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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

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Clumber Park to Elkesley

30 Sep

This stage continues from Clumber Park and goes round part of the lake before heading out of the park and across fields to the River Poulter and the village of Elkesley.

You will have to find a way of returning to your start point either by retracing your steps, taking a slightly different direct way, or if you have the time and energy by following the next part of the Robin Hood Way which takes a 10km loop back to Clumber Park. The alternative is to use the Sherwood Arrow bus service, one branch of which takes you every two hours to Carburton, about 4km from the visitor centre on a nice walk through Clumber Park. The other branch of the bus service calls at Elkesley every two hours as it travels from Retford to Nottingham. Both branches meet at New Ollerton, about half an hour away.

Start: Clumber Park Visitor Centre

Finish: Elkesley

Distance: 8km (5 miles)

Map of the Route

Start at the central visitor area for the park.  There are numerous facilities here including cafe, gift shops, tourist information, toliets and an adventure playground with a car park nearby.  It is usually busy with visitors.  Going through the courtyard area takes you out onto the lawn next to the lake.  There are lots of geese, ducks and swans around and the lawn can be a bit dirty with their droppings but other than that it’s an attractive spot.

The other obvious landmark will be seen as you turn left to walk alongside the lake.  The spire of a chapel towers above the trees and bushes of the gardens and is just a short distance away so well worth a visit.  To continue the walk stay alongside the lake and follow the clear path into the trees ahead.  Stay in this direction for the next kilometre with the lake just to your right.  The path leaves the lakeside slightly in the wood but returns to it as the lake turns at right angles to the left ahead stopping your progress.  Turn sharp left yourself to stay by the lake for 300m under trees then go right across the lake along a road. 

Immediately after the lake turn right off the road onto a wide track alongside the lake. This takes you for when just after some farm buildings turn left away from the lake slightly uphill to a cafe area which often has refreshments available from a mobile stall.

Clumber Park Lake

Go along a short section of path between hedges and buildings to reach a car park at Hardwick Grange. From here bear right, ignoring the road going off to the left and bear right again along a quiet road that takes you down to a ford. Cross the ford along a footbridge then follow the road uphill. After 150m look for a gate on the left and go through it into a large field. Follow the path diagonally uphill across the field until you reach another gate near the far corner. Go through it and bear right along a clear track which very soon crosses a road. Cross this and continue on the path for another 100m to another road with a large entrance gate. Turn out of Clumber Park either at this entrance to reach the busy A614. Very carefully cross this to reach a signposted path on the other side (West Drayton Avenue).

Go along this very straight, well-defined path through a wood for 1200m, ignoring any side paths. You stay under the trees for nearly all of this with just one small clearing. You eventually leave the wood and find yourself in a very large area of open arable fields. Carry straight on along the grit-surfaced, hard track between fields.

After another 500m you reach a crossroads of paths where a bridleway crosses West Drayton Avenue. Turn left here and follow the path along a line of telegraph poles at the edge of a field towards a wood. After 300m you reach the wood and enter it along a clear grassy track, still following the telegraph poles. After 300m the path goes very slightly to the right and you join a wide forest track. Bear left downhill for 400m until you reach Crook Ford, a ford across the River Poulter.

Crook Ford and The River Poulter

This is a nice spot to rest as the river gently flows by. Cross the ford using the footbridge on the left and continue uphill for 150m. Turn right up a track going further uphill. The track bends to the right towards a works entrance. Just before the entrance turn left along a narrow path and walk alongside a fence and large warehouse on your right. After 100m you leave the fence behind and meet a concrete track which soon becomes a road. Continue straight on along this road for 700m, going past a couple of houses on the way. You go uphill to reach more houses which are the edge of Elkesley.

When you reach the first proper road in the village turn left along Lawn Wood Lane to the centre of the village if you are finishing your walk here. The nearest bus stop is about 150m away. However, The Robin Hood Way goes straight on and I will give a description of the route for the next stage soon.

Please note – The next possible bus connection is at Walesby, 5km further on.

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

28 Mar

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

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

Finish:  Edwinstowe Church 

Distance: 8 kilometres (5 miles)

Map of the Route

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

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

The River Meden

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

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

The Centre Tree

Sherwood Forest near the Major Oak

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

The Major Oak

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

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Papplewick Moor to Blidworth via Burntstump Park

25 Jan

This stage of the Robin Hood Way is another one that can be used as part of a loop between Papplewick and Blidworth combined with another stage or as a point-to-point walk. You can get the 141 Trent Barton bus to return to your starting point. The Way doesn’t go right into the main part of Papplewick but it’s only a short walk.

Start: Moor Road, just south of the centre of Papplewick.


