Tag Archives: Eakring Flash

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

21 Feb

 

As the winter draws towards its end I thought I would write about my local walks in this and past winters. This one has been the coldest one for a decade and the first proper winter since then. We’ve had the odd cold snap since but this winter has had more sustained sub-zero days and nights.


This cold spell has been enjoyable for me as I like walking or running in snow. Even when there isn’t any snow I prefer frozen ground to the mud that has prevailed for most recent winters. This winter began in similar fashion with plenty of rain making the ground pretty sodden, although the autumn wasn’t as wet as 2019. The colder weather started just after Christmas but as the year turned we entered a more sustained chilly spell.

We had a few separate snowfalls, although none brought huge quantities. The heaviest snow was on the 14th January when we had two or three inches. It snowed most of the day but stopped in the afternoon. This gave me a window for a run before it got too dark, although the snow make things a bit lighter in the gathering gloom. I set out at 4.30 when the snow in Farnsfield was already a bit slushy. However, once out of the village the fresh snow was still intact and lovely to run on. I had decided to go to Bilsthorpe, just over two miles away, and had deliberately chosen a route across Bilsthorpe Moor (see Walk 7) to recreate a run in the snow from many years earlier when I had got lost, although this time I wanted to avoid that outcome.
The previous time had been when I wasn’t very familiar with the way across the Moor. I had gone out in the early evening when the snow was still falling lightly. I had crossed the A617 to reach the large field on the Bilsthorpe side which rises sharply. Ahead of me it was pure white and I didn’t know where the field ended and the sky began. I totally lost my bearings and started running in a circle. As it was getting dark I decided to return home.


This time I knew the way across the Moor better and made it to Bilsthorpe safely. After a loop round the village where I saw the children returning with their sledges l headed towards the old railway track to return home. By now it was getting dark and in the field I fell over when tripping on a furrow. The path up to the railway track goes under a bridge but in the half light I could see a large puddle so had to claw my way up the steep bank to reach the track. A thaw was already beginning and pools of water forming under the trees. I tried to stay in the snow which guided my way in what was now almost darkness. It is a very straight track so I couldn’t go far wrong if I kept my eyes on the white strip stretching ahead of me and got home in total gloom.

Some of my favourite walks and runs have been in the early evening when it has stopped snowing. In 2018 the Beast From The East arrived.  It snowed until the middle of the afternoon but when it stopped I went out in the fresh snow.  I went along Greaves Lane and did a loop round Combs Wood.  As I was going back down towards Greaves Lane in the twilight I saw a barn owl flying across the fields.  This was the first and still the only time I have seen a barn owl in the wild.

My most memorable winter excursion came many years ago on yet another day when the snow stopped in the early evening after depositing a few inches.  I ran from Farnsfield all the way along Greaves Lane up to the top near Oxton and to Robin Hood Hill.  There was a full moon illuminating a beautiful snowscape on what is always one of my favourite viewpoints in the county.  A truly magical experience. 

This year in the time between snowfalls there was plenty of rain and this combined with the snow melt made things really wet underfoot.  I went to Kirklington where it was as wet as I can ever remember it.  On the way home I stopped at the large pond and as I stood on the bridge I could feel it vibrating with the force of the water leaving the pond.  The last field before the railway track on the way home has been very muddy all winter and people have been walking round the edge in preference.  The farmer has put up a rope to stop this.  I can understand why but on the two occasions I went round the edge the grass was in good condition.  People weren’t walking on any crops and appeared to me to be doing less damage than they would by going straight across the field.

When the cold weather returned we had some nice crisp, sunny days and I walked from Rainworth to Farnsfield using the first part of my Walk 24 .  I haven’t been that way since I did that walk and I was reminded what a nice one it is.  The first part where you come off the Rainworth by-pass and immediately reach a nice bit of heathland before a nice track through a wood is a lovely surprise and well worth a look.

