Tag Archives: Combs Wood

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.

 

The Robin Hood Way: Farnsfield to Southwell via Robin Hood Hill

8 Aug

 

For my first post about The Robin Hood Way I tackle  the walk from Farnsfield to Southwell via Robin Hood Hill

Look for these waymarks to guide you

Start: The Green, Farnsfield. The main bus stop for buses to Mansfield and Nottingham. Close to the church and opposite the Lion pub.

Finish: Near Southwell Minster on Queen Street

This loop wasn’t part of the original Robin Hood Way but is a nice addition with good views from much of it.  It goes from Farnsfield, through Combs Wood and across fields to Halam and Southwell.

Distance: 17 km (10.6 miles) if including the detour to Robin Hood Hill.  Otherwise about 14km.

Map of the Route

The Walk

From The Green and the bus shelter if facing the road go left and almost immediately round a corner. After 50m the road bends sharply right uphill but we carry on straight across a cul-de-sac entrance onto a tarmac path to join the Robin Hood Way.  This path goes straight on between houses on the left and a high wall with trees on the right.

After 250m you reach Beck Lane which you cross to reach a wooden gate.  Go through this into an open grassy area with animals in fields on either side of the path.  There are often rare breed sheep and alpacas here.  The path goes straight on, slightly uphill, between wooden fences for 400m until you reach a narrow exit through a hedge by a bench with views back to Farnsfield church.

Go into an arable field which you cross bearing slightly left for 100m to reach a narrow path under trees.  Follow this path for 200m to come to another bench and a narrow farm lane called Combs Lane.  Turn right.

Stay on this lane for the next kilometre.  You can make a short detour to the Halifax Bomber Memorial which is signposted 150m along the lane.  This adds about 900m as you will be returning to Combs Lane.

About 600m from where you joined  Combs Lane a path is signposted which goes uphill on the side of a field to a wood, Combs Wood.  Ignore this path and continue along the lane between hedges for another 400m.  At the next field entrance on the left follow a signed footpath going diagonally across the large arable field towards the wood.  This goes down and then up for 400m to a stile into the wood.

Once in the wood follow the obvious track through the wood which goes straight for 80m, though this can often be wet, then turns right across wooden planks which once formed a footbridge.  The main path turns left straight after this but is often wet so it is better to go straight for another 20m along a narrow path into the trees then turn left to follow a path parallel to the main track which joins it again about 150m further uphill where it is dryer.  This narrower path can be slightly overgrown with brambles.  The main track then comes to a stile.

Go over the stile into a grassy field which occasionally has cows in it.  Go up a steep climb along the left hand side of the field for 150m, initially over a few small rocks, to the top of the field where you go over another stile.

This takes you onto a firm track.  Turn left going slightly uphill along this gravel track under trees for 150m where you see a footpath sign on the right. The main Robin Hood Way route goes straight on here but for the worthwhile diversion to Robin Hood Hill which returns here adding about three kilometres to the walk follow the route described in italics.

Go through the gap in the hedge on the right by the footpath sign past a large log which takes you into a large field.  Turn right to follow the field edge by a hedge for the next 600m.  There is no worn path but the grass is short and the walking easy.  Turn left at the first corner you reach where the hedge goes left for 20m to a wide gap.

Go right through the gap into another large field with good views ahead of the country to the west as the ground slopes away.  There is a clear track ahead across the field for 150m.  Then turn left along another path for 300m to the end of the field, passing a small area of trees on the right.  Leave the field by a gate and go out onto a quiet road, Greaves Lane.  Go straight across and to the right of a gate opposite.

You reach a wide track.  Follow the track away from Greaves Lane towards a large tree 200m away.  The track is firm and quite a good surface to walk on running between fields. Go under the tree. 100m past the tree before the track starts turning look for a footpath going up the slope to the right to the corner of a wood. Take this path for 50m to the corner of the wood and then follow the edge of the field next to the wood keeping the wood to your left. There is no clearly defined path here but the way just follows the border  between field edge and wood for 300m making one sharp turn to the left and right on the way. You then descend to a metal kissing-gate which takes you from the large arable field you have followed around the wood, into a grassy field.

