Walk 64: Going West from Halloughton to Fields and Ridge

20 Nov

This walk starts in the village of Halloughton just south of Southwell. It goes through farmland and grassy fields going up to the top of a ridge with good views.

Important note

This walk goes through fields which may well have cows in them. When I did the walk I was followed by the cows in one field which got up quite a pace and got close to me. Many people find this behaviour from cows quite frightening and even though I have experienced it many times it is still unnerving for me when it happens. If you find cows worrying then you may prefer to do another walk. My technique for dealing with cows has been effective although I can’t promise that it will work. I find that cows follow me when I am walking away from them but if I turn to face them they stop. I then walk on a bit before turning again. As long as I turn frequently to face them before they get too close they will keep stopping.

Start: Halloughton village about a mile south of Southwell. If coming by public transport there is a bus stop and shelter opposite the road into Halloughton on the main road and bus route from Southwell to Nottingham.  There are regular Pathfinder (number 100) buses every half hour during the daytime (hourly on Sundays).  If using your own transport you should be able to park on the road through Halloughton.

Distance: 4 miles (6.4 km)

Map of the Route

If starting from the bus shelter cross the main road and walk along the road into Halloughton village. This is a very quiet road as it only goes to the village and then some farms. The road goes slightly down at first and then climbs a little as you enter the village and go past the church on the right. Stay on the road all the way through the village for half a mile. The road is well-surfaced all the way along. As you leave the village the road continues to climb and the surface isn’t as good, although fine for walking.

After another half mile the road comes to a cattle grid at the entrance to a farm driveway. There is no sign indicating that the way ahead is a path but it is. Go through the gateway and follow the drive uphill to farm buildings. When you reach them turn left along a decent farm track for 50m. Go into a grassy field on the right, which may have cows in it. Go along the right of the field soon going downhill and alongside a hedge. The going may become a bit soft underfoot as you reach the bottom of the field.

At the bottom go down steps and cross a narrow bridge over Halloughton Dumble in the trees. Go up the steps on the other side into a small area of woodland. Follow the path to reach a field where you turn right for 300m to reach a driveway near a building. Follow the driveway uphill for 300m until you reach a wide track at the top. Turn left along the track for 700m, admiring the extensive views from the ridge, until you reach a large green electrical box on the left and a small copse.

View from the ridge

Officially the path goes left off the ridge just past the trees and then skirts the wood but you can take a short cut by turning off at the green box and going into the field on the near side of the trees.

Just a short way into the field you meet the official path at the corner of the wood and continue downhill with the hedge just to your left. At the bottom of the field turn right and after fifty metres go left into the trees and back over Halloughton Dumble. This takes you to the bottom of a grassy field which can be a bit damp underfoot.

Turn left for 150m to the corner of the field and then turn right uphill. You soon reach a metal gate which you go through into a larger field. This area of the field may well be muddy. Go on uphill with trees and hedge on your left. This field was the one which had frisky cows in it when I walked through it so please take care. The grass is quite long in this field and it will probably be quite soft ground underneath. At the top of the field go through another small metal gate and almost immediately turn right at a hedge.

After 100m go into another field and follow the left hand edge of this field next to the hedge for 300m. It makes a small right hand jink at one point. At the corner of the field you reach the top of a wider track and carry straight on, bearing very sightly left, downhill for 150m. The track becomes a proper farm track and you follow it for another 300m down to a farmyard where you turn left and go through it down to the road in Halloughton again. The centre of the village is to the right and you can retrace your steps to the start.

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.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire Walk 63: Haywood Oaks and Blidworth Woods

10 Sep

 

This walk follows some of the route of Walk 12.  It starts at the car park in Haywood Oaks just east of Blidworth and largely follows the tracks through the woods and around the edge of the adjoining woods.  It is generally well draining and can be done in any weather as the tracks are good although after particularly wet weather the odd patch may be slightly muddy.  One other thing to bear in mind is that there have been cases where dogs have been taken ill after walking  in Haywood Oaks.  This seems to have occurred in late summer or early autumn. No conclusive reason has been found for this as yet but it may be something that grows at that time of year.

Start: Haywood Oaks Car Park just to the south-east of Blidworth on Baulker Lane, the road to the A614 from Blidworth (if the car park is inaccessible park just off the road by the wide track.  If coming by public transport start from Dale Lane near the end of Blidworth village about half a mile from the car park.