On another sunny day I went via Hexgreave and over the top to Eakring.  The day was so clear that Lincoln Cathedral was easily visible on the skyline to the east from the top of the hill.  I went to the pond at Eakring Flash (see Walk 37) which was still mostly frozen but had swans, mallards, coots and a heron.  The ground was hard rather than muddy in most places which made things easier.  Hopefully the worst of the wet weather is now behind us and the fields which I have been mostly avoiding due to the mud will be nice to walk on again.

Video

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 37 – Circuit of Eakring

8 Jul

A walk starting from the village but then going around the edge of Eakring using paths and tracks in the surrounding fields.  The walk passes by a large pond and Mompesson Cross.  It can be extended to the nature reserve at Duke’s Wood by combining it with Walk 18 in this blog.

Start: Eakring Church in the centre of the village.  Eakring is on the number 28B bus route from Mansfield which is hourly during the day.  The main street in Eakring (Kirklington Road) is fairly quiet and wide and you should be able to find somewhere on the street to park.

Distance: 4.5 miles

Map of the Route

From the church walk south, away from the man junction at the centre of the village along the pavement on the church side of the road.   After about 500 yards, just past Side Lane on the other side of the road, you should turn left along a grassy track.  There is a footpath sign but in summer this is likely to be obscured by plants. Just after the track you should look for a house on the with a small white gate and the track is immediately before this. If you look behind you along the main road at this point you should see a sign for Side Lane on the other side of the main road about fifty yards away.

Turn left along the grass track and after fifty yards you reach a metal barrier. Go to the gap at the left of this, turn left and follow the path at the left hand edge of the field.  From here you can see on your right at the top of the field a row of pylons of various types which have been developed as part of a pilot scheme for new designs.

New pylon designs

W New pylon designs

Go past a white-topped post bearing a waymark for the footpath and leave this field to go into another one.  In summer the crops will be  close to the field edge but there will be a decent margin to walk along as you continue along the edge of the field.  On your left are trees.  You meet a path coming from the right which was part of my walk 18 and if you have done the longer walk to Duke’s Wood will cross this walk here.  On this walk we carry on along the field margin ignoring the path going left into the wood.  A little further along the official path bears slightly off to the left from the field and goes a little downhill although you can carry on along the edge of the field.  The official path can be a little overgrown at the height of summer and after wet weather a bit muddy.  However, as you go down you enter a nice tree covered area.  On your left  a little below you is a pond and stream with just beyond some houses.  The path goes down a little then rises again and rejoins the field edge.  Following the field edge now takes you downhill to a green metal barrier just before a road.  Go to the left hand side of the barrier which is much lower and which you can step over.

There is a small grassy area before the road which you meet on a bend.  This gives you the chance to check the traffic before continuing straight on along the road.  There isn’t any pavement or walkway here so stay on the right hand side of the road near the hedge.  There isn’t a great deal of traffic but you should take care.  Walk along the road for 200 yards until you reach a sharp bend to the right where you should leave the road and go straight on onto a gravel track.  Ignore the path going off to the left immediately after leaving the road and carry straight on along the wide track.  Go past a barrier and along the straight track, ignoring paths to left and right after 150 yards.  You enter an area of more open farmland. After400 yards from the road you will see a wooden footpath post to the right of the track just before a sign indicating that the way beyond is private.  This is the first of several of these signs near the route which are useful in keeping you on the right course although a little unfriendly.

From the track go right into a large arable field.  As I was doing this walk the crops in the field were high enough that the way across the field was obvious as the path across was well maintained and several feet wide. If it is not clear aim at about 45 degrees from the gravel track for400 yards aiming towards a pylon, until you reach another Private sign next to a wide concrete bridge over a stream.  Turn left and cross the bridge to join another wide gravel track.  On the Ordnance Survey map the path here goes off slightly to the right but it is easier to stick to the main track. Follow the track as it runs straight for the next  600 yards.  Initially it runs between fields but then you reach a line of trees on the left of the track which starts to go uphill.  Carry on until you reach an oak tree on the right of the track.  Turn left off the track here to go through a wide gap in the hedge.  I couldn’t see any footpath signs here but the route was clear as again the path was a good, wide one through the crops.  Head across the field aiming for the left hand end of the wood ahead of you.  You reach the wood (Lound Wood) after 400 yards.

