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Walking The Robin Hood Way: Elkesley to Duncanwood Lodge

7 Nov

This stage goes through fields and woods before returning to Clumber Park for a long straight walk under trees. There is a spur of the Way that takes a short detour to Robin Hood’s Cave and Whitewater Bridge then returns to the main route.

Start: Elkesley (continues from the Stage Clumber Park to Elkesley)

Finish: Duncanwood Lodge (continues to the Stage from Duncanwood Lodge to Edwinstowe)

Distance: 15km (9 miles) if not doing the Whitewater Bridge spur. 18km (11 miles) if you are.

Map of the Route

If you have used the bus to reach Elkesley you should go south along Headland Avenue from the bus stop for 250m to meet the Robin Hood Way again at the edge of the village on Brough Lane. If you have been walking along the Way from the previous stage in Clumber Park then as you reach the village you should carry on along the road with houses on your left, bearing slightly right rather than turn left into the village.

After the last house continue along the track for 200m until the road starts to bend left. Turn right here onto a path going downhill by a field. Go over a bridge into Elkesley Wood. This is surprisingly hard to find your way through as there is little footpath signage and several paths. On entering the wood bear right along a clear path next to a stream. After a short way at the first junction of paths bear left away from the stream slightly uphill. Follow this path until you come to another junction of paths. When I did this walk there was a wooden log with Robin Hood Way waymarks at this junction but unfortunately this was lying on the ground and it was hard to tell which was the right way to go. In fact you should turn left here along another path for 80m until you reach another path junction near the edge of the wood. Turn right along a path which after 150m emerges from the wood on a wider track near a brick building.

Walk along a grassy path which climbs quite steeply up a small hill towards buildings. At the top of the climb cross the wide track of West Drayton Lane, which you walked along in the previous stage. Go through a gate opposite. Follow a track past buildings of this reindeer farm looking out for Rudolph. The track bends to the right and as you reach the front of the farm buildings you turn left along a wide gravel track going downhill towards a road (the B6387). At the farm gateway go carefully straight across this road and continue along the track on the other side. This continues downhill with a wood on your left at first. You cross the River Meden and then go under a railway bridge, past a farmyard and cross a bridge over the River Maun.

The track climbs slightly and then turns left. Very soon you reach a right turn which you should take. If you carry straight on after 400m you come to the ruins of a small chapel (St.John’s Chapel) which you may wish to visit. If you do then return to this junction. Turn downhill to cross this very large field aiming for an area of woodland and continue straight on after that to the bottom of the hill. Turn left and very soon after that right to go down into a small area of trees next to Bevercotes Beck on the left.

Carry on into another field and follow the left hand edge for 400m until you reach a hedge coming across. Turn right and stay along the edge of the field with this hedge on your left. After 150m the hedge ends but you should keep going in the same direction. Where a new hedge starts you should go through a wide gap ahead so that this hedge is on your right. Follow a wide grassy track for 250m until you reach a large field. Turn left and follow a track with a hedge now on your left. After 300m near power lines is a junction of paths. Going straight on takes you to the village of Walesby with a pub and other facilities. Our route however turns right here, going under the power lines. Aim towards houses along a wide track with a field on your right and hedge on your left. After 500m you reach a road but don’t go out to it yet. Instead turn right and stay inside the field with a hedge on your left. After 100m turn left out of the field and cross the road (the B6387 again). Directly opposite is a path which you join and follow straight on.

At first the path is quite narrow next to a hedge but after 800m it becomes wider. It goes over a mineral railway line and then joins a wide farm track with large pens of chickens to your left. Go straight on under sets of power lines until you reach woodland. Keep walking straight ahead for 200m until you come to a T junction of paths.

This is where you choose whether to make the diversion left on a spur of the Robin Hood Way to have a look at a couple of sights. To continue the full Robin Hood Way you will have to return to this point the same way you went . I would certainly recommend making the shortish walk to Robin Hood’s Cave. If you then want to continue to Whitewater Bridge one possibility is to carry on to Ollerton another 2.5km further on (see my Walk 57 for directions). Ollerton is on a bus route to Elkesley.