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2km)

Map of the Route

From the car park go back to reach the main track which continues from the car park entrance. This is a good, wide, firm track which is fine to walk on in all conditions. Follow the track downhill away from Baulker Lane. After 500 yards straight it bends to the right and then to the left over the next 300 yards. When the track starts to straighten again and you can see a long straight section ahead we turn right off the main track to go onto a narrower path. The path you want is the one with a field immediately to the right of it. This field often contains pigs. The path goes quite sharply uphill alongside the field before levelling out after 300 yards. Keep going straight on along the path until you come to a house after another 300 yards.

 

Just before you reach the house bear left along the track taking you to a road. Cross the road and turn left to walk along the verge. The road has more traffic than you would expect for a country road so take care. After  200 yards you reach another area of woodland on your right. Take the first path on the right that you come to, going through a small hedge. The  path is narrow and not very obvious through the hedge but soon becomes much wider. Go downhill on a wide track at the edge of the public part of the wood keeping next to a wire fence on your right. The path drops quite steeply downhill along a sandy track. After 400 yards you reach the bottom of the dip and start to climb again along another sandy path bearing slightly to the right to keep to the edge of the wood.

After 600 yards the edge of the wood turns almost at ninety degrees to the right.  The path ahead becomes a wide track but on this walk we stay at the edge of the wood and turn right.  The path narrows but is decent and pleasant among more deciduous trees.  It rises steadily with an open field on your right.  Follow this for 500 yards as far as you can go before reaching the corner of the wood where you turn sharp left.  Stay along the edge of the wood, still with open land to your right.  Follow the obvious path for 400 yards until it goes down a little into the trees and meets a wide track.  This track is the Robin Hood Way which goes up to Blidworth if you turn right (see Walk 12).

 

On this walk we instead turn left along this track for 150 yards going slightly downhill before very soon  going up a small rise.  Where the wider track continues straight on we turn left to go back into the wood.  Follow the edge of the wood on a fairly narrow path which has a few small undulations.  After 250 yards it kinks slightly to the right and soon after turns at ninety degrees to the left.  After 200 yards you meet the main wide track through the wood but don’t follow it.  Instead turn sharp right to stay at the edge of the wood on a narrow but obvious path.  After 250 yards turn left in the wood along the edge path near a neat garden by a house.  250 yards later you reach a corner of the wood and for the first time emerge from full tree cover.  Turn left along the edge of the wood which has a few patches where you are slightly clear of trees.

 

After 150 yards turn right and follow the edge of the wood.  The path slightly leaves the very edge of the wood but you are still close to it.  After nearly half a mile you meet the main wide track in the wood.  Join this main track and follow it uphill for 400 yards until you reach the road at the edge of the wood which you crossed earlier.  Go straight across the road to join a narrow path next to the road.  Turn right along the path but after 150 yards bear left on another path going further into the wood.  Stay on this path crossing a wider path after 300 yards. 

After 500 yards you reach the main wide track in Haywood Oaks which when I did the walk had a large pile of logs by the side of it.  Turn left along this main track which soon reaches the point earlier in the walk where we left it.  It bends right and starts to rise towards two very tall sets of posts with yellow on them that tower over the track.  These are about 100 yards apart but half way between them look for a narrow path going off to the right into the wood.  You can carry on up the main track to return to the start of the walk but for a more interesting and only slightly longer finish turn right along the narrower path. 

  

After 200 yards you reach the edge of the wood with decent views over fields to the east.  Turn left and follow a narrow path along the edge of the wood.  A little further along the path it bears left to go slightly further into the wood and soon reaches the car park where we started.

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Blidworth to Papplewick via Ravenshead

11 Aug

 

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 here is four miles (6km) . The stage described previously 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.


This is the return journey from Blidworth to Papplewick following my previous post which went the other way. This way is shorter and goes across fields and tracks in slightly undulating terrain.

