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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

Walking The Trent Valley Way: Rolleston to Newark

26 Jul

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

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

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

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

Distance: 12.4 km (7.7 miles)

Map of the Route

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

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

Tree line on the golf course

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View towards the Trent Valley from the top of the hill

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

You enter Kelham village and reach a sharp right hand bend.  Follow the pavement around the bend and carry on past The Fox pub on the left. If you have walked from Rolleston you may want to stop here for refreshment. If not, continue along the pavement crossing a minor road on the left before the road rises slightly as it crosses the River Trent bridge. On the far side of the river there is another sharp right hand bend which sometimes causes problems for larger vehicles trying to negotiate it. As you start to follow this bend round look for a wide track on the left, going away from the road, which you should turn along.

The temptation is to carry on along this straight track but the path you want actually leaves the track almost as soon as you reach the bottom of the slope coming away from the road.  Look for a path leaving the main track to the right going into a small grassy field.  Cross the field through long grass trying to avoid the nettles and aiming for a kissing gate with a yellow post indicating the footpath about 100 yards away.

The nature of the next fields may differ from my description as I did this walk last summer.  In fact it will probably be easier to negotiate them when the crops haven’t reached their full height.  At the time of my walk the next field of oil-seed rape had a clear path made through the crops.  If the path isn’t obvious when you do the walk you should keep going in the same direction as when you crossed the grassy field.   Actually the path goes almost straight for the next half mile across the next three fields.

This first field is about 300 yards across, the second is slightly further across.  As you leave this field you may find that the next one you enter contains sheep. This third field is about 400 yards long and you should follow the line of the hedge just to your left.  I found that the temporary fence to contain the sheep was very close to the field edge and the narrow gap was a little awkward.  If this fence is still there you may be able to step over it and walk just inside it where you have a bit more room.  Leave this field in the far left-hand corner to enter another field which is about 150 yards straight across and opens up to your left  Go straight across this to the end of a line of trees and from there enter another more enclosed field .  This field is only 100 yards across, mostly surrounded by trees and you should stay on the left hand side by the hedge.  The way out only becomes apparent as you get close to the far side of the field where you will see a gap in the corner.

Leave the field in this corner where you cross a dyke and go straight over the next field for 200 yards.  Leaving this field you come to the rugby club.  Cross the rugby pitches towards the large clubhouse pictured below but pass to the left of all these buildings going almost straight on aiming for the obvious gap in the hedges you see ahead. You go very close to a small hut by the pitch just before going through the gap in the hedge.  This leads to another set of pitches which you go straight across in the same direction you have been walking.  The prominent spire of the church next to Newark Market place shows how near you are to finishing the walk and may give you an extra spring in your step.

Newark Rugby Club

Newark Rugby Club

At the end of these pitches you go up some steps to reach the A617 again.  Very carefully go straight across the road and down some more steps on the far side. Cross the corner of a small field to reach a slightly larger grassy field which you should go straight across.  This brings you to another potentially busy road, the Newark by-pass (A46).  Cross this carefully and enter another small field.  Go straight across this and through the treeline at the far side.  Going up a bank brings you onto the old Kelham Road at the end of a cul-de-sac.  Keep going almost straight on and follow the road for 300 yards all the way to the far end where it meets the main road into Newark, bearing right at the small fork in the road near the main road.  Turn right at the end and go over the level crossing next to Newark Castle railway station.

Continue alongside the main road passing the Cattle Market on the right and soon reaching the bridge over the river Trent.

Newark Castle