Tag Archives: Farnsfield

Exploring Further Into Nottinghamshire With My Walks

30 Oct

This month is the ninth anniversary of the start of this blog. As with all of these things it takes a while to become widely known and after a slow start I have now had more than 125,000 views of the blog. Last year there were over 35,000 views of these pages as walking became so popular. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit and for your kind words and comments.

I have now described more than seventy walks in the area around Farnsfield and central Nottinghamshire. I have found it quite difficult to come up with new walks so close to home and I’ve decided that I will expand the range of the walks to include the rest of Nottinghamshire.

Mostly I want to do this at first to be able to extend my descriptions of the long-distance trails, the Robin Hood Way and Trent Valley Way, that I have covered when they come through central Notts. I have also thought of other walks in the county that I will link together to make my own longer trails. This week I have finally completed my walk around the county in a trail I devised called The Nottinghamshire Way.

I will also try to include plenty of short circlular walks and if I find more good local walks nearer to home I will write about them. If you want any advice about local walks please write to me and I will try to help.

Thanks

Rob

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 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.

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.

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.

A Wandering Mind – walking from Kelham to Farnsfield – où sont les neiges d’antan?

25 Mar

With things currently largely in lockdown it’s great for your state of mind if you can get out for a walk.  It may be tricky to go too far from home and so rather than come up with new, more distant walks I thought I would write about some of my recent walks which have some updates on my earlier routes.  These aren’t officially numbered walks for the blog but instead feature things I noticed on my walks.  These posts will be collated under the heading, A Wandering Mind, as I often find my thoughts drifting as I walk.

The words où sont les neiges d’antan? in the title of this post translated literally mean “where are yesteryear’s snows”? though more generally it can be taken as “where has the past gone?”.  Both meanings seem apt as the years go by but it’s the literal meaning that I found myself contemplating as I did the walk below.  With the exception of the “Beast From the East” in 2018 we seem to have very little snow these days.  Even in 2018 the cold snap was only for a matter of days.  Most winters now are mild and wet with the most recent one the worst most people can remember.  Many paths have been best avoided because of mud or large patches of standing water.  I love walking in fresh snow and it would be nice to have a few days each winter where I can indulge myself.

In February I walked from Kelham to Farnsfield on one of the rare sunny days but the ground was pretty waterlogged. As I walked past the wood about a mile west of Kelham I startled three Fallow deer which ran off uphill. I last walked this way five years ago when the field next to the wood had an electric fence obstructing the path and things hadn’t changed five years later. The fence was only one wire which could be ducked under but it shouldn’t be allowed on a public footpath.

View towards Trent Valley from the top of the hill

The view from the top of the field over the Trent valley was good. As I walked round the next field I heard a gruff croaking in the sky behind me. I have heard that noise before, in the Lake District, and recognised it as a raven. I wasn’t sure if I was hearing correctly as I have never seen one before in Nottinghamshire, though I have heard that there have been sightings. I looked up and thought it seemed larger than crows but on its own the scale was hard to judge. I went through the hedge over a water filled ditch into the next field where immediately you meet the gallops for racehorses trained nearby. Carefully crossing these took me into the open part of the field where I could look back to the tree where the raven had settled. After a minute it took off along with three other corvids which went off in a different direction but appeared smaller confirming my identification.


As I continued across the field I heard the wonderful sound of skylarks singing and tried to spot them. As always seeing them is much harder than hearing them but after a short while I saw one, my first of the year. My spirits were lifted by this harbinger of spring as I went through the stables at the bottom of the hill.

After some wet walking round field edges I crossed the A617 to the bottom of Micklebarrow Hill where a sign warned me to Beware of the Bull. The farmer here didn’t appear to encourage walkers as there were also strands of possibly electric fences here as well. I couldn’t see any signs of a bull so I proceeded up the hill stepping over the strands as I did so. The top of the hill has a house with tennis courts but once you are past that the views across the Trent Valley are excellent. Staythorpe power station’s chimneys feature prominently a few miles away. It’s quite a steep descent off the hill and after a few fields you reach the road into Upton. The first 300m are without a pavement but on reaching the village cross over to the other side of the road where there is one.

View from Micklebarrow Hill towards the Trent Valley

The Pingley Dyke


I decided to turn down a track before going far into Upton. The track was fine as I descended but once at the bottom I turned right near one of the dykes and the track became much muddier. The mud and puddles caused me to veer from one side to the other in an attempt to avoid the worst of it and after half a mile reached the surfaced drive to Farm. I turned left and crossed the dyke but before reaching the farm went through a gate into a field. As I did so I heard the sound of a woodpecker drumming his bill against a tree trunk. On this beautiful sunny day it really did seem like the start of Spring.