At the wood go straight on and Follow the edge of the field with the wood immediately on your right for 200 yards.  Then turn left away from the wood at an angle of 45 degrees  across the field, again on a very obvious path when I did the walk, for 200 yards until you reach a hedge. Turn left and follow a path covered with quite long grass at the edge of the field with a hedge on the right.  After 200 yards you reach a wooden bridge which you cross to reach a grass path near a large pond, sometimes known as Eakring Flash, which you can see thorough the trees on your left.  Follow the path which was fine when I walked it but which I imagine could be underwater after a period of very wet weather.  There is a hedge on the right and trees  on the left.  You will get occasional views through to the pond which often has swans and ducks on it.

Eakring Flash Pond

Eakring Flash Pond

After 200 yards leave the pond and turn right over another wooden bridge.  Go into a grass field and follow the path in shorter grass next to the hedge on the left for 100 yards until you reach a wooden stile which you go over.

Go across a track then over a stile and down into a grass field.  Go round the barrier into the main part of the field.  Go uphill to the right aiming at the top right hand corner of the field with the tower of an old windmill a prominent feature ahead.  Near the top of the field there are a few clumps of nettles and thistles but you can skirt round these.  Leave the field and go out onto a road.  Go straight across this quiet road to another stile on the opposite side.  This stile takes you into another field after going through a kissing gate.  However, the stile is a very big step up and is tricky to manage.  You may well find it easier to climb over the gate next to the stile to go into the field.  This field can be a bit muddy at the bottom at times, especially if horses have been using it and churning up the ground.  On my recent visit it was fine.  Go uphill for fifty yards to reach another  gate and go through that into another field.  Carry on uphill through this field for 200 yards and out via another gate.  This takes you to an open field and a wide track coming across you.  From here you can look back and see the last mile of the route you have just walked with good views to the east beyond.

Looking back on the route towards Lound Wood

Looking back on the route towards Lound Wood

 

Turn left along this firm track and follow it straight for 400 yards.  This brings you to the road going into the village which you cross to reach the entrance road of Eakring Farms, which is indicated by a sign. The route on the other side is a little dependent on the crops in the fields.  If you can see an obvious path across the field going almost straight ahead then you should follow that to the other side of the field and Mompesson Cross, enclosed by a fence, about 300 yards away.  Sometimes the way ahead isn’t clear due to crops.  In this case the best thing to do is to follow the entrance road to Eakring Farms which almost immediately bends to the left.  After 100 yards you reach a big barn on the right.  Turn off the road just before the barn and walk along the concrete next to the barn where there is a bit of a gap until you reach the far end of the barn.  From here continue roughly straight on across the field.  After a short way you come close to the metal fencing surrounding Mompesson Cross, which I mentioned in Walk 18.  There is an information board about the Cross nearby.  From the cross go left through the trees to reach a track.

Turn right so that you are going slightly uphill away from Eakring.  Follow this track for 300 yards where first it bends to the right then left before running straight for 500 yards until you reach a corner.  Here there is a small clump of trees and a small log bench. This is a nice spot for a rest.  Turn sharp left to follow the track alongside the hedge, going slightly downhill for 250 yards.  At the end of the hedge there is a sharp turn right on the track. If you wish to go up to Duke’s Wood to follow the extra loop described in my Walk 18 (adding just under 3 miles) then follow this track to the right.

To take the shorter route, at the sharp corner where the track turns right up the hill, go straight on for ten yards across the grass where you will find yourself at the end of a wide grassy track with trees along the right hand side. Turn left to follow this track straight for 200 yards until you reach a  nearby metal gate with a  gap to the left ot it. Go through and continue straight along the track which becomes a metalled driveway with houses on the left. After another 100 yards you reach a road on a bend.   Carefully cross the road  (this is Kirklington Road again) to the pavement opposite and turn left to head into the village.

After 300 yards as you reach the main area of houses look for the grass track going off to the right which you walked along earlier.  Continue along the road to the church where you started.