You have now entered an area which was once a ancient hill-fort, Oldox Fort. You are at the bottom of a steep, grassy slope. In the summer this grass can be quite long unless it has been cropped by the sheep which are sometimes there. In springtime take care to avoid disturbing the sheep if there are lambs around. You can go straight up this slope to the top of the hill but it is quite a tough (but short) climb. I prefer to go straight on at the bottom of the slope aiming for a round mound ahead.  This is another part of the fort and is a more gentle climb. The top gives excellent views for miles around, particularly to the west where the ground falls away quite steeply. The area immediately beyond is flat before rising again a few miles away. This allows extensive views for  twenty miles.  To the north-west you can see the redbrick villages of Rainworth and Blidworth. Further south are large areas of forest. if you look closely you can see the spire of Annesley church to the west. To the south is Calverton and in the distance Dorket Head at the edge of Nottingham. To the east a valley restricts the views but it is an attractive grassy, wooded valley. For me this is one of the finest views in Nottinghamshire.

Oldox Fort

Oldox Fort

View from Robin Hood Hill

View from Robin Hood Hill

DSCF0033

 

There are paths around the encampment. From the top of the mound turn back the way you came but instead of  going straight back bear to the right to make your way up to the top of the hill. This way to the top is less taxing than going straight up from the field entrance. The hill is called Robin Hood Hill on the maps although I am not aware of any stories connecting him to the site. There are a few trees at the top but they don’t obstruct the view much. This is the highest point of the walk and for many miles ( metres high).  You can see why it was used as an encampment with the views it allows. From here retrace your steps to Greaves Lane and Combs Wood.

Returning to the main route you should walk along the wide track in the wood which is in some places composed of loose white stones.  Stay on this track, which narrows, for 600m until you reach a junction of paths.  Turn right downhill through an open barrier and go more steeply downhill on quite a narrow path with steep sides and trees close by.  The path is usually in good condition though in wet weather there may be a few slightly muddy patches.  After half a mile the path reaches a metal gate and you go out to a quiet road (Greaves Lane).

Turn left and follow the lane for 300m where you see a house on the right.  Go to the drive of the house.  After ten metres look for a footpath gate on the left and go through it onto a grassy area.  Turn right to go up the hill with a field on your left and the house and outbuildings on your right. The grassy path rises straight up for 150m to the end of the field and then turns sharply left to go into a strip of trees.  The path here goes uphill and is narrow next to a field before going along a sunken path between two banks.  Follow this path for 200m until you reach a gate. At the side of the gate is a narrow gap with a metal piece which can be lifted up to pass through, which I find slightly quicker than using the gate.  Just after the gate look to your left for a gap in the hedge. If you go through you will find an information board about the Robin Hood Way mounted on a large stone plinth.  There is also a bench which you may well want to take advantage of as it gives great views back to Farnsfield.

Resume our walk by going to the top of the path just a few yards up from the plinth where it joins a farm road  Officially this is Carver’s Hollow although there is no sign to this effect.  Bear left to go straight along the farm road along the ridge with good views to the north.  After 200 yards you meet a wide track coming in from the right.  Turn along this track which approaches a farm after 80m or so.  As you get close to the farm the track turns to the left.  Keep following the track, which is these days a good one, almost straight for 400m with hedges on either side.  In places on the right you may be able to see through gaps in the hedge where you can see over to the next ridge.  At the end of the track you pass the mound of a small reservoir on the left and reach a farm road.

The road drops quite steeply in both directions but we want to go straight across it and into the field opposite.   Follow the hedge along the top of the ridge for the next 600m.  The path isn’t clearly defined but is easy to follow if you just keep the hedge immediately to your right.  It can be slightly uneven in places but is pretty reasonable.  The views to the left are good as the field falls away down the slope.

