Tag Archives: Farnsfield Walks

Walks In Central Nottinghamshire: Walk 65 – The Hidden Paths of Farnsfield

27 Apr

This walk is quite a short one around Farnsfield that connects some of the main tracks and open spaces of the village by using several little paths that go between the houses. They aren’t hidden as such but if you don’t know the village well you probably won’t be aware of them.

Start and Finish : The Green, which is the main bus stop in Farnsfield, just to the west of the church, opposite The Lion pub.

Distance: 4km (2.5 miles)

Map of the Route

From the bus stop at the Green cross to the island in the middle of the road and then to the other side of the main road near the Lion pub. Turn right for 30m where you will see a signpost for a footpath going to the left. Turn left and soon follow a path to the left of a driveway to a house. This narrow “twitchel”, as I have always known it, climbs quite steeply between houses and hedges for about 50m until you come out on Chapel Lane. Turn left along the road which has no pavement but is quite quiet. Go downhill for 100m to the bottom of the road where it meets the main road and follow the pavement on the right for fifty metres and then turn up a path to the right of a small, reddish building, the old village Lock Up jail. Go up this short narrow path which turns left and then goes up some steps.

The village Lock Up
Cricket and Playing Fields

This takes you into a field with the cricket ground to the left and basketball court on the right. Bear right towards a building (the village surgery) about 100m away and leave the field at a gate. This takes you onto Station Lane. Cross the road to a pavement and turn left for 150m.Just after you have passed the entrance to the cricket club look for a surfaced path leaving Station Lane to the right between houses. Turn up this for 100m to reach a road (Alexander Road) where you turn left. Walk for 100m to the end of this cul-de-sac where you go right to a small parking area. Cross this onto a path and go through a metal gate. This takes you back onto the railway track.

Turn right along the track which is soon met by another branch of the railway line. Continue in the same direction for another 150m with houses on your right and fields to the left. The track here is slightly elevated but when you reach the end of the track you make a short sharp descent that takes you down to a road. Go straight across, taking care of traffic which occasionally comes this way. On the other side go up the corresponding sharp climb to the descent you just made to rejoin the wider railway track.

Follow this very straight track for 300m, soon going past the school playing field on the right and then more houses. After the last house very near the track the path becomes a little narrower with hedges and trees on either side. Carry on along the track for another 100m where you will see a footpath signpost on the right. There is also a path going off to the left here which goes across two fields but then stops so you must return the same way, which is why I haven’t included it in any of my walks. Taking the path to the right you go over a stile and low fence into a nice meadow.

Bear right for 100m to another stile next to a hedge near some new houses. Go over the stile onto a wide path and follow this across the road and continue along it for a short distance. You meet a narrow firm path where you turn left. There is a tall hedge on your left and houses on the right. After 150m you reach a road (Milldale Road) and turn right. Cross the road with houses on both sides. After 50m look for a path to the left between houses that goes slightly downhill by their lawns and gardens. In 100m you come to a small grassy area with a few silver birch trees before reaching a road (Brickyard Lane). Turn right for 80m along the lane until you reach a wide road (the Ridgeway). Go left for a short distance downhill to reach the Main Street which you cross.

Turn right for a very short distance until you are opposite the car park of the Plough pub. Look for a narrow path to the left. Take this path away from the street which soon goes under the shade of trees or walls on either side of the path. The path is a bit uneven in places because of tree roots under the surface. Stay on the path for 150m until you reach a junction of paths. Take the path bearing left and continue along it for 120m crossing a road half way along with houses on your right.

At the end of this path you emerge at a bend on a wide, hard track. Going straight on here for 50m takes you to the Acres playing fields which you can wander round if you wish to make this walk a bit longer. However, on this walk we turn right along the wide track. After 100m, just before reaching a proper road, look for a narrow footpath to the right. Follow this path for 100m next to gardens and a fence until you reach the junction of paths we were at a short time ago.

Turn left along a narrow, shaded path, looking out for tree roots. Soon the path becomes properly surfaced as it becomes an alley between houses for 30m. Stop at the end to check for traffic because you are going straight onto a road. Cross the road (Quaker Lane) and go right along the pavement for a very short distance. Turn left along Sunnyside, a narrow well-surfaced footway between houses. You soon reach a junction where you should turn left along a wider track. Follow this for 100m but where the wider track turns left carry straight on along a narrow path for 30m to reach a quiet residential street (Gregory Gardens). Go straight across to another short, narrow path which you follow for 80m.

This takes you close to the southern edge of the village as you come to a road. Turn right and follow the road for 100m around a bend. Turn left along the first road you come to (Beck Lane) and follow this for 200m. Just after a bench on the right of the road turn right up a narrow, surfaced path. Go 300m all the way to the end of this path where the village church comes into view on the right. You reach a road coming downhill but carry on ahead taking the pavement on the right. After 30m you arrive at the Green where the walk began.

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.

 

A guide to some of the nature that can be seen on my Central Nottinghamshire Walks

25 Feb

At the moment the underfoot conditions are very muddy and many of the walks I have described aren’t seen at their best. I thought that rather than doing a new walk in muddy fields that for a change I would describe some of the nature that can be seen on my earlier walks. This may help with your choice of walks if you are interested in the flora and fauna of the area. I don’t pretend to be a great expert on plants but I have a reasonable knowledge of birds and animals.

