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Exploring Further Into Nottinghamshire With My Walks

30 Oct

This month is the ninth anniversary of the start of this blog. As with all of these things it takes a while to become widely known and after a slow start I have now had more than 125,000 views of the blog. Last year there were over 35,000 views of these pages as walking became so popular. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit and for your kind words and comments.

I have now described more than seventy walks in the area around Farnsfield and central Nottinghamshire. I have found it quite difficult to come up with new walks so close to home and I’ve decided that I will expand the range of the walks to include the rest of Nottinghamshire.

Mostly I want to do this at first to be able to extend my descriptions of the long-distance trails, the Robin Hood Way and Trent Valley Way, that I have covered when they come through central Notts. I have also thought of other walks in the county that I will link together to make my own longer trails. This week I have finally completed my walk around the county in a trail I devised called The Nottinghamshire Way.

I will also try to include plenty of short circlular walks and if I find more good local walks nearer to home I will write about them. If you want any advice about local walks please write to me and I will try to help.

Thanks

Rob

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.

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.

 

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire: Walk 55: Egmanton, Laxton and Moorhouse

19 Sep

This walk visits three villages towards the north of the Central Notts area. It follows paths, quiet roads and tracks between the villages and skirts the edge of Egmanton Wood. It has a few small climbs and in places has extensive views across flat, open fields.

Getting to these villages by public transport isn’t the easiest as the bus services are patchy to put it kindly. Egmanton is just over a mile along a quiet road from Tuxford which has a decent number of buses and can be approached from there if you don’t mind adding a bit more to your walk. The walk from Tuxford is described in my Nottinghamshire Way walk which also follows this walk as far as Moorhouse. If coming by car you should be able to find somewhere convenient on the street in Egmanton or Laxton or at the visitor centre and Dovecote Inn car park in Laxton.

Start: The Old Plough Inn on the Main Street in Egmanton is a good landmark.  The pub is open at lunchtimes and in the evening and also does meals.

Distance: 6.5 miles

Map of the Route

From the Plough in Egmanton turn left along Main Street so that the church is on your left. At the junction after 100 yards take the right fork along Weston Road for 200 yards. Look for a wide lane going off to the right (Wood Lane) and turn up that.  The lane rises steadily.  It is straight and initially properly surfaced but soon, after you go past the last of the houses the track becomes gravel. The track bears right after 500 yards as you near Egmanton Wood.

Egmanton Wood

Follow the firm track up to the wood and follow it round the wood’s edge for the next 500 yards. Just after the wood cuts away to the left there is a single tree straight ahead with a post under it at a junction of tracks.  At the tree turn right and go downhill along a field boundary for 200 yards then turn left and soon after that right along the field edge. Go uphill for 400 yards with a hedge on your right to reach a road.

Turn left along this relatively quiet road for 300 yards. At a slight bend to the right where there is a good wide verge look to the right for a gate with a blue rope on it that takes you into a field on the right, this is next to a more obvious wide open gap into a neighbouring field.  Go through the gate with the blue rope.  There are no signs here but this is officially a bridleway. Go slightly uphill along the left hand edge of the field with a hedge on left.   There is no clear path but there is a wide field edge with slightly uneven rough grass and the going is reasonable.  Go straight on into a second field. After another 300 yards you see a small paddock ahead just after a low horse jump.  You can step over that and go straight on or go just to the left of the hedge and follow a track for 50 yards to an information board.  Then go right again to the paddock which is at the edge of the old Laxton cricket field, now becoming overgrown. Turn left to go past a small ditch and up a bank which marks the edge of the site of an old motte and bailey castle.  Go through a small gate just ahead.  This takes you to the main entrance to the castle site but the gate into it seems to be often padlocked.

Laxton’s Motte and Bailey Castle

This is one of several points of interest of this historic village which is especially notable for being the only village in England to still use the ancient open field system of farming.  For a walk around those fields see my Walk 49

Turn left downhill to the Dovecote Inn where you can also find a visitor centre on the opposite side of the pub car park.

Go down the hill from the Dovecote Inn on the Inn side of the road.  After 80 yards go left at a wooden  footpath sign and gate up into a grassy field.  There is a short sharp climb up the right hand side of the field which may well contain sheep.   At the top of the field go through a metal kissing gate onto a short stretch of path then through another gate into a field on the right.  Turn left along the edge of the field until you reach a football field.  Keep straight on along a fairly indistinct path past the football pitch on your left and then between fields.  The path is a bit rough and uneven.  After 400 yards you reach a hedge but keep straight on until you come out onto a wide track with a firm surface.  Turn right and follow this track downhill with hedges either side.  The path becomes a little rougher with views towards Egmanton Wood across an open field on the left.  At the end of the proper track keep straight on by a field with a hedge to your left to a slight gap at the end of the field.  Turn right and follow the edge of the field for 300 yards .  There is a tall hedge on your right at first which then gets lower as you go down to a road.   Turn left along this very quiet single track road to reach the hamlet of  Moorhouse after half a mile.

Approaching Moorhouse

Moorhouse

At the junction in Moorhouse turn left along a narrow road which soon goes uphill.  After 150 yards go left into a field at a footpath sign.  In the field keep the line of trees on your left as you follow it for 100 yards then at a hedge at the end of the field turn right along the field edge aiming towards a pylon. Fifty yards after the pylon go left into a large grassy field.  In this field aim right heading towards the biggest tree in the hedge at the top of slope about 150 yards along.  Go over a stile then turn left alongside the hedge and into a field going towards a wood.  As you reach the wood turn right uphill with the wood on your left and a large field on the right.  As you get higher there are decent views to the east and north where you can see the towers of Cottam power station, and you may be able to see Lincoln Cathedral on the top of the ridge far to your right.

East of Egmanton Wood looking north with power station cooling towers in the distance.

Follow the edge of the wood for a mile making a few turns on the way.  You are going up at first then down again before making a left turn through a hedge.  Follow a track close to the north of the wood on grassy verge next to a field on the right. After 300 yards bear right across this field to reach the track by which you left Egmanton earlier in the walk.  Turn right and retrace your steps to Egmanton.  As you reach the village you can either go straight back to the Old Plough or you can visit the church first.  To do this, as you reach the end of the track (Wood Lane) go straight across Weston Road to reach a small bridge over a stream.  Then bear left across the field for a short distance to reach the road next to the church with its impressive tower.  To return to the Plough from here turn left for 80 yards to Main Street and the pub is just to your right.

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.