At the end of this long field you go through a kissing gate and into a small copse.  Go down the path through the trees with a hedge on your left.  After 80m pass a red brick house on your right and enter an open field with a few trees in it.  Continue straight on down alongside the hedge to the bottom of the field and then turn left to go along a narrow path with a solid wooden fence to your right and a hedge to your left.  After 50m the path drops to a concrete bridge over a stream surrounded by trees.  Cross the bridge and go out into a small grassy area near a tennis court.  Go straight across the grass and through a gate onto the drive to the house.  Carry on ahead along the driveway for fifty yards until you reach the road.  This is the main street in Halam (Church Lane).  If you wish to finish your walk in Halam turn left for 500m until you reach the main road from Southwell where you can catch buses either onwards to Southwell or back to Farnsfield and beyond

To continue walking to Southwell turn right and follow the road which very soon turns sharply left and then right again.  Take care here as there is no pavement although the road is quite wide and you can keep well to the side.  As the road straightens out again to leave the village you should look to the left for a footpath.  Turn along this path which goes away from the road rising steadily.  The path is narrow and runs between tall hedges.  Occasionally it is a little overgrown but generally is in reasonable condition.  The path curves to the left and after 150m reaches a kissing gate at the bottom of a large field rising quite steeply up a hill.  The field often contains cows.  Go into the field and go up the hill bearing slightly to the right aiming for the far corner at the top of the hill and keeping a fence across the field immediately to your right.  At the top take a few minutes to look at the view back to where we have walked earlier (pictured here).

Looking West to Halam and our route beyond.

Go through the gate away from the field and go on up into an old orchard now occupied by fruit being grown in polytunnels.  Go straight on through the field keeping the tunnels to your left and tree-lined hedge to your right.  After 200m leave the field in the corner and go into a well-manicured area of grass which is actually the large garden of a house.  Keep straight on along the edge of the grass and pass a rather lonely looking bit of fence.  You are now alongside the driveway to the house and should follow the grass next to it all the way to the drive entrance.

Leave the driveway and go onto a narrow road (Saversick Lane).  Turn right and follow the road for 300m until it rises to meet the Oxton-Southwell road.  Go straight across the road, taking care as it can be quite busy with traffic, and then go down a steep slope along the narrow road opposite (Leachcroft Hill).  After 200m the road bends sharply to the left and you should follow this turn.  You are now entering the Westhorpe area of Southwell.  After another 100m turn right at a road junction.  Follow this lane (The Holme) as it goes slightly uphill and then after a couple of bends past houses downhill to the bottom of a hollow.  Cross the bridge over a stream and immediately after the bridge turn left along a footpath.  At first the path rises to reach a field.  Follow the path straight on alongside the hedge and trees on your left and a large field rising to your right.

Through the trees on your left is a classic example of a dumble, a stream at the bottom of a wooded slope.  This feature even gave its name to a nearby pub.  If you want to have a look at the dumble take the steps down from the path you are on when another footpath crosses it after 200 yards but return to this junction of paths.

Go uphill on a path for 400m where you reach a hedge on your left and the top of the hill.  Go straight on downhill for 300m and through a gap in the hedge.  There is an information board here.  Turn right for 80 yards to the field corner then turn left to climb uphill for 300m by the field edge.  Go through a gap and wooden gate at the end of the field and enter another one, affording fine views.  Go straight on uphill for 150m next to a hedge on a good path to the top of the hill.  There are fine views of Southwell, including the distinctive pepperpots of the Minster, behind you.  Also prominent are the towers of Staythorpe power station a little further to the right.  At the entrance to the field there is also an information board,

 

View of Southwell and Southwell Minster

View of Southwell and Southwell Minster

You will see a gap in the hedge which you should go through.  Turn left along a narrow lane and and continue along the lane for another 400m until we come to the main road.  Carefully cross this and turn right for fifty metres to reach an entrance road into Brackenhurst College.  Ignore this one but after another 250m you reach the main entrance road to the college.  Turn left along this road and enter the College complex.  Stay along this road for 400m to a junction near a car park.  Turn left along a road under trees with football pitches on the left for 200m and another car park on the left to reach a junction with a road from the left by some more buildings.

On the right there is a grassy track and a signpost with a Robin Hood Way marker.  Turn along this track where you soon have to negotiate two metal gates with a farmyard on the left.  Carry straight on across a small grassy area to a wooden gate.  Go through this and onto a quiet, narrow road.  Go straight on along this for 50m to the next bend in the road where you leave the road to go into a large field.  Bear left diagonally across the arable field on a clear path for 300m.  At the next field bear right on a clear path for another 250m to the corner of the field by a hedge where you turn sharp left to follow another hedge.