Start: Centre of Blidworth (the first 300m of this walk aren’t on the Robin Hood Way)

Finish: Central Crossroads in Papplewick (just off the Robin Hood Way)

Distance: 7.5 km

Map of the Route 

From the main junction in the centre of Blidworth by Tesco cross to the garage and go up the hill away from the shopping area towards Ravenshead alongside the B6020.  After 300m you reach a war memorial where you join the Robin Hood Way. As you approach the Black Bull pub turn left along Field Lane.  The road climbs for a short way before making a steep descent as you leave Blidworth.  After 200m on this fairly quiet road, that has no pavement so be careful, go right at a footpath sign into a field.  Cross this field and then bear slightly left across two more.  Go straight on along the path between allotments through several narrow fields.  You reach a large field which you go straight across for 500m.

At the other side of the field go through the hedge onto a narrow pavement next to the road from Blidworth to Ravenshead.  Turn left and walk downhill soon crossing a road coming in from the left.  Where the main road bends sharply to the right carry straight on along a wide track.  Follow this track for the next mile.  It goes up and down but is a nice one with good views to the left across fields.  Mostly you are between fields but you pass a small copse as you make quite a testing climb about a kilometre along.  The last section takes you down to a road near a junction.  Go straight across this road and on along Kighill Lane past houses going uphill.

Towards Robin Hood Hill from near Kighill

After 500m you reach the A60 and cross carefully, go straight on along a path just to the left of the driveway opposite, with a hedge on your right, for a short distance.  Follow it as it then wanders through some woodland next to a field on the left.  After 200m go down onto a wider track and turn left for a short way.  Turn right into a thicker area of trees and go downhill then uphill again.  After 500m at the far side of this wood turn left to a T junction of tracks by a hedge.  After 300m turn right at the hedge in the corner of the field and climb steadily for 500m along the line of pylons to reach a gateway at the end of the field next to a road.

Turn left onto a path that stays alongside a road but with ups and downs by trees with views across fields to the right.  After 1km go round a right hand bend and leave the path to cross the road. You reach Robin Hood’s stables and Papplewick Hall on the right at a small patch of grass.  If you are doing the circular walk returning to Blidworth this is where you turn right along the broad track going away from the road and follow my instructions from the previous Robin Hood Way post.

If you are going on into Papplewick you should stay on  the pavement alongside the road and follow it into Papplewick village.  To return to Blidworth use the bus stops on this side of the road and get the 141 Trent Barton bus which runs hourly.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire: Walk 62 – From Epperstone Using Paths and Tracks by Woods, Hills and Fields

10 Jul

 

This walk is a short one around fields and tracks near the village of Epperstone which gains height to give fine views across the county just north of Nottingham.  Most of it is on firm tracks so should be suitable for most conditions.  The route I describe starts and finishes in Epperstone but it is possible to join it half way round if you start from the next village of Oxton.

Epperstone is a small, quiet village with limited facilities.  It does have a well-regarded pub, The Cross Keys, on the Main Street not far from the start of the walk.

Start:  The centre of Epperstone on the quiet main street through the village.  There should be space to park along the street if making your own way there.  If coming by public transport there is the 747 bus every hour or so until around 2pm from Monday to Saturday from Lowdham and Calverton. Then a long wait for the next one.  The walk starts next to the bus shelter in the centre of the village.

Distance: 3.7 miles (6km)

Map of the Route

 

From the bus shelter if you are facing the Main Street go right along the pavement north for 150m until you reach the church.  Go up some steps to reach the churchyard and turn right immediately.  Follow a path going straight through the churchyard directly away from the road.  Leave through a gate to go onto a quiet road with houses ahead.

Go straight on into what appears at first to be a cul-de-sac but as you reach the end you will see a grass path on the right. Follow this narrow path over stiles and between houses.  It gets wider then bends right to go down to a proper road (Chapel Lane).  Turn left there to leave the village.   After 200m look for a footpath sign on the left by a hedge.  Go through a gate in the hedge into a small grass field and cross it.   Then enter a long, narrow grassy field. Aim almost straight across towards the far right corner.  As you cross the field you may see a slight gap in the hedge in the far corner and a gate.   Go through that and then left along a track for 20m to another wide track and turn right along it. 

This track is very straight with fields  on either side and a wood up a rise on the left.  Near a very slight bend left after 500 yards on the track there is a thin metal post with an arrow on the left of the track.  Here go left over a small plank footbridge past a notice saying that this is a more scenic route than the straight track, which it is.  Carry on uphill by a field towards the wood. Turn right next to the wood along the field edge.