Robin Hood’s Cave and River Maun

For the extra spur you should turn left at the path T junction and follow a good path with trees close by on your right. After you reach a clear area of sandstone on the right of the path. This is the site of Robin Hood’s Cave, a small hole in the sandstone overlooking the River Maun about twenty metres below. You can go onto the stone where you can also see the handiwork of locals who have carved their names into the rock. To continue on the spur route go back to the main path and carry on south into the woods going gradually downhill. After 700m you leave the wood at a bend in a quiet road. Turn right along the road for a short way then cross to the other side of the road to join a path running alongside the road. This soon comes to Whitewater Bridge which crosses the River Maun and is quite a pleasant spot. From here you can either retrace your steps to the T junction of paths on the main Robin Hood Way or follow the path on the other side of the bridge which goes left and follows the Maun to Ollerton.

Whitewater Bridge

Back at the T junction to continue the Robin Hood Way if you have come from the Whitewater Bridge spur you carry straight on. If you haven’t done the extra spur you turn right at the T junction.

The path is in woods and obvious with a field clearing on the right. Go straight on for then go down a short quite steep section of path as the path becomes narrower with trees now all around in this copse (Conjure Alders). At the bottom take a slight turn to the right and cross a footbridge on the left. Go over a second bridge and out of the copse into a field.

Turn left and follow the edge of the field, which had cows in it on my visit. Turn uphill at the corner and keep following the hedge until you reach a gap at the top of the field as you reach a minor road. Cross this and continue in the same direction in the field on the other side staying on the field edge with a hedge on your left. On reaching a plantation to your left stay at the field edge alongside the plantation. At the end of the third field after the road you find yourself getting closer to the A614. A little way into the next field the path enters scrub on the left. Continue along the path with the A614 very close by on your left.

After 900m you reach the minor road signed to Bothamsall. Cross this and then the A614 at the crossing. On the other side follow the path away from the A614 going to the right of the gate to a signpodted bridleway. Enter the woodland of Clumber Park and join a wide track. This track is called Freeboard Lane. Follow it almost straight under the trees going south-west. There are a few very small bends but it is very straightforward as you ignore all side turnings. After 2.5 km you reach a lodge (South Lodge).

Cross the wide track going to the right and continue straight on keeping to the left of the fence bordering the Lodge garden. After another 650m a clearing appears on the left with various tracks going off to the side. Ignore all the side tracks and keep going straight ahead until you meet a wide track or green “ride”. Follow this track for 2km until you reach a small car park by the road (B6005) near Duncanwood Lodge. This is where this stage finishes. There are bus shelters here for the Sherwood Arrow bus service between Worksop and Ollerton, which also continues to Nottingham, every two hours.

Crossing the road takes you onto the stage I described a few months ago going from Duncanwood Lodge to Edwinstowe

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 57: Ollerton, Boughton Brake and the River Maun

18 Feb

This walk takes you from the large village of Ollerton, through the woodland of Boughton Brake and then returning to Ollerton alongside a relatively new track by the River Maun. There is a short diversion if you wish to Old Ollerton.  The walk is along roads in Ollerton and then good tracks which should be fine in all underfoot conditions.

Start: I am starting my route from the centre of Ollerton which has pretty good public transport links to most parts of the county. There are plenty of side roads for parking too. You can also start in old Ollerton village or at Boughton Brake where there is space for parking.

Distance: 4.7 miles

Map of the Route

Ollerton is a busy village with good amenities many of which lie on or just off the main road through the village (the A6075).  I am choosing to start the walk in the centre of the village on this main road at the junction with Briar Road which goes to the main church in Ollerton a little to the north of the A6075. From the junction walk towards St.Paulinus church which is in the centre of an island surrounded by a road acting as a hub with others coming off it. These mostly aren’t busy and have bus stops at different points for the various places served.  You should be aiming to leave the area directly straight on so follow the pavement round the circle with the church in the middle and leave the circle on the far side along Lime Tree Road.  This goes down quite steeply for a short distance and at the bottom of the hill follow Walesby Lane right for 500m.  At the first main junction you come to cross the road ahead (Whinney Lane) and turn left but soon bear right along the pavement to cut the corner instead of walking on the grass next to Whinney Lane.   Cross a side road (Hallam Lane) and continue along the surfaced path near the road.  There is a wood ahead on your left and houses to the right at first but you soon reach the edge of the village.