Finish: Blidworth

Distance: 10.5km (6.5 miles)

Map of the Route

The words in italics are the extra parts of the walk just off the Robin Hood Way itself that take you from the crossroads by the Griffin’s Head pub in the centre of Papplewick to the centre of Blidworth.

From the crossroads walk south past the Griffin’s Head alongside the B683 (Moor Road) on the opposite side from the pub. It’s fairly busy but there is a pavement. After 300m you come alongside a wood on the right but stay on the pavement for another 400m when you meet the Robin Hood Way which is coming north along the B683. When you reach the first turning to the right (to Hucknall and Linby) look for a footpath sign on the other side of the road pointing across fields. Cross the road and join the Way as it goes across the fields of Papplewick Moor.

Follow this path across a few fields aiming for Stanker Hill Farm on the horizon about a mile ahead.  Go uphill a little in the final approach to the farm and then to the right of the buildings in the farm complex.  You reach a track which runs alongside a railway embankment and through a small tree plantation until coming to the A60.  Turn right along the pavement by this busy Nottingham to Mansfield road for about 200m to Seven Mile House.  Cross the A60 at the crossing and go along the minor road on the other side.

Follow this for 200m then turn right at the entrance to Burntstump Country Park which is also the site of the Park Hospital and Notts Police HQ.  Follow the entrance road until you see a path on the left-hand side in the trees.  This leads past buildings on the left to reach the car park.

From the car park take the path above it with the cricket ground and open park on your left and trees to your right.  Follow the path towards the top right hand corner of the park, if you meet other paths it can be a little tricky to follow but keep aiming for the top corner.  At the top go onto a track past the Paviors Sports Ground on the right.  At a junction of paths bear to the left along a metalled track which passes Seely Church School and goes out to a road.  

Turn left along the road for about 75 metres then turn right onto a rough track.  Pass two houses on the left and go downhill for 600m to meet a minor road.  Continue straight on along the road verge, passing Papplewick Pumping Station after 750m on the left, to reach a crossroads.  Turn right at the crossroads and walk along the verge of the road, Longdale Lane, under trees.  After 100m cross the road to join a forest track running alongside the lane just inside a forest plantation.  After 800m the track reaches the Longdale Lane picnic site.

Turn left into the car park and through the parking area to join a forest track running into the plantation.  This wide track climbs for 1.5km going straight all the way.  At the top at a junction of tracks bear slightly right but basically continue in the same direction as the track starts to descend again. After a kilometre a path to the right takes you to the Blidworth Woods car park but instead of going into the car park you should follow this main track all the way to the road (Blidworth Lane) and turn left. 

Follow the lane, taking care as there is no proper verge, for 500m.  As you reach a riding stables look for a track on the right which is the Robin Hood Way.  Take this track which climbs and after 300m meets a wood and my Walk 12 coming from the right.  The track surface is good in all but the worst weather. After 200 yards you leave the wood behind and the track starts curving slightly to the left. After 600 yards you reach the edge of Blidworth. As you near the top of the hill turn round and look behind you.  The view is slightly obscured by the hedge but is still a good one. You can see to the south towards Blidworth Bottoms which is now well below you.  Houses start to appear on either side of you as you crest the top of the hill. The track ends and becomes a road. Follow the road straight on going downhill for 200 yards until you reach a small war memorial on the right of the road which is where the stage ends and you can join stages I have described before.

 To reach the centre of the village go down the steps to the side of the memorial to reach the pavement next to the main road through Blidworth. Turn right along the pavement going down the hill. At the bottom of the hill you reach the main junction in Blidworth where our road meets the other major roads in the village.

The Robin Hood Way: Norton to Creswell Crags and The Harley Gallery

15 Dec

This is only a short stage but it can be turned into a day out by visiting Creswell Crags and the Harley Gallery which are both worth a visit. The walk goes through fields and a nice tree-lined avenue before reaching them.

The Harley Gallery itself has a large car parking area 200m or so from the shelter. The car park is free and there are worthwhile attractions to visit if parking at the Gallery.  The Gallery itself has a series of exhibitions throughout the year and a permanent collection housed in a new gallery.  There is also a garden centre and café.  The Creswell Crags visitor centre has a large car park (pay and display) which lies directly on the route.  If you are coming by public transport the bus shelter opposite the Gallery is on the number 209 bus route from Edwinstowe to Worksop with buses every two hours during the daytime on weekdays, the same service as the bus to Norton.  It is also possible to join the route from Creswell station, which is half a mile from Creswell Crags, on the Robin Hood Line from Nottingham to Worksop.