This soon starts to go downhill quite steeply and reaches a fence next to school playing fields on the left.  The path is squeezed between this fence and the hedge and is quite narrow.  After 300m you reach the bottom of the hill and the end of the playing fields.  Go under trees to reach a wide path and turn left for a short distance to reach a surfaced road.  This is a private road and won’t be busy.  Turn left along the road across a stream, the Potwell Dyke, which when you see it will probably find hard to believe it caused so much chaos when flooding a few years ago.

Carry on along the road on an avenue of lime trees going past a playground on the right, bowling green and tennis courts on the left for 250m to the corner of the park and the arches of the War Memorial.

Southwell Minster

Southwell Minster

DSCF0738

Turn right out of the park, along a short section of road and then along a path past houses on your left and into the grounds of Southwell Minster.  Fifty yards further on turn right towards the main entrance of the Minster.  If you have never been to the Minster before you really should take this opportunity to go inside and look round.  If you don’t wish to go inside then walk along the path  around the outside of the minster, turning right and then take the first path on the left which takes you out onto Church Street where the main bus stop is very close.  This side of the road is for buses to Mansfield and over the road you can go to Newark.

Walk 8: Farnsfield to Robin Hood Hill (near Oxton)

20 Jul

A walk from Farnsfield over the fields to Greaves Lane. Then along this quiet lane to Robin Hood Hill near Oxton which has excellent views. Returning to Farnsfield via Combs Wood. This is quite a long walk to attempt if you start and finish in Farnsfield.  It is possible to shorten the walk by parking at the top of Greaves Lane and doing the section to Robin Hood Hill, which is the best part of the walk.

Follow the first part of  Walk 4 over the fields and along Greaves Lane (here in italics)

Distance:  7 miles

Start: Parfitt Drive Farnsfield.  This is a road coming off the Southwell Road about 100 yards east of the Plough pub in the village.  There is a bus stop on the main road very nearby and a small car park by a playground.

Parfitt Drive is a quite new development of houses with a large grassy area nearby. Walk past the children’s playground and onto the grass. Pass just to the left of a clump of trees and walk straight on until you reach a metal gate (see photo). Go through the gap next to the gate onto a field with the village allotments. Bear slightly to the right until you reach a wooden fence with a gap which enables you to pass through onto a wide track. Walk on this track for thirty yards towards a metal barrier. Just to the left of this barrier is a gap to walk through where a patch of  shale has been added. Recently a wooden fence has been built which requires a jink to the left of five metres or so before you enter onto the Acres.

The Acres is the main football field in Farnsfield with two pitches at right-angles to each other. The nearer pitch isn’t used by the football club. There were swings just to your left as you walk onto the Acres but now only the rubberised surround remains. Walk straight ahead towards a red-brick building which are the changing-rooms for the football club. After 200 yards you are at the far end of the Acres.

Follow the main path almost straight on as it enters an area of woodland. The trees in this plantation were only planted around twenty years ago but have formed a nice little area to walk through. Over the years various other paths have been formed through the trees. these can be explored if you have time. For this walk I am following the widest path which goes almost straight ahead. The path is a good one on short grass passing between the trees with a clearing and bench on the left after one hundred yards. Another hundred yards beyond this the path dips slightly to a ditch and you leave the woodland.

The path enters a field and rises for about two hundred yards. The field can get a little muddy after wet weather but dries quite well, especially when it is breezy as it is quite open. At the top of the field is a bench which you may wish to take advantage of after the short climb. Looking back from the bench you can see the football pitches again.

Walk straight on by the field edge with a hedge to your left. After 100 yards the hedge ends and the path carries on ahead downhill. It is nearly always well-defined to the bottom of the hollow.  After wet weather it can be a little muddy at the very bottom.  At the bottom you come to a hedge coming in from the right. Go to the left of the end of this hedge and through a gap into the corner of a new field. Our route keeps roughly straight ahead up a steep little hill by a new hedge.  Keep the new hedge, mainly of trees, to your left and follow the field edge up this sharp rise for 200 yards.

At the top of the climb you come to a fence with a stile by another hedge. Nowadays there is a gap by the stile so there is no need to climb the stile itself.  Go through this gap and turn immediately right with the hedge now on your right.  After 50 yards you reach the corner of the field and must turn left going slightly uphill.  After 30 yards you reach the top of the hill. You can see back the way you came all the way to Farnsfield. Ahead of you are views to another ridge and to the east are extensive views towards Newark. On a clear day you can see for miles. To the west you can see Comb’s Wood along the hill.