Follow the lane as it leaves the village and approaches the woods.  You go past a large brick building with a tall chimney, Boughton pumping station, on the left.   A little after this the road you have been following turns sharply to the right.  At this point you should go left into the woodland area.  This is Boughton Brake.  Go almost straight on along a well-defined path but bearing slightly left, ignoring the wide track going directly left, and aim for a large wooden post a little way ahead.  This part of the Brake is a more open area with fewer trees but as you carry on past the wooden signpost in the same direction on the left hand track the tree cover is greater.  You head towards the centre of the wood climbing gently for just over 300m.

Boughton Brake

At the top of the hill the path bends slightly to the left and you start to descend on a wider track.  This is a very pleasant path with trees on either side of the path and all around you although slightly further from the path itself so it doesn’t feel oppressive.  Continue along this path downhill for 600m until you reach the far corner of the wood which is also a road junction of quiet lanes.  Go very slightly on from the corner of the wood and the road turns sharply left.  You should turn left here along the road, staying on the right hand side as there is no pavement.  After 100m you see a footpath sign on the left of the road and you should leave the road to follow this firm path.  It stays almost alongside the road for another 200m when you reach a substantial footbridge where you cross the river Maun.  This, and the road bridge just to the north, is known as Whitewater Bridge.

Whitewater Bridge

…and footbridge

On the other side of the footbridge turn left and go back towards the river along a good track then by the river turn right .  Follow this track for the next mile and a half.  The river is always just a little to your left and at times you wouldn’t know it was there as it is out of sight, especially in the first half mile.  The track is a relatively new one which doesn’t appear on older Ordnance Survey maps.  To your right are fields of pigs for much of the way.  The path is almost straight and flat the whole way with a few small areas of trees and you can’t go wrong.  The river when you meet it again is slow-flowing and gentle.  You can go down to it at one point in a pleasant clump of trees.

River Maun

The Maun looking towards Boughton Pumping Station

Eventually you see the houses of Ollerton appearing on the left and the track turns to cross the Maun again over a small but solid wooden plank bridge.  The track then bends to the right near houses on your left with a fishing lake appearing on your right.  The track gets wider to become a rough road which you follow straight ahead past the entrance to the lakes.

Carry on to the end of the rough road and straight on up a short path which meets the busy A6075 where you turn left.  To return to the starting point of the walk you can go along for a short distance and take the first road to the left which takes you up to the main road into New Ollerton.  At this point, however, you are close to the old part of Ollerton and you may wish to take a short detour into Old Ollerton where from March to November you can visit the watermill on the Maun, the only active watermill in the county, and award winning tea room next door. To do this go across the A6075 using the crossing and take the first turning off to the right along the Main Street into Old Ollerton.  You soon pass an Italian restaurant and see the river Maun to the right near the car park.  You can get down to the Maun here opposite a small island with the village war memorial.  Ahead at the end of the street is the watermill and tea room just past an information board telling you about the village.

To complete the walk retrace your steps out of Old Ollerton, cross the A6075 at the crossing, then turn right along the pavement.  Take the first turning left and follow this road all the way into New Ollerton for half a mile until you reach the centre and your starting point.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 35: Ollerton, Wellow and Rufford Park

27 Apr

This is a walk linking the villages of Ollerton and Wellow, each with their own interesting features, and Rufford Country Park which has many attractions.  It is mostly flat on paths in fields and on roads.  There is one very short section of quite steep steps down and up a railway embankment.

Distance: 4.8 miles

Map of the Route

Start:  The centre of Old Ollerton village near the church.  There is a bus-stop near the river and water-mill on the bus routes from Nottingham and Mansfield.  If coming by car you should be able to find somewhere to park on the roads nearby or there is a small car park area near the Italian restaurant by the river in the centre of the village.  Alternatively you can start at Rufford Park where there is a large car park near the main entrance and a smaller one at the northern end of the lake near the road to Wellow.  There is usually a charge to use these car parks. The park has a host of attractions including a historic abbey, art installations, children’s playgrounds, refreshment facilities, nice woodland and an attractive lake.