Start: Centre of Norton village

Finish: Either the car park at Creswell Crags Visitor Centre, at the Harley Gallery or if using buses the bus stop on the A60 near the gallery.

Distance: 4.5 miles/ 7.2 km

Map of the Route

From the centre of the small village of Norton going south turn almost immediately right along the road to Holbeck and Worksop.  This climbs gently and about 100m after you leave Norton you see a footpath on the right.  Turn right onto this and follow the path alongside a hedge in a narrow field for 500m.  At the end of the field you reach another lodge (Bunkers Hill Lodge) and turn left to walk along a lovely tree-lined drive.  Follow this for a kilometre, going past Park Lodge after 600m.  The avenue of trees finishes and you enter a wood, still along the drive, and after 400m bear right.  You reach the driveway to the Thoresby Artisan School after another 400m where you turn left for 400m more until you reach the main gates and a lodge at the A60 main road.  Carefully cross the A60 and go straight on along a quiet road for 200m , ignoring the first right turn, until you reach the hamlet of Holbeck Woodhouse.  Take the next right turn along a nice avenue of lime trees.  After going past a church on the left this meets a road in Holbeck village where you turn left.

Holbeck

Almost opposite the fingerpost but just a little further along on the right hand side of the road look for another footpath sign aiming for Creswell Crags along the Robin Hood Way. Turn right off the road along the path which goes between houses and then up a short rise to enter a field. Go straight on along the left hand side of this grassy field down to a gate and then into another field. Stay on the left of this next field which you soon leave to reach a much more open arable field.
Here go right for twenty yards and follow the right hand side of this field to the far end, some 200 yards away. Leave this field and enter another one with a wood nearby on your left. Just past this another appears on your right hand side. This second woodland is next to but separate from the field and you will see notices reminding you that it is private. Enter a grassy field and stay near the right hand edge of the field as you start to climb up a noticeable incline. You come near to a wall between the field and the wood as you approach the top of the hill after 400 yards. By this time you may need a breather and at the top you have quite a wide prospect ahead to the west looking into Derbyshire, now only a hundred yards away. You can see the houses of Creswell nearby.
From the brow of the hill start to descend quite a steep little slope and you should see quite a well defined path going off to the right a little way below. As you reach the path turn right along it and you soon come to a stone stile which you step over. This takes you into the Creswell Crags area. Follow the clear path across a stream as you reach the main tracks in the Crags. Turn right after the stream and very soon you reach a small lake. There are good paths on either side of the lake and it doesn’t really matter which one you take. For the purposes of this walk we will stay on the near side of the lake (as we at least stay in Nottinghamshire on this side!) and walk alongside it.)

Creswell Crags
You are now walking through Creswell Crags, a limestone gorge with several caves on either side of you in the rock. These caves were some of the oldest known inhabited places in Britain, dating back some 13000 years. Remains of prehistoric animals have been found in the caves. You can take guided tours of some of the caves which leave from the Visitor Centre. As well as being of great historical interest the Crags are also a very pleasant environment to walk in with very good tracks running along the gorge and lake. At the far end of the lake follow the main track almost straight on away from the lake. As you leave the lake take the track going to the left hand side of the grass ahead. Follow that for a short way and keep looking to the left where soon you will see a small wooden figure of depicting one of the ancient inhabitants of the Crags. Cross a stream to go into the woods near him where there is another good path. Turn right to follow this path through the wood towards the Visitor Centre which you will see clearly a little way ahead.
Walk to the Visitor Centre which you really should have a look at if you have time. As well as the tours and interesting displays about the Crags you can also find refreshments here at a cafe. There are also good picnic table facilities on the grass nearby.

After looking round you leave the visitor centre and go into the car park.  Once in the car park turn right from the visitor centre and walk to the far end of the car park where there is an intersection of paths.  There you should ignore paths going off to the side and just carry straight on ahead along quite a wide path.  The path enters a slightly more open area, although with trees not far away, as it bends gently round to the right.  Just before you reach the main A60 road you pass a small lodge by the path.  At the A60 the Robin Hood Way crosses straight over but to return to the Harley Gallery we turn right here to follow the pavement alongside the road.  As before the road is busy but the pavement decent although this time you must walk for 400m until reaching the bus shelter from the start of the walk.  Here you can either wait for the bus or cross over carefully to visit the Gallery and surrounding attractions.

The Robin Hood Way: River Maun near Edwinstowe to Norton

14 Oct

This stage goes alongside the River Maun, then past Archway House into Sherwood Forest before heading into the quiet village of Norton.

The description in italics takes you from Edwinstowe until you join the Robin Hood Way. The rest of the route is on the Way itself.