 

Follow the edge of the field as it makes a steady climb with occasional flatter sections.  The path makes a kink left at one point then continues uphill towards a house.  After about 1200m since first meeting the wood you near the house and go along a sort of tunnel formed by the wood on your left with trees and hedge on your right.   You emerge from the path and go ahead downhill for fifty metres to a well-surfaced farm road.   This is the highest point of the walk. 

On the left here the farm road comes from near to Oxton and if you are coming from there this is where you join the route.

 

Go down a steep farm road for 300m to a group of buildings and on the left of the road a yellow-topped post indicating the footpath.  Follow the road left into a sort of farmyard area, though now also used for other commercial activities.  After 80m just before you reach a large building ahead turn right to go downhill along a track.  You go down past smaller buildings along a narrower driveway.   After 150m go under trees then right to another yellow post and left out of the farm complex to reach a track.  This is further up the track we walked along earlier on. 

Turn right along this straight track which after a kilometre goes past the metal post where we went up to the wood. If you are returning to Oxton you should turn right here and follow my route to the top of the hill where you turn left and follow the farm road back towards Oxton retracing your steps.

To return to Epperstone you should retrace your steps along the track, across the fields and right along the road into the village.  Once you reach the village stay along the road (Chapel Lane) for 500m going straight on all the way to your starting point where you reach the bus shelter.

 

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.

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Blidworth to Farnsfield

26 May




Start: Centre of Blidworth

Finish: The Green, Farnsfield

Map of the Route

Distance: 3.9 miles

A short, easy, mostly flat walk between villages through woods and then across arable fields.  If you want to use buses to get from one end to the other they are hourly (Stagecoach number 28) and take you “door to door” from the start and finish of this walk.

Note: This is my earlier Walk 13 done in the reverse direction and is my Mansfield to Newark Walk Stage 3: Blidworth to Farnsfield.  I have only repeated the post here for completeness.  I’m intending to write about stages of the Robin Hood Way going to Blidworth and thought that I shouldn’t leave a gap between Blidworth and Farnsfield for anyone following my directions using the Robin Hood Way post titles.


Start from the bus stop near the main junction in the centre of Blidworth next to the Tesco store (on the site of the former Forest Folk pub). Go past Tesco and turn left along Dale Lane (the wide flat road running east) and follow the road for 800 yards, walking along the pavement on the left hand side. While walking along Dale Lane you will cross several side roads and will notice bus stops at regular intervals. There are regular buses from Mansfield and hourly buses that go on to Farnsfield and Newark.

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Path through the trees near Blidworth



As you reach the end of the village immediately after the last house on the left side of the road take a footpath going into the wood. The path through the trees is a pleasant one. Follow the most obvious path through the wood which bears slightly to the left and winds it way through the pine trees. The path is a good one but keep your eyes open for the odd tree root which reaches the path. The path turns a little to the right after two hundred yards and after another hundred yards takes you back out to the edge of the wood near the site of the former Jolly Friar pub, now demolished. At this point turn left. You can either follow the narrow path along the edge of the wood or move ten yards further out to follow a broad grassy ride which runs parallel to the edge of the wood. After two hundred yards you reach a track coming across you. Turn right along this track downhill for fifty yards and then turn left keeping to the wide track.

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Path near Blidworth Woods



After 100 yards leave the main track and take an grassy track to the left running almost parallel to the main one straight ahead. The grassy track runs straight between a tall hedge on the left and trees on the right which become more dense. After 300 yards you reach the end of this path and it appears initially that you have reached a dead end. If you look to the left here you will see a gap and a wood plank forming a “bridge” over a ditch. Cross the plank and enter a field.

Turn right and follow the field edge. If you can, follow the path along the grassy bank on the edge of the field. Occasionally this path can be a little overgrown or uneven and you may have to resort to walking along the edge of the the field itself. After 300 yards you come to a wide farm track. Cross this and go a few yards to the right. Go over a stile by a gate and down into a field. The path across this field is usually quite easy to follow. Go almost straight ahead aiming for the telegraph pole in the middle of the field. Carry on past the telegraph pole until you reach the end of the field and the signpost pictured below.