From the top of the hill go quite steeply downhill along the field edge with the hedge to your right.  The field may have crops in it and if you stick to the very edge of the field the ground is slightly uneven in places. The field and path can get a little muddy but is generally not bad.  After 300 yards you reach the bottom of the hill. Look for one of the gaps in the hedge on the right and go through to the other side of the hedge.  Now with the hedge on your left walk for fifty yards until you reach a stream in a ditch. Turn right here along the edge of the field for fifty yards. The ground here can be wet so you may have to look for  a drier line just in from the field edge.  You come to the end of a farm track on your left leading to a wooden gate. Follow this track over the stream to the gate 80 yards away. Occasionally the gate is open but if it isn’t go to the right of the gate and climb over a stile to reach a road (Greaves Lane) opposite a farm.

Turn right here and walk along Greaves Lane.  The road has a few undulations and bends but doesn’t have much traffic. Nevertheless, you should pay attention near the bends as there are no verges in places.  As you reach the next farm on the left after 300 yards, look to the right of the road for a metal gate and path leading into the woods (Combs Wood).

Where the earlier walk turned up the track into Combs Wood this walk continues long Greaves Lane. You are walking at the bottom of a valley with woods on the slopes to either side. After 400 yards on your right pass a farm. If you look over the hedge just before you reach the farmhouse you will see a good-sized garden pond. Greaves Lane is almost a single track lane here but there is a nice verge to walk on if a vehicle approaches, which isn’t often. Keep going along the lane after the farm as you reach a long straight stretch of road. The trees to the right become less prominent and you can see the fields rising to the top of the ridge. After another 400 yards you reach a slight bend in the road and soon the verge disappears as you climb steeply with the trees to your left now much thicker.  This is the only stretch of the road where meeting a vehicle can be a problem so take care. You will probably be getting short of breath near the top after 300 yards climbing but at the top of the hill the verge reappears and you can admire the view that has opened out ahead of you.

Greaves Lane

Greaves Lane

The road starts to go down again but our route leaves Greaves Lane at this point. On the left at the top of the hill is a wide farm track. Often the gate will be open but if it isn’t go through a gap next to it to reach the track.  Follow the track away from Greaves Lane towards a large tree 200 yards away.  The track is firm and quite a good surface to walk on running between fields. Go under the tree. 100 yards past the tree before the track starts turning look for a footpath going up the slope to the right to the corner of a wood. Take this path for 50 yards to the corner of the wood and then follow the edge of the field next to the wood keeping the wood to your left. There is no clearly defined path here but the way just follows the border  between field edge and wood for 300 yards making one sharp turn to the left and right on the way. You then descend to a metal kissing-gate which takes you from the large arable field you have followed around the wood, into a grassy field.

You have now entered an area which was once a ancient hill-fort, Oldox Fort. You are at the bottom of a steep, grassy slope. In the summer this grass can be quite long unless it has been cropped by the sheep which are sometimes there. In springtime take care to avoid disturbing the sheep if there are lambs around. You can go straight up this slope to the top of the hill but it is quite a tough (but short) climb. I prefer to go straight on at the bottom of the slope aiming for a round mound ahead.  This is another part of the fort and is a more gentle climb. The top gives excellent views for miles around, particularly to the west where the ground falls away quite steeply. The area immediately beyond is flat before rising again a few miles away. This allows extensive views for  twenty miles.  To the north-west you can see the redbrick villages of Rainworth and Blidworth. Further south are large areas of forest. if you look closely you can see the spire of Annesley church to the west. To the south is Calverton and in the distance Dorket Head at the edge of Nottingham. To the east a valley restricts the views but it is an attractive grassy, wooded valley. For me this is one of the finest views in Nottinghamshire.