Start: Unless you are continuing the walk from the previous Eakring stage you will start in the centre of Edwinstowe. The crossroads near Edwinstowe church and the Royal Oak pub, where the High Street (B6034) meets the A6075. Edwinstowe is quite well served by public transport with buses from Nottingham and Mansfield. If coming by car the best place to park is probably not in Edwinstowe itself but at the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, just north of the village on the way the Major Oak, which is well signed.

Finish: Norton village. There is a bus to Edwinstowe every two hours on weekdays. You may prefer to do a circular walk following this stage at first and returning to Edwinstowe along the final stages of the Robin Hood Way which I will describe later.

Distance: 13.6 km (8.5 miles)

Map of the Route

From the junction at the centre of Edwinstowe walk downhill along the main shopping street. Keep straight on out of the centre and at the bottom of the hill cross the River Maun. Make sure you are on the right hand side of the road as you go uphill again. Just before you reach the railway bridge over the road turn right along . After 300m the road bends to the left as you leave the houses behind and soon on the right turn into a field to follow a footpath. This path is at the bottom of a slope with trees and a hedge on your right through which you can see the river at the bottom. Follow this path for 400m towards the end of the field and a junction of paths where you meet the Robin Hood Way coming down the hill.

At this junction of paths carry on then bear right along a narrow path with the river on your right. Cross a wooden bridge over the River Maun and continue straight on to a less obvious bridge over the Flood Dyke. Go on uphill along the track and at the top of the slope turn left along a decent path with a hedge now on your right. Follow this path along the right of the narrow field for 250m.

At the far end of the field you enter a wood. The easiest way here is just to carry straight on until you reach the far end but you can take another path bearing left going in the same direction which wanders through the trees just above the river. Both paths will eventually reach the end of the wood after 300m.

Path near the River Maun

Go slightly downhill and follow the path by the river for 200m. The river here is very tranquil and flows slowly among the fields on either side. At one time these were the Duke of Portland’s Flood Meadows and there is an information board about them next to the path.

River Maun

You reach a wide bridge over the Maun on the left but should turn right uphill on a wide track towards a prominent building. After 300m you reach tall trees and the building with some rather ornate sculptures, some of which are of Robin Hood and his Men, on the walls above a large arch. This is Archway House, built by the Duke of Portland in 1842. It is now used as self-catering holiday accommodation and there is an information board to tell you more next to the path. Follow a clear, road-like driveway ahead for 300m into the woods with a field on your left. Go straight on along the obvious track in the woods which later bends to the left. Stay on this until you reach a road. This is the A6075 and the traffic travels quickly so cross carefully. On the opposite side of the road you reach a path with a large boulder by it.

Follow the path away from the road bearing left by the edge of the wood. After 300m at a track junction don’t turn right but stay almost straight bearing slightly left to meet a hedge. Follow this for 300m when you should look to the left of the track for a little pile of stones and a cross about 5m away. This marks the site of the former St.Edwin’s Chapel, from which Edwinstowe gets its name. Continue along the main track ignoring a path to the right and crossing another. Go across a narrow section of plantation to a T junction with a wide bridleway. Turn right along the bridleway. After 400m a track to the left meets ours and we bear left along it.

After a kilometre you reach another major junction of paths.  You have reached the hill of Thynghowe, also known as Hanger Hill.  This has been a meeting place of people in Sherwood Forest for over a thousand years.  It is at the border of three parishes and may even have been the border between the ancient kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia.  The most striking feature is the prominent tree just ahead to the left of the path.  The path we have just reached is Hanger Hill Drive and local people have devised a three mile Trail, the Thynghowe Trail with points of interest marked by wooden posts with letters corresponding to points on the Trail Guide, along it.  Here we are about half way along the Trail.  You go left here and start to descend.  Surprisingly the path we are following, in the middle of the forest, is a hard, properly surfaced drive which at one time went all the way to Welbeck Abbey.  On the right you shortly see a wooden post and if you look to the right of the path can see two earth banks marking the site of a World War II ammunition store.

The path is straight and in good condition and again undulates a little in the next half mile. Carry on past lime trees and a clearing to the right of the path.  After a little more than half a mile from Thynghowe descend to a major junction of tracks near a large tree on the right.  You are at the bottom of a dip in the path coming across which may have freewheeling cyclists going quite fast so watch for them.   The Robin Hood Way goes left here.

The Thynghowe Trail goes straight across the wide track ahead.  In fact this is also the Robin Hood Way but here it is coming the other way as it returns to Edwinstowe. If you want to make a circular walk from Edwinstowe you can do the same.

Our journey north on the Way continues uphill from the junction but after 100m turn sharp right along a track near where the trees on the right finish. The track rises for a short way between a hedge and the wood before descending on a long straight path to reach Gleadthorpe Grange and the quite busy B road.