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Field on the way to Blidworth



Go slightly up a bank through a gap in the hedge to leave the field and enter another. Go straight on following the edge of the field alongside the hedge. The path may be a little uneven and if necessary you may have to go onto the field itself which often has quite a wide margin free of crops. Go all the way to the end of this field around 300 yards away and continue into the next field. As you go you will see over the hedge to the left a caravan park. As you reach the end of the second field you pass a small concrete shed just before a wide farm track. On the other side of the track is a long hedge going up an incline ahead. Go just to the right of this hedge and follow the edge of the field alongside the hedge up the hill. Again the path can be a little uneven and the grass slightly longer than you would want but it isn’t a great problem.

Just beyond the top of the rise you come to another farm track. Turn left along this track which after fifty yards bends sharply to the right and downhill. Follow the track next to a hedge on your left for 200 yards down the hill and then 200 more yards up again. At the top you reach a stile which you can now go around. You approach the gate to a house ahead but you should bear slightly left so that you go across a track and around the property keeping a fence immediately to your right. You will probably by now hear the roar of the traffic from the A614 which is now just ahead. As you come to a large hedge just before the A614 look for a narrow gap to the right where there is a small metal stile. Climb this and go to the verge of the A614.

We need to cross this road but this is a bad place to do so. The traffic is frequent and fast and partly obscured by a bend when crossing from this side. You can cross here but the best thing to do is to go downhill to the left towards the roundabout and cross at the island just before it. This takes you to the edge of the car park for the White Post Inn where you may wish to stop for food and drink. Turn back up the hill for 100 yards until you are opposite the point where you emerged on the other side of the road. Go into the field on your left either by using the stile or a gap in the hedge about ten yards before it. The path isn’t very clear in this field but you should follow the edge of the field going away from the A614 keeping a hedge just to your left.

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Looking back towards Farnsfield from fields going towards the A614.



At the end of this field the path becomes a bit more obvious although occasionally crops and ploughing may slightly affect it. Aim slightly to the right across the next field where you should see a gap in the hedge at the far side of the field. Go through the hedge and follow the path through another four quite narrow fields in each case bearing slightly to the right. You then come to a hedge and bank where you must climb steps up to reach the next field. In the previous fields you have been crossing in the middle of long fields but now you follow the hedge at the field edge. After 300 yards you reach the end of this field and pass under a tree in the corner which brings you into a very large field extending from the road a few hundred yards away on your left to well past you on the right. Cross the field straight on along an obvious path aiming for the hedge 400 yards ahead of you. You are at the highest point of the field looking left across to the road which runs from the White Post to Farnsfield.

As you reach the hedge at the far side of the field go just to left of it and follow it as far as a kissing gate. The field becomes more enclosed and as you go through the gate you come to a nice small, grassy field between hedges. Continue alongside the hedge through another gate into another shady field where a bench awaits if you wish to rest. The way continues straight on along the wide track between hedges and gradually becomes a lane (Vicarage Lane). 300 yards from the bench you come to a road at an extremely sharp bend. If you wish you may continue straight on downhill along the road which after a left turn at the bottom of the hill takes you into Farnsfield at The Green, the main bus stop in the village, which is on your right with “The Lion” pub just ahead. However, there is no pavement or footway for the 200 yards down the hill and the road does have some traffic. My choice here would be to add a few minutes to your walk by going through the gate into the field on the left at the end of Vicarage Lane.

The field is a pleasant grassy one, often occupied by sheep or horses. Aim straight ahead from the gate going down quite a sharp slope to the bottom of the field before a small upslope to a gate at the far end. This brings you out beside the Mansfield road next to a bus stop, from where you can catch a bus back to Blidworth, Rainworth and Mansfield. If you want to finish this walk at the main stop in the village, The Green, turn right from the field and walk along the pavement for 150 yards until you reach The Green where a tree stands in the middle of an island between three roads. The main bus stop is on your right over the road past the tree. Alternatively you may wish to stop for refreshment at The Lion pub on the other side of the main road.

April is the cruellest month, supposedly. It is also the dryest.

8 May

The most remarkable thing about the past month apart from the extraordinary lockdown situation has been the glorious weather. The paths have changed from quagmires and paddy fields to hard, arid prairies.  Tracks that I have avoided since last autumn because I would be sliding around or getting soaked feet have become accessible again.

