and turn along that for a short way.  You soon cross a quite steeply humped bridge over the river.

On the other side turn right to follow the River Trent, at this point technically known as the Navigation.  With the river immediately on your right you go past a boatyard by a short narrow footbridge, before coming to a lock.  Stay on the left of the Navigation all the way along as ahead you see Newark Castle on the other side of the river. Shortly after the lock there is a bridge across another branch of the river on the left.  Cross the bridge, turn right and walk along a firm path next to the river as you come alongside the castle.  The path reaches a road bridge just past the castle.  The riverside path does go under this bridge but instead you should bear slightly left on the path that takes you up to the road.  At the road turn right and cross the bridge over the river along a quite narrow pavement which then becomes much wider as you leave the river behind.  Go slightly uphill alongside the pavement until you reach the corner of the road near a roundabout.  On your right here is the entrance to the castle grounds.  If you haven’t looked around this is an ideal opportunity to walk around the grounds and to go to the castle walls overlooking the river.  If you do this then you should return to this corner to continue the walk.

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 again.