Carefully go straight across and up the metalled track opposite past farm buildings. When you reach a crossroads of tracks turn right off the main track onto a path. This soon enters a plantation of trees and meeting the other part of the Robin Hood Way again.  The path climbs and soon goes into tree cover on a narrower path with fields to the right.  In autumn you will find piles of leaves here which you can scrunch through.  The path rises a little more until after 500m you reach the road at Hazeil Gap.

Cross to the north side of the road where there are two main tracks. Take the left hand track which goes diagonally off to the left.  It is a wide firm path that goes mostly straight through woodland for much of the way and has a few undulations.  The most notable sights along the way are arrays of solar panels in the fields.  This is nice walking and after 1200m you reach the end of the track and go past Corunna Lodge on the right onto a quiet road.  Turn left along this for 600m.  There is no pavement and limited verge so stay alert but it is generally quiet.  Turn left along the road at a sharp bend where the way ahead becomes a private drive.  Follow the road for another 700m into the small village of Norton.  Near the junction in the village is the bus stop.

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Papplewick and Newstead Abbey to Blidworth

18 Jun


If walking the Robin Hood Way there are various loops you can do which with only slight alterations can be turned into circular walks. The Way visits Blidworth twice and a short walk links them so that a circular walk starting and finishing in Blidworth can be done which is about ten miles (16km).

This may be too long for some so I have decided to break it into two stages which connect Blidworth with Papplewick. The walk via Ravenshead which I will describe another time is four miles (6km) . The stage described here going via Newstead Abbey, Thieves Wood, Harlow Wood and Fountain Dale is six miles long. The Robin Hood Way doesn’t quite go into Papplewick on these stages but goes half a mile north of the village. The Trent Barton 141 bus runs between Blidworth and Papplewick and there is a stop close to the start of this stage.

Start:  The entrance road to Newstead Abbey about 600m north of Papplewick village

Finish:  The centre of Blidworth

Distance: 11.4 km 

Map of the Route

This description starts from Papplewick village as you may prefer to start from there although it is just off the Robin Hood Way.  The words in italics are to get from the village to join the Robin Hood Way.

From the main crossroads by the Griffin pub go north away from the pub on the B683.  Follow the pavement by the road as it turns sharply right then left.  Stay on the pavement for another 600m.  It starts to descend after leaving the village. 

On the left as the main road turns to the right again you reach a wide road on the left by a little grassy island with a bench and tree.  This road is an entrance to Newstead Abbey and is another part of the Robin Hood Way.  Leave the main road to bear left here.  There is a small cluster of buildings here including stables and houses.  Follow the road between these buildings with the cricket club entrance on the left. The road bends to the right as it becomes a wide track.  The track is a nice one running very straight with widely spaced trees on each side.  Follow it for just over half a mile until you reach the gates to Newstead Abbey and a cottage next to them.  For walkers there is a smaller gate to the side of the main driveway.  Go through this gate to enter the main park.

Our way stays on its very straight course but the track becomes a properly surfaced road again and the trees become much more densely arranged to the right and the cover more noticeable.  Stay on this driveway, there are grass verges to either side which you may prefer to walk on as, although this isn’t a proper public road, there are occasional vehicles along it.  After half a mile you come to the centre of the park.  The road you are following bends to the left and then right before meeting another wider road.  This is the main one through the Abbey estate, Swinecotte Dale, which comes from the A60 Nottingham to Mansfield road with the main entrance about half a mile off to your right at this point. 

Where you meet this thoroughfare if you want to explore the Abbey you should turn left along it going downhill towards a lake.  You can see a cricket field on your left and then the Abbey itself.  Go down the hill where you can explore the many interesting features of Newstead Abbey and its surroundings.

Newstead Abbey lake

Waterfall at Newstead Abbey

 

Swinecotte Dale

To continue on the Robin Hood Way cross the road and follow the path bearing off to the right uphill into woods.  This is along a nice track under trees on a decent earth surface.  The track is easy to follow and is mainly straight as you climb steadily.  From the highest point after 500m you descend still on this good path which soon goes down some long, shallow steps to reach an open field on left as you get to the bottom of them.

Undulating field

Stay going straight on with the attractive undulating field surrounded by woodland on your left.  Go up for a short way then down again until you go under trees again and uphill on a track with low stone wall on the right and wooden fences by houses on the left. There is quite a steep climb for 150m to the top and a small gate.  Carry on ahead towards some large telegraph poles where you turn left.  Pay attention here as you then take a narrow path to the right almost immediately that goes off the main track and out of the wood.