Oldox Fort

Oldox Fort

View from Robin Hood Hill

View from Robin Hood Hill

DSCF0033

There are paths around the encampment which I will describe in my next walk. However, on this walk I will turn for home. From the top of the mound turn back the way you came but instead of  going straight back bear to the right to make your way up to the top of the hill. This way to the top is less taxing than going straight up from the field entrance. The hill is called Robin Hood Hill on the maps although I am not aware of any stories connecting him to the site. There are a few trees at the top but they don’t obstruct the view much. This is the highest point of the walk and for many miles ( metres high).  You can see why it was used as an encampment with the views it allows. From here retrace your steps to Greaves Lane. Either go back down the hill the way you came or take the quick, steep way down the hill. If you take the direct route down take care as the way is steep and a little uneven in places. If I go down this way I go along the top of the hill for thirty yards towards the wood and then down as it is slightly less steep.

Back at Greaves Lane go straight across the road and over a stile to a footpath. This goes straight across the field for 200 yards to the top of a small clump of trees. Just beyond this you meet a grassy farm track coming up from the farm below. Turn right along this track and walk to the gap in the hedge 200 yards away. Go through the gap into the next field and turn left alongside the hedge. Almost immediately the hedge turns right. Follow this hedge along the field edge for 400 yards. Combs Wood is now getting closer on your left. Keep your eyes open for a gap in the hedge as you get nearer to the trees. Go through this gap and down a bank onto a wide track in the wood.

From here you have a choice of routes. In most cases I would recommend turning right along the wide track for 500 yards until you meet the path in Combs Wood that I described in walk. From there you can follow that route back to Farnsfield. However, if you want to see a different part of Combs Wood follow the variant described here (not recommended after wet weather).

Turn left along the track. It starts to descend slightly after fifty yards. Look on the right for a stile into a grassy field. Go over the stile and drop steeply down the hill following the field edge. In the bottom corner of the field are a collection of rocks which have been dumped there. In this corner go over a stile into the wood. The path continues downhill quite steeply in the wood. This path used to be a very nice one to walk on. Unfortunately over the years the channel which allowed rainwater to run off down the hill has become silted up. This has caused the rainwater to spread over a wide area including the path through the wood. This means that unless it has been very dry you will have to try and find the least wet and muddy way through. The wood itself is still a nice one to walk through. It is just a shame that the path has become so wet.  Follow the path down for 100 yards then take a right turn over a wooden plank (under which the water used to flow) Then make a left turn across some more wet ground for eighty yards to a stile leaving the wood.

Coming out of the wood the way across the large field you have entered is usually clear. If crops are growing the farmer generally clears a path. If the path isn’t clear you should look to the far corner of the field on your right at the bottom of the hill about 300 yards away. Aim in a straight line for that corner going initially down to the bottom of the dip in the field and then up again. Leave the field at the corner and turn right along Combs Lane (the track leading from Combs Farm on your left to Farnsfield). At this point the track is slightly sandy but not bad to walk on. Walk along the lane for 300 yards until you meet the path coming down from the other exit to Combs Wood. This is the path described in Walk 4. Follow the lane straight all the way back to Farnsfield. The final stage in the village is repeated here.

The end of the lane meets another road as you reach the village. As you meet the road (actually the junction of Tippings Lane and Quaker Lane) turn left  along Tippings Lane with houses now on both sides of the road. The road starts to bend round. After 50 yards on your left cross a road leading to some new houses (this is Powell Court and The Brambles development).  Continue following the main road around the bend. You come to a little rise and dip just before Beck Lane comes in from the left.  Ignore Beck Lane and carry on ahead as our road straightens. Cross the road Gregory Gardens (named after a man from Farnsfield who explored Australia) on the right and go all the way up Tippings Lane to reach the Co-op car park and the finish of the walk.

Walk 4: Combs Wood

31 Dec

A walk over the fields with great views Farnsfield and surrounding countryside. Returning through Comb’s Wood to Farnsfield.

Start: Farnsfield Co-op in the centre of the village.  The car park now only allows a one hour stay so you may prefer to begin the walk at Parfitt Drive where you can park for longer.

Distance:3.5 miles

This is a walk over fields to the top of a hill which gives some of the best views near Farnsfield.

 

The Walk

Follow the route of  Walk 1 to reach the Acres playing fields.  The directions from walk 1 are repeated here in italics.

From the car-park walk to the junction of Tippings Lane with the Main Street. From the entrance to the Co-op turn right along the Main Street and walk along the pavement. After 50 yards you will come to Atherley’s bakery. This is very popular with villagers and if you want a snack before or after your walk good quality food can be bought here.