Many of my walks involve paths through fields and you will often find yourself flushing out pheasants and partridges which are lying low in the undergrowth. Overhead you may see buzzards soaring and making their “mewing” call. The best places to see them can be near woodland. My record number at one time is half a dozen which I saw circling as I walked between Bilsthorpe and Eakring. That area is also somewhere I have seen kestrels.

Skylarks have suffered a large decline in numbers over recent decades but there is still a good chance of hearing and seeing them in the fields near Farnsfield. I have seen them in the fields to the south near Combs Lane, to the west on the way towards the White Post and to the north on the way to Hexgreave. They can be difficult to spot as they fly high but I once saw a dozen on the ground in the fields just beyond Belle Eau Park on the way from Farnsfield to Eakring.

The hedges next to fields can be a good place to spot birds such as the yellowhammer although these have declined somewhat. A good place for these are the fields to the west of Halam on the high tracks near Newhall Farm (Walk 12).  Large arable fields are the best places for birds such as lapwings although my closest sighting on one of my walks came when walking across the fields to the west of Blidworth on the walk from Rainworth (Mansfield to Newark walk stage 2) .  I once encountered a flock of golden plover on a winter’s day near the disused railway track when crossing the fields from Kirklington to Farnsfield.

The best place close to Farnsfield to see ducks and geese are the ponds near Kirklington. Crossing the fields from Farnsfield takes you close to the “big” pond. This will often have ducks such as mallard, tufted ducks and gadwall on it although they are usually at the far end from the path. If you are lucky you may see swans, a heron or little grebe. Near to the pond I have seen grey and yellow wagtails although not for some years. The smaller pond also usually has ducks on it and occasionally greylag geese.  The pond known as Eakring Flash which is on my walk 37 has had regular visits from the quite rare garganey duck in recent winters.

In winter the fields may sometimes contain members of the thrush family from Scandinavia, fieldfares and redwings. These birds also congregate in trees sometimes with fieldfares being quite noisy in larger groups. The trees near Robin Hood Hill near Oxton have been a good place for seeing these flocks as have the trees and fields near the disused railway track running from Bilsthorpe to Southwell.  Another rare visitor is the waxwing which I once saw on the track near Combs Wood.

Summer visitors include house and sand martins, swallows and swifts.  As I mentioned in the description of the walk at Fiskerton (Walk 32) you may be able to see all four of these in one area.  You are only going to see sand martins if walking along the Trent in my area but the other three species can be seen elsewhere.  You are more likely to see the martins in areas of housing but swallows are common on many walks around the fields in summer and come as close to Farnsfield as Parfitt Drive and the Acres playing fields.  One of the best places to see them is the barn just off the road going into Southwell which you walk past on Walk 10.  In the area of this walk near Kirklington station I have also seen a little egret in the one of the fields.  The first sign of summer migrants is often the sound of a chiffchaff, although often they are less easy to see.  A good place for them near Farnsfield is where the path continuing from Brickyard Lane meets the railway track.  I once saw a treecreeper near here in a tree on the track.

There is a variety of different woodland in the area covered by my walks.  The walks to the east of Farnsfield tend to be where there are more deciduous trees whereas the west is more coniferous.  These latter trees can be a bit oppressive with the dense cover they provide but they are good homes for birds such as goldcrests and if you are lucky crossbills in the areas of heathland near the Major Oak.  I prefer walking in deciduous woodland as the variety of trees is greater.  One of the nicest avenues of trees near Farnsfield is the 300 yards long one of lime trees on the road to Hexgreave from Farnsfield from Walk 2.  A little further along in the Hexgreave woodland I have seen nuthatches.

The area of my walks doesn’t have too many smaller rivers to speak of but the Maun about a mile west of Edwinstowe is my favourite for birds.  I have seen mandarin ducks several years ago and last year saw a kingfisher.  The Trent is of course the main river on my patch and you may see black-headed gulls in many places along the river, especially perching on the fence north of Fiskerton.  Cormorants frequent the river and once I saw oystercatchers near the power station at Staythorpe (Walk 22).

Cuckoos have become a rare sight and I haven’t seen or heard one in the area for two years.  In the three years before that I did hear and see one near Greaves Lane to the south of Farnsfield. The plantation just beyond the Acres when leaving Farnsfield can be an area where jays make an occasional appearance and on the Acres I have seen green woodpeckers.

Moving on to some of the animals I have seen on these walks.  There aren’t many really unusual ones in Nottinghamshire but it is nice to see something like the deer in Blidworth Woods (Walk 39), a hare running across the fields near Haywood Oaks (Walk 12) or Combs Wood, or a lizard in the sun in the grounds of Newstead Abbey. For more domesticated but also interesting animals you can find alpacas in the field to the south-west of Farnsfield which features on my walk 1.

Finally I shall just remind you that with nature you never know what you will see and nothing is guaranteed.  This is just a guide to what I have seen but if you keep your eyes and ears open you may be lucky to see some of these things or something even better.