Follow a narrow path down to road with a small open area to the left at first.   After 100m you emerge next to a fairly busy road. There are also bus stops here.   Go left for a short way then cross the road.  On the other side of the road keep going left until you soon reach a junction.  Turn right along this road going downhill along a wide verge for 100m.  At the bottom of the hill there is a wood to the right where there is a “No Tipping” sign and a narrow path through the hedge on the right which you should take.  Just through the hedge go down a small dip then up a little then take a path to the left which soon comes to a car park. Bear right in the car park going away from the road and leave the car park at the far end.  You soon come to a large information board with a map of the woods showing the local trails here in Nomanshill Wood and Thieves Wood, a large area of tracks and tall trees on either side. 

Follow the path going almost straight ahead bearing a little to the left.  After 600m of straight track you meet another wide track and turn right for 250m to another junction of tracks.  Here you turn right.  After 250m a track comes in from the left but you should carry straight on.

Follow a wide, firm light-coloured track with trees on either side.   The track is mainly straight but bends gradually to the left and is a little undulating.  After 500m you reach a major junction of tracks.   The main wide track bears left but you should take the right hand track uphill going into the woods.  This is along a slightly less open and more earthy track.  Go straight along for 150m where the path kinks a little to the left but stay on the path for 200m until on the left you see Fountaindale school.  Continue for another 150m all the way to the A60 then turn right to follow the pavement alongside it for 150m.

Carefully cross the A60 here where on the opposite side you should see a footpath sign.  A very short distance to the right along the A60 here is the Sheppard Stone which commemorates an unfortunate girl who was murdered here.  From the footpath sign go straight into the wood (Harlow Wood) on an indistinct path for 80m to meet  a wider track. On that track go just to the right and follow the main track that goes straight on.  Follow this good wide track which is quite straight but goes into a small dip around a patch that can be a little muddy. Then soon the track becomes very straight in more open coniferous forest.  After 400m the path bends to the right and after another 300m you can see a small lake through the trees on the right as you reach more deciduous areas. Soon you come to a major junction of paths in the wood with a signpost pointing to several different tracks.  

 

Lake in Harlow Wood

 

Go straight on past a board telling you the story of this place.  Soon you leave the main part of the wood and carry straight on to follow the edge of the field staying by the trees on your right.  After 300m the path bends to the right and you come to the end of a large pond.  This area is Fountain Dale and nearby is Friar Tuck’s Well where the eponymous member of Robin Hood’s men met the outlaw.  Continue along the bottom of the field for 300m to another crossroads of paths. 

Fountain Dale

Fountain Dale

Here we go into the woodland on the right and cross a small bridge over a stream.  Leave the woodland going uphill through a gate onto a wide track.  After 100m 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.

Turn left and go downhill along the road for 300m.  Where the road turns sharply left you should leave the road and carry on along a wide track.  This soon climbs quite steeply for a short way.  We stay along this track for a mile all the way to Blidworth.  It’s a good track which has a few undulations and in places good views to the left.  After a kilometre you reach a small copse.  Just after this the track becomes a metalled road as you climb and then reach the first houses of Blidworth.  When you reach the main road in Blidworth turn right for 150m to reach the main junction.  There are bus stops here where you can return to Papplewick or get connections to Mansfield and Farnsfield, Eakring and Southwell.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire: Walk 61 – Bilsthorpe and Inkersall

29 Apr

Please note that the paths near the start of this walk close to the building site are currently very overgrown and I wouldn’t recommend this part of the walk.


Trying to keep the walks local I realised that I hadn’t done a walk along the paths to the west of Bilsthorpe for a while. This one goes along the edge of Bilsthorpe and along a pleasant track into Sherwood Forest before returning along the disused railway line into Bilsthorpe. There are a few opportunities for short cuts which I will elaborate on. This walk can be done in all seasons as it is on good firm tracks.

Start:Forest Link Car Park, Bilsthorpe.  If using public transport you can start either from the main road going out of Bilsthorpe towards the A614 or centre of the village. This description starts from the car park at the end of the Southwell Trail,  a disused railway line running to Farnsfield and Southwell. This is at the end of the road called Forest Link. Buses run to Bilsthorpe from Mansfield and Nottingham regularly during the day.

Distance: 6 miles (9.7 km)

Map of the Route

From the car park go onto the Southwell Trail, a good track, and follow it for a very short distance. You come to a small area of grass on the right where you should look for a narrow path to the right which takes you off the Trail,  over a ditch and to the edge of a field. Turn right to follow the edge of the field which soon goes downhill a little. At the bottom of the dip follow the path as it turns left and after 80m right. Go over a hump of concrete that crosses a stream and then turn left to follow the path along the bottom of the dip. A little to your right through a gap in the treeline you see a new housing development being buit.