The official statistics for the month are now in and show that it was the sunniest April ever recorded and one of the dryest.  We have been keeping rainfall records since 2007 at home in Farnsfield and can give a more local perspective.  It was the fifth dryest of any month since we started recording figures, with 13.75mm of rain.  Until the rain came in the last three days it was actually on course to be easily the dryest month ever as only 1.5mm had fallen compared to the record of 9mm.  That record was from April 2013 and what is noticeable from the stats is how often April is dry.  Six of the top ten dryest months since 2007 have been in April.  (Incidentally the wettest month of all was April 2012, the exception that proves the rule).   

Apparently the explanation for this is that the south-westerly winds from the Atlantic which tend to produce a wetter climate are at their weakest at this time of year.  As the spring and summer progress the winds strengthen and the months gradually get wetter.

My own theories about our weather based purely on my intuition with a bit of science that I recall seeing is that we are getting longer spells of unchanging weather.  It seems to me that the incredibly settled April we just had, where the weather hardly changed for weeks, followed a pattern.  The winter just gone was one of the wettest ever seen where it seemed to rain consistently on many days.  There weren’t many huge totals on any one day but the accumulation over months were overwhelming.  The end of the winter saw a pattern of storms or near-storms coming in from the south-west every weekend for five weeks.  I had first noticed this trend a couple of years ago.  In June and July we had almost a month with no rain at all where every day seemed the same. In other recent years we have had periods with a “blocking pattern” of weather which doesn’t shift.  One idea about this is that the jet stream, which has a large role to play in our weather is getting, caught in blocking patterns because global warming is melting Arctic ice and changing the flow of the jet stream above it.

The April weather has opened up some paths again, as I said earlier.  In fact they are as dry now as they would normally be in high summer .  Two paths I often use to measure how wet things are underfoot are the ones through Combs Wood from Combs Lane to the south of Farnsfield.  The first path into Combs Wood if walking from Farnsfield is one going straight uphill by a hedge.  As the path enters the wood it gets narrow and for most of the winter is so muddy that you have to straddle the path and step carefully with one foot on either side of the mud.  After a normal winter it is dry enough to walk up comfortably by the middle of March but this year it wasn’t until early April.  Now it’s fine, as is the top of the hill on this path which has been quite badly churned up all winter.

The second path into the wood goes diagonally across a large field before entering the wood.  The path through the wood is one of the wettest in the area and is usually too wet to walk until summer.  Even then you often have to follow extra paths made alongside the main one that avoid the worst mud.  I have recently been through and it was as dry as I can remember it in April.  If you want to check out this attractive woodland path now is a good time.  It is on the Robin Hood Way route, incidentally, and I wrote a description of the Robin Hood Way from Farnsfield to Southwell which follows this path.

 

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.

 

A Wandering Mind – Love (Walking) In The Time Of Corona

20 Apr


Going for a walk is a popular activity at the moment. For anyone cooped up inside, especially when the weather is good for the first time this year, it’s great to be able to get out. I went for a ten mile walk on a lovely sunny day this week from Farnsfield to Kirklington and Roe Wood. I would perhaps expect to encounter half a dozen people on this walk but this time I must have met twenty . Everyone was keeping their distance, even on the narrower paths.

The most recent walk I did was from home in Farnsfield in late March.  I went along Brickyard Lane and across the Southwell Trail before bearing right across the next field.  It’s amazing how the field has changed in just a week of dry weather.  I had avoided the field for months as there were so many puddles and so much mud but now after one small patch the field’s surface was almost rock hard and the clods of earth just off the path were awkward to walk on if keeping your distance.  I looked in on the lake near Kirklington where a few tufted ducks swam in the centre.  I reached Kirklington and went on to the second, smaller pond but not many birds were around as wood was being burnt on a bonfire nearby.

Large Pond near Moor Farm, Kirkington

 

Smaller Pond near Kirlkington

My route took me to Roe Wood, about a mile north-east of Kirklington, on my Walk 16.  I hadn’t been this way for a long time and the path wasn’t as clear as it had been then.  The walk goes along a tunnel of trees which I love walking along.  In Walk 16 I say how beautiful this is and when the leaves are on the trees it is even better so I recommend doing this walk a little later in the year.  I used to go along this path regularly when I was training as a competitive athlete but since then have only been here a few times.  Revisiting it is like seeing a friend you used to know but haven’t seen for ages.  The path down to Roe Wood was another that had obviously dried recently.  Hoofprints went to a depth of at least three inches and had to be avoided to preserve my ankles.