Continue along the pavement past the entrance to the Pot Yard. After 100 yards you reach Quaker Lane. Cross the end of Quaker Lane and walk past the bus stop with The Plough pub on the other side of the road. There is a good size car park at The Plough as well if you wish to start the walk from here. Pass the bottom end of The Ridgeway, also on the opposite side of the road, and walk for another 200 yards and turn into the entrance to Parfitt Drive.

Parfitt Drive is a quite new development of houses with a large grassy area nearby. Walk past the children’s playground and onto the grass. Pass just to the left of a clump of trees and walk straight on until you reach a metal gate (see photo). Go through the gap next to the gate onto a field with the village allotments. Bear slightly to the right until you reach a wooden fence with a gap which enables you to pass through onto a wide track. Walk on this track for thirty yards towards a metal barrier. Just to the left of this barrier is a gap to walk through where a patch of  shale has been added. Recently a wooden fence has been built which requires a jink to the left of five metres or so before you enter onto the Acres.

The Acres is the main football field in Farnsfield with two pitches at right-angles to each other. The nearer pitch isn’t used by the football club. There were swings just to your left as you walk onto the Acres but now only the rubberised surround remains. Walk straight ahead towards a red-brick building which are the changing-rooms for the football club. After 200 yards you are at the far end of the Acres.

Follow the main path almost straight on as it enters an area of woodland. The trees in this plantation were only planted around twenty years ago but have formed a nice little area to walk through. Over the years various other paths have been formed through the trees. these can be explored if you have time. For this walk I am following the widest path which goes almost straight ahead. The path is a good one on short grass passing between the trees with a clearing and bench on the left after one hundred yards. Another hundred yards beyond this the path dips slightly to a ditch and you leave the woodland.

The path enters a field and rises for about two hundred yards. The field can get a little muddy after wet weather but dries quite well, especially when it is breezy as it is quite open. At the top of the field is a bench which you may wish to take advantage of after the short climb. Looking back from the bench you can see the football pitches again.

Where Walk 1 turns right down the track,  this walk (Walk 4) continues straight ahead.

Walk straight on by the field edge with a hedge to your left. After 100 yards the hedge ends and the path carries on ahead downhill. It is nearly always well-defined to the bottom of the hollow.  After wet weather it can be a little muddy at the very bottom.  At the bottom you come to a hedge coming in from the right. Go to the left of the end of this hedge and through a gap into the corner of a new field. Our route keeps roughly straight ahead up a steep little hill by a new hedge.  Keep the new hedge, mainly of trees, to your left and follow the field edge up this sharp rise for 200 yards.

Back towards Farnsfield from the top of the hill

Back towards Farnsfield from the top of the hill

At the top of the climb you come to a fence with a stile by another hedge. Nowadays there is a gap by the stile so there is no need to climb the stile itself.  Go through this gap and turn immediately right with the hedge now on your right.  After 50 yards you reach the corner of the field and must turn left going slightly uphill.  After 30 yards you reach the top of the hill. You can see back the way you came all the way to Farnsfield. Ahead of you are views to another ridge and to the east are extensive views towards Newark. On a clear day you can see for miles. To the west you can see Comb’s Wood along the hill.

Towards Greaves Lane from the top of  the hill

Towards Greaves Lane from the top of the hill

From the top of the hill go quite steeply downhill along the field edge with the hedge to your right.  The field may have crops in it and if you stick to the very edge of the field the ground is slightly uneven in places. The field and path can get a little muddy but is generally not bad.  After 300 yards you reach the bottom of the hill. Look for one of the gaps in the hedge on the right and go through to the other side of the hedge.  Now with the hedge on your left walk for fifty yards until you reach a stream in a ditch. Turn right here along the edge of the field for fifty yards. The ground here can be wet so you may have to look for  a drier line just in from the field edge.  You come to the end of a farm track on your left leading to a wooden gate. Follow this track over the stream to the gate 80 yards away. Occasionally the gate is open but if it isn’t go to the right of the gate and climb over a stile to reach a road (Greaves Lane) opposite a farm.