The path is a bit muddy after wet weather and after passing the end of the housing development you should go up through the tree line and follow the path left which is dryer than at the bottom. It goes between broom plants which often have bright yellow flowers and then bends right towards a red gate.

At the gate go onto the end of a cul-de-sac (Allandale) and walk along it for 100m. Take the first left turn going downhill and at the bottom turn right along another quiet road. Follow this all the way to the end of the cul-de-sac then take the path to the right which takes you to the top of some steps. Go down these onto the pavement next to the main road (Mickledale Lane). Turn left going downhill past a petrol station and a bus shelter, which is where you can start this walk if using the Sherwood Arow bus service to Nottingham or Ollerton.

Carry on along the pavement to the bottom of the dip where you cross a stream and then uphill to meet the A614.  Cross the A614 very carefully and carry straight on along a well surfaced road.  This is only an access drive and has very little traffic.  You can either walk along the road or next to it on grass.  The road is very straight and soon climbs quite sharply for a short distance before becoming flatter.  It is a pleasant tree-lined avenue with fields to your left.  You are approaching a more heathland type environment which is evidenced by gorse bushes with their coconutty fragrence and bright yellow flowers.

There are no navigation problems as the route goes straight for a kilometre, passing Inkersall Kennels and a couple of other enclosed areas.  Where the road bears left to quite a grand gateway carry on through a metal gate onto a footpath which continues in the same direction as you have walked for the last mile.  The path is quite a narrow one but good for walking on with nice woodland on your left and a field on the right.   After 500m you reach the end of the field on the right and the path goes over a very low barrier with a blue arrow on it.

Here you can cut a mile from the route by turning right along a narrow path through trees which reaches the top of a railway embankment after 100m.  Take the left hand path down the bank which goes down very steeply at the bottom (so take care) onto a disused railway line.  This may have cyclists or walkers on it so watch for  them as you whizz down onto the track.

My main route continues straight on at the blue arrow.  The path gets wider and soon becomes a wide shale track with conifer trees dominating on the left.  Ignore side tracks on the left but after 1000m you will see a wide track entrance on the right.  Carrying straight on here takes you onto my Walk 24 but for this walk you should turn right onto the wide track going into the trees.

After 50m you reach a crossroads of tracks.  The track coming across is a cycle track with large rocks to the left.  Turn right along this track which is a disused railway line and so is almost perfectly straight.  Straight tracks like this are generally a bit dull as they stretch out ahead of you but this is quite pleasant as there are trees to either side.   You can’t go wrong as you will follow this track all the way for two miles straight into Bilsthorpe.  After half a mile as you leave the main tree cover you may notice a path which has been worn down the steep bank on the right.  This is where the short cut mentioned earlier rejoins our walk and you should watch for anyone who has taken that hurtling down the bank onto the track!

After just more than another kilometre the track crosses a bridge over the A614 and then you find yourself on an embankment with decent views over fields to either side.  The one to the north often has pigs in it with long lines of pig shelters on it and to the south you see the road we walked along earlier.  Just after the track goes close to houses on the right you reach a crossroads of paths with gates on either side of the track. 

There are three options here.

  1. Going through the gate on the right takes you downhill between houses to meet the road we walked along earlier near the petrol station.  From there you can retrace your steps to the start.  

2. Going straight on along the old railway track you soon approach a bridge.  Just before it you leave the track on a path to the right that goes up to meet the road by the bridge which option 3 uses.

3.  The route which is used on the map for this walk adds about half a mile to option 2.  Go left from the railway track through a green gate to join a clear path going uphill across a field.  After 200m this meets a surfaced track which you follow in the same direction.  This takes you by a large area of sports pitches on the right.  Follow the track for 500m until you reach a road (Eakring Road).  Cross this and turn right along Eakring Road, ignoring the road coming in directly opposite the track  you have just walked along.  Walk along the verge by the road which soon becomes a pavement as you reach a works entrance on the left.  Continue into Bilsthorpe and the bridge over the railway track.  Cross over the road where route 2 joins us.

Carry on along the pavement going into the centre of Bilsthorpe crossing two roads on the way.  If you are using buses you might consider starting the walk from the bus stops here as you are on two bus routes rather than one (the 28 as well as the Sherwood Arrow).  About 250m on from the second road you reach a roundabout where you  take the road to the right (Forest Link). This is a road going into a housing estate with lots of red-brick buildings. The road is usually quiet and meanders through the estate. Stay on the main road all the way until you come to the small circular car park where we started.