The last time I was here as I reached Roe Wood the path was blocked by a mound of rubble and I had to detour through the adjacent farmyard.  Things were much better now as the path ran alongside the wood with no obstructions.  The paddocks of horses next to the path had been very cut up especially in the corners, another reminder of the wet winter we’ve had.  Just past the paddocks the path crosses a narrow wooden footbridge where one of the planks is a bit rickety.  A little after this I joined the track which goes off to Winkburn village to the right.  I turned left towards Roe Wood again.  Just to the right of the track at the top of the rise was an industrial bird scarer, one which makes a really loud bang like a cannon.  I was relieved it hadn’t gone off before I knew it was there as it would have given me quite a shock and wondered if there were any regulations about them being next to paths.  I was about 100 yards along the track when the cannon went off.  Even that far along it was enough to startle me.

The route follows the track by the wood then goes left into a field beside the wood.  At the top of the hill I turned right away from the wood along a narrow path where I saw chiffchaffs, always the first of the summer migrants to arrive and a week earlier than I have seen them before, and a jay.  This path twists and turns between the trees but is basically straight along the narrow strip between large arable fields on the left and grass on the right.  I don’t often see people along this path but this time I met two pairs of walkers which meant stepping just off the path so everyone could keep their distance.  The path continues along to Dukes Wood but I left it to turn out onto the fields just by a surprisingly large puddle, a few feet across, the biggest I saw on the walk.

I crossed what I call “the plateau”, a very large expanse of fields, on a wide track, before descending a nice path past trees into a field overlooking the lakes and the old Rodney school.  I returned to the small pond and crossed a field with ewes and lambs.  As I approached the gate in the corner I was expecting two lambs there to run off.  They only moved a little and after going through the gate int o another of sheep I found why.  Each ewe had a number sprayed onto it and her lambs had the same number.  The first field had sheep with blue numbers and the second field orange numbers.  A “blue” lamb was in the “orange” field and was trying to get through a too narrow gap back into the other field to join its mother and siblings, the ones in the corner.  One of the “orange” ewes was also butting the blue lamb, although not too aggressively, every time it got close.  I thought about trying to reunite the blue family myself but then noticed the farmer was in the farmyard nearby.  I told him what had happened.  He thanked me and said “I’ll make a shepherd of you” before opening a gate to let the lamb through to its mother.  

I went past the old Kirklington station and across the fields to Edingley.  The last time I went this way was before Christmas when the path had several inches of standing water in places and my feet were soaked when I got home.  This time the path was fine.  However, the path from near Edingley church across the fields to Allesford Lane, which I had also been avoiding wasn’t.  There are often puddles by the gates after wet weather here and I had hoped that after a dry week it would be clear.  The middle field is always the worst one and there was still a few inches of water.  I decided to go to the left hand edge of the field where ther . e is another gate.  Usually you have to climb over it but this time it was slightly open and I ducked under thorns that were nearby to go through.   I think that after more dry weeks this path waill now be fine, though be aware that there are several gates on this part of the route which you should consider in the current Covid-19 climate.

The rest of the way to Farnsfield via Cotton Mill Farm was clear although a young cow was blocking the path temporarily in the field going to the Acres.  It stepped away as I approached and gave me room to get past with no alarms before it returned to bellow at the cows in the next field.  This path can be a bit narrow between the hedge on one side and barbed wire fence on the other which sometimes leans in towards the path.  At the end of the field the gate next to the stile has fallen over leaving a gap.  You reach the Acres and can cut through by the allotments to reach the Parfitt Drive fields.  From there you can take the direct route to the main road through Farnsfield across the main field area or follow the narrower paths to Quaker Lane, Sunnyside and Tippings Lane.  If taking these and you meet someone coming the other way you should try to keep your distance.  Since the social distancing etiquette rules came in it takes me longer to plan routes now as I have tried to avoid routes with narrow paths and gates, something I hadn’t even considered.