Ollerton is a village of two distinct parts.  The main section is New Ollerton, a busy place built as housing for the pit, with a good selection and amenities.  However, just over the road is Old Ollerton, a quiet village near the River Maun where you often won’t see anyone else if you are out and about.  It is home to Ollerton Mill, the only working watermill in Nottinghamshire , which is open to the public most days of the week from March to November, and the neighbouring award-winning teashop.  There is also the aformentioned Italian restaurant and a pub,

River near Ollerton Mill

River near Ollerton Mill

The area by the river is very pleasant and you can go onto the “island” in the middle of the river from the road opposite the water mill and tearoom.

The Walk

Leaving the bus-stop  go towards the church.  You can have a look at the church itself before crossing over the main road to the wide pavement on the other side. Then turn left and go up the hill.  The road bends round to the left and from the right as you round the bend a road comes in (Bescar Lane).  You can cross back over to the church side of the road at this point to cut the corner to the top of the hill along a path.  At the top of the hill you reach quite a busy road (the A616 Wellow Road).  Cross this main road and turn left along the pavement on the other side.  After 50 yards you will see a footpath signpost at the end of a track on the right directing you along the track. Turn right along this track, named Middlefield Lane  on the roadsign at the end of the track.  The track begins as just a firm path but soon becomes a proper tarmac driveway passing some well-appointed houses on the right with a wood on the left.  After 300 yards the straight track bends to the right to cross a bridge over a railway line.  Keep straight on after the bridge to enter Fairfield Park, a complex of new homes.

You may think you have come the wrong way as you enter the complex but bear left at the fork in the road just as you enter the Park and you soon see a footpath which takes you round the edge of the Park.  The footpath takes you over the grass and down a narrow path going outside the complex next to a fence.  This path is quite narrow and can be a little muddy.  Follow the path next to the fence passing close to the houses at the edge of the park with a wood on your left.  As you reach the end of the houses you turn to the right and come to an area where the fence on your right is a solid wooden one and the land to the right a building site.  On your left is a sign for Tip Top Wood.  Carry on along the path with the wooden fence on your right and the wood to your left.  The path here is a little more muddy than previously although not anything to be too bothered by.  I can’t pretend that this part of the walk is very attractive with the fence blocking views to the right, and the sound of heavy construction vehicles coming from beyond it, but it is only a short section.

After 400 yards you reach the end if this path as it reaches a small field.  Turn left for 50 yards along the edge of this field and then turn right so that you are walking with the wood to your left and the field to your right.  This path is less muddy with a fence and a ditch immediately on your left.  Before long the hedge on the right of the path becomes more substantial until the trees start to form a little cover across the path.  As you near the road ahead you may start to notice bits of rubbish strewn near the path.

On reaching the road go atraight across to join the pavement on the far side.  Turn right and follow the pavement alongside the fairly busy road.  After 200 yards the road dips down where the old railway line was and then rises up again to reach a junction near a sign for Wellow House school.  At the junction turn left and walk along the pavement by the road where you will see a large pond on the left (Wellow Dam).  Keep going along the road for 200 yards until you reach a sharp left-hand bend as you near the first houses in Wellow.  At this bend carefully cross the main road towards a post with a yellow top indicating a footpath.  Follow this path down away from the main road as it goes along side a stream on the left.  The path becomes a shale one and starts to climb slightly as you walk close to the houses of the village.  At the top of the path the route of the walk turns right but from here it would be a shame not to take a look at Wellow so I recommend turning left for thirty yards to reach a road (Eakring Road).  Cross the road and turn left to follow the pavement.

Immediately you will notice the main claim to fame of the village as you go up towards the village green.  Wellow is the home of Nottinghamshire’s only permanent maypole, which towers over the green and is still used.  It is well worth having a closer look at the maypole and there is the added bonus of the green having pubs close by should you wish to have some refreshment.

Having visited this unique attraction we return to the walk by going back along the road to the path by the stream.  At the point we left the walk carry straight on up the track and go through the gateway towards a sign which tells you to follow the footpath to the left (these are the grounds of Wellow House school).  Follow this instruction and head left under a pleasant area of trees and out to the cricket field.  Keep to the left edge of the cricket field next to the hedge until you reach the cricket nets in the corner of the field.  Go to the left of the nets and leave the cricket field through a metal kissing gate.  You leave the school grounds to enter a new field and walk alongside a fence to your left.  On the right when I did this walk were a series of small paddocks containing horses.  After 300 yards you reach the end of this field and leave by another kissing gate.  This takes you under trees and immediately past a small solid log fence used for an equestrian cross-country course so just check to make sure no horses are coming.  Go straight across the next track.