 

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

 

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 56: Hazel Gap and the Thynghowe Trail in Sherwood Forest

14 Nov

This is a great walk for autumn when you can appreciate the colours of the leaves. Most of the walk is in deciduous woodland and along well maintained, firm tracks which are good for walking on in all conditions. There are a few gentle undulations but this is quite an easy walk in the most famous forest in England, not far from the Major Oak if you wish to add an extra two miles to the walk.

Start:  Hazel Gap, which is about one mile west of Budby on the A616 just after a slight bend to the left.  There are no signs saying Hazel Gap but look for a small area where you can park on the north side of the road where there are waymarks for the Robin Hood Way and National Cycle Route 6.  Unfortunately there are no bus stops close to the walk.  If you are coming by public transport and want to take in some other sights I suggest following the first part of my Walk 30 which starts in Edwinstowe and goes past the new visitor centre before going to the Major Oak.  You can then go to the Centre Tree and from there turn right along the wide track to meet this walk before returning to Edwinstowe.  The extra distance is about three miles.

Distance: 4.8 miles

Map of the Route

From Hazel Gap turn away from the road, bearing slightly to the left, going south-east along a narrow but nice firm path which is part of the National Cycle route 6. The path is compact gravel with a reddish tinge under light tree cover with nice views to the right over fields towards part of Sherwood Forest. Follow it very straight as it descends gently for 600 yards . You come to a road (Netherfield Lane) which is quite busy so take care as you go straight across to reach a quiet road directly opposite. On the right after you have crossed is a lake formed by the River Meden with some of the common water birds often present.

Go straight on along the quiet road past the lake and continue as the road becomes a wide track. You start to go steadily uphill with fields to the left and trees on the right as you go into the forest. Go past a metal barrier. This is a popular cycle track and you may well meet groups of cyclists. About 600 yards from the lake you reach the end of the fields on the left and go under more tree cover as you come to a major track junction and a signpost with a large number of signs indicating the various options available to you.  Carry straight on along the main track which undulates a little over the next part of the walk.  Soon the trees on the left disappear and you see the open heathland near Budby South Forest.  You come under more substantial tree cover again and about half a mile from the previous signpost reach another junction of tracks.  The left hand track goes to the Major Oak which is a little under a mile from here.  Going straight on you can reach the Centre Tree in half a mile.  However, we take the track to the right here.  Follow this for around 600 yards.  The path is straightish but curves a little to the left as you reach a clearing.

Not long after that  you reach another junction of paths.  You have reached the hill of Thynghowe, also known as Hanger Hill.  This has been a meeting place of people in Sherwood Forest for over a thousand years.  It is at the border of three parishes and may even have been the border between the ancient kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia.  The most striking feature is the prominent tree just ahead to the left of the path.  The path we have just reached is Hanger Hill Drive and local people have devised a three mile Trail, the Thynghowe Trail with points of interest marked by wooden posts with letters corresponding to points on the Trail Guide, along it.  Here we are about half way along the Trail.  If you go left you can see more of the Trail but my route goes right here.  Turning right you start to descend.  Surprisingly the path we are following, in the middle of the forest, is a hard, properly surfaced drive which at one time went all the way to Welbeck Abbey.  On the right you shortly see a wooden post and if you look to the right of the path can see two earth banks marking the site of a World War II ammunition store.

Sherwood Forest in Autumn

Near the Thynghowe Trail

The path is straight and in good condition and again undulates a little in the next half mile. Carry on past lime trees and a clearing to the right of the path.  After a little more than half a mile from Thynghowe descend to a major junction of tracks near a large tree on the right.  You are at the bottom of a dip in the path coming across which may have freewheeling cyclists going quite fast so watch for them.   We have also been following the Robin Hood Way for the last half mile and here it goes left.  You can follow that as our route meets it again shortly but on my route we go straight across the wide track ahead and continue along the Trail on a narrower path under trees.  You stay on this straight path for half a mile emerging from the Forest and crossing a bridge over the River Meden.  In fact this is also the Robin Hood Way but here it is coming the other way as it returns to Edwinstowe.

The River Meden

 

Shortly after this the path reaches the quite busy Netherfield Lane again.  Cross carefully and go through a small gate to the right of a house and left of the main gate.  Keep going straight on into woodland again on a narrow, unsurfaced but decent path.  The path climbs a little and at one point you make a small diversion round a fallen tree but it is easy to follow.  After 400 yards you reach a path junction where you turn right onto another track, meeting the other part of the Robin Hood Way again.  This climbs a little more and soon goes into tree cover on a narrower path with fields to the right.  In autumn you will find piles of leaves here which you can scrunch through.  The path rises a little more until after 500 yards you reach the road at Hazel Gap where we started again.