Looking back up the hill from near Greaves Lane

Looking back up the hill from near Greaves Lane

Turn right here and walk along Greaves Lane.  The road has a few undulations and bends but doesn’t have much traffic. Nevertheless, you should pay attention near the bends as there are no verges in places.  As you reach the next farm on the left after 300 yards, look to the right of the road for a metal gate and path leading into the woods (Combs Wood).  There is a signpost for a ByWay here. Go through the gate and follow the path. Initially it is quite narrow and slightly muddy. After 200 yards it widens and becomes a good firm track. the path starts to ascend the hill with steep banks to either side among the trees.  This path has been greatly improved over the last few years. It used to become very muddy due to the water run-off from the banks but now the path has been widened and resurfaced it is nice to walk on in all conditions.  The path climbs steadily for nearly half a mile through the wood. The woodland is pleasant but the views are limited by the banks next to the path.As you near the top you see another wide track coming in from the left but you carry on straight ahead.

The improved path in Combs Wood

The improved path in Combs Wood

The path continues uphill for a short way before reaching the top of the hill. If you look to your right you can see quite a long way through the gaps in the trees, as the banks you have been walking between up the hill have now disappeared.  The path now starts to go downhill. Pass to the left of a stile and enter an area of thicker woodland. The path descends more steeply with a hollow to your right. Continue downhill for 300 yards to the end of the wood.

In contrast to the good work that has been done on the path you have just walked up, in this part of the wood the path is much worse than it used to be.  Time was that there was a good covering of pine needles on the path which helped with drainage and were lovely and springy to walk on.  Unfortunately some years ago many of the pine trees were felled which left the path open to the elements. Now in places the path can be so muddy that you have to walk off the main path to avoid the worst of it.  There is one patch of mud half-way down the hill and at the bottom of the wood you come to a series of steps which seem to hold the water running down the slope.  This makes the path on the steps very muddy for much of the time. It is such a shame as this path used to be so nice to walk on.  There used to be a sign here warning of adders.  However, be reassured that these are something you will not come across.

The path on the steps gets narrow as you leave the woodland and go near brambles, another hazard when the path is slippery.  This may sound like a good reason to avoid this path and I would much prefer to wait for dry weather to do it. However, if you don’t mind mud the rewards on leaving the wood are worth it.  The view is excellent and with a bench to sit on you can enjoy it while resting.

Looking towards Farnsfield from Combs Wood

Looking towards Farnsfield from Combs Wood

Go quite steeply downhill by the field edge with the hedge next to you on your right.   At the bottom of the hill in wet weather it can be a little muddy. Keep going straight on until you leave the field and emerge onto Combs Lane. Here the lane is unmetalled but is fine to walk on, the surface being firm and in good condition.  Leaving the field turn right and keep following the lane for the next mile into Farnsfield. After 200 yards the surface has a few pot-holes which can after very wet weather be filled with water. You can find a way past most of them but in extremely bad weather one or two will require you to edge past on the verge or walk through.  400 yards from the field you left, by a large tree, you come to a track coming in from the left at the edge of a field. This leads to the Blidworth road. 100 yards further on you meet the route from Walk 1 coming from the right. You can choose to follow that route to the finish.

This is the alternative way along the lane.

Carry on along Combs Lane as the walk 1 route joins you. After 100 yards where you see a bench, walk 1 goes off down the path to the left. Walk 4 continues straight on along the lane. The lane here needs a little care as there is no verge and surrounded by quite tall hedges. It is unlikely that you will meet traffic but sometimes vehicles from the farms do come along. After 200 yards follow  a small bend to the right then left. On the bend is the gated entrance to a house. After the bends follow the lane downhill towards tall newish houses.  200 yards further along is another bend to the right with a barn on the right of the lane.  This barn has become a very  poplar roosting spot for starlings.  Keep following the lane for 50 yards as you head into the village.

The end of the lane meets another road as you reach the village. As you meet the road (actually the junction of Tippings Lane and Quaker Lane) turn left  along Tippings Lane with houses now on both sides of the road. The road starts to bend round. After 50 yards on your left cross a road leading to some new houses (this is Powell Court and The Brambles development).  Continue following the main road around the bend. You come to a little rise and dip just before Beck Lane comes in from the left.  Ignore Beck Lane and carry on ahead as our road straightens. Cross the road Gregory Gardens (named after a man from Farnsfield who explored Australia) on the right and go all the way up Tippings Lane to reach the Co-op car park and the finish of the walk.