This takes you to the top of quite a long and quite steep flight of wooden steps that go down the side of what was the embankment of the old railway line.  These steps are by far the longest encountered on any of my walks in Nottinghamshire and care should be taken.  At the bottom of the steps the old railway line has now reverted to nature and become a large pond covered with pondweed.  Stop briefly at the bottom if for nothing else than to prepare yourself for the climb back up the other embankment up an equally steep and long set of steps.  At the top you emerge from the embankment into a large field with your calf muscles aching.

The next section of the walk is described as I experienced it but be prepared to follow alternative signs if they occur on your walk or if there is an obvious path restored going straight across the field.  According to the Ordnance Survey map the path across the field goes straight across.  However, on my visit there were crops growing and no sign of a way across. Hopefully when you do this walk the way across will be clear but if it isn’t you should make your way straight across as best you can.  After nearly 400 yards you reach the far side of the field and go through a gap into another field where again you should try to go straight across.

It is some years since I did this walk and at that time the path in the field wasn’t marked anywhere.  If this is still so just use common sense and follow the field edge as it bends around to the right taking you back towards the road.  As you near the road again turn left and stay along the field edge inside the field with the hedge on your right.  Keep following the edge of the field as it turns left away from the road after 200 yards near a wood and then soon right, following the edge of the wood.  Again you find yourself approaching a hedge with a road beyond it.  This time however the road is in fact a driveway to a farm.  At the hedge turn left so you are walking with it the hedge on your right and the driveway beyond that.  After 200 yards you reach the end of the hedge at a small fence.  Turn left for twenty yards to go round the end of this fence and onto a track (which is where the official path on the Ordnance Survey map rejoins us)  which goes out to meet the driveway by a pond.

Turn right to meet the driveway and go past the pond on your left aiming towards Rufford Hills Farm.  Just before you enter the farmyard you will see a stile on the left.  Go over that into a field and follow the hedge which is on your right.  You pass the back of a sort of shed and after 200 yards reach the end of the hedge.  As you do so turn immediately sharp right to keep the hedge on your right once more.  Go over a stile into a rather nice little field under the trees with the house visible on your right.   Go straight on and then leave the small field over another stile.  This takes you into another grassy field which you carry straight on through until you meet the driveway again as it comes out of the farm area.  Effectively we have been going round the edge of the farmyard for the last section.

Join the driveway and follow it down the hill for 300 yards until you reach an automatic gate at the bottom.  To the right of this is a stile which you go over.  Then cross the entrance road to Rufford Park Golf Club and join the main road from Wellow to Rufford.  Almost straight away cross this and walk alongside it on a grassy footpath passing a few houses.  After the last of these if you look back over the road you will see a small wooded gate.  This is the back entrance into Rufford country park.  I won’t give a detailed route here for a walk in the park and you may not wish to go in but I would thoroughly recommend a visit as you are here, even if it is just to have a quick look at the lake, tea room and gift shop at this end of the park.  To continue with my walk instead of crossing into the park you should turn right the road along the Bridleway immediately opposite the park entrance.

DSCF0188

Rufford Lake

The path goes directly away from the road and park and initially runs next to a hedge on the left.  It is a very straight path for the next mile, passing through a gap so the hedge is now on your right with fields to the left and for a short way a wood on the right.  After the wood it continues straight on in more open fields, undulating gently until it becomes a track for the last yards until meeting the main A614 road as it bends round to go under a bridge.  Follow the pavement next to the A614 and go under this railway bridge which has been an obvious landmark as we walked across the fields.  Continue along the pavement for 300 yards until you reach the turn-off for Ollerton village.  Follow the pavement on the left hand side of the road (Station Road) passing several sleeping policemen traffic control humps.  Keep going along this road for a little more than 300 yards until you come to Ollerton church again.  There turn left and return to the starting point of the walk where you may wish to visit the watermill and teashop.