The path soon reached the bank of the River Greet and followed the river for the next mile. The river wiggles about like a snake in tiny meanders here as you walk along the field edges. Finding the right spot to leave the river is slightly tricky but when you can see the tree line and embankment going up to the road to Southwell racecourse it’s time to head off along the field edge. Turning right along the road after going up the bank takes you straight for a kilometre before you reach the houses of Southwell.

Mill Building


I crossed the main road near the Southwell Workhouse and followed the river Greet along a nice quiet path past the community orchard where many varieties of apple tree are grown and a board nearby tells you which is which. The path also passes a picnic table where I have eaten lunch before. The river still meanders here, though not as crazily as earlier, as it passes under trees. By the river is a very tall building, once a mill, at the next road. Here you can turn left to head to the Burgage and the centre of Southwell or like me carry on westwards where there is a choice of paths. The more interesting one runs alongside the river but on this occasion I thought it would be too muddy and opted for the somewhat monotonous but relatively dry path along the old railway track, the Southwell Trail.

Norwood Park

Norwood Hall

After an easy mile on the straight, flat track I reached the road to Maythorne but instead of continuing on the track I turned left along the road to go through the Norwood Park estate. The path takes you past a golf course and through the middle of the fruit trees on a nice path. This brings you onto the road from Southwell to Halam which has a pavement for some of the way but the best route is to go along Saversick Lane and then turn off onto the driveway of a house before following the path through what was an orchard but is now rows of other fruits. I exchanged greetings with the eastern European girls who were having their lunch break from pruning before heading downhill into Halam via a rather muddy track.

Looking West to Halam and beyond.

 


After crossing the car park of the Wagon pub and following a path across the next field I left Halam along the back road towards Kirklington (Holme Lane). About 400m along is a gap into a field. Until last year this has for some time been a permissive path. It no longer has the signs to say it is but clearly people are still using it as such and there is still a bench at the top of the hill. There is still a well-defined field margin and path here so I have decided to still use it, very occasionally. If this is no longer a right-of-way I am happy to avoid it in future and will correct that impression in my other walking routes. The path was quite wet in places with some very soft ground for part of the way but it’s a nice way of getting to Edingley with good views from the top of the hill.
The path reaches the road again at the top of Edingley Hill. It’s always a bit of a dilemma here which way to go into Edingley. If I have time I will usually go straight across the main road and onto Greaves Lane but if I want to save a few minutes and there is no traffic I will run straight down the hill. You are always taking a chance doing that as there is no verge and a steep sided cutting. It takes me about twenty seconds to get to the track on the left halfway down the hill so I can usually make it without encountering anything. Going this way then takes you down across a field before scrunching across the stones of someone’s drive for a few strides. You emerge at the main road again.
There are two paths from Edingley to Farnsfield. I took the path a little past the Reindeer pub that goes off to the right near some allotments. The path is good at first but gets muddy after wet weather as you cross the fields to reach the wide track that becomes Brickyard Lane. You are near the railway track again here. Turning left brings you into Farnsfield a kilometre along the way.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 60: Farnsfield Station and the White Post

31 Jan

This short walk is a circuit going west from Farnsfield along the disused railway track to the A614, past the White Post Inn and returning across fields. This is a walk I have done many times but haven’t included before because some of it is close to the very busy A614.  It also includes a very steep bank which until the last couple of years was tricky to negotiate but now has steps to help.  The walk is suitable in almost any weather as the railway track is in good condition and the fields drain pretty well so you are unlikely to find the paths too muddy.  Occasionally crops are a bit overgrown or fields have been ploughed which are slightly awkward walking but that is unusual.

The nearest bus stop to the start is on Cockett Lane which is on the Sherwood Arrow and 28B bus routes.  You can join the walk at the White Post or in the centre of Farnsfield which also have stops.

Start: The car park just off Station Lane in Farnsfield near the old station by the disused railway track.

Distance: 3 miles

Map of the Route

 

A path I haven’t described before is the disused railway track to the west of Farnsfield.  There is a car park just off Station Lane right at the far west end of the Lane.  If you are coming from Cockett Lane into the village turn left about 50 yards along Station Lane onto a wide, surfaced track.  Go past the old station house, now a private house, to reach the car park about 100 yards along.  There are picnic tables nearby and a choice of paths using the former railway lines.  You are very close to the Southwell Trail here which runs along the old line between Southwell and Bilsthorpe.

From the car park if you go towards the picnic table nearer the trees and turn left you join the old line that went to Rainworth and Mansfield.  Go past the station house and continue straight on.  In the undergrowth on the right of the track you can see the remains of the platform of Farnsfield station.   Just after this go under a bridge beneath Cockett Lane.  Carrying on this way takes you almost straight for a mile all the way to the A614.  The path is good all the way although towards the end of summer it can be a little overgrown.  You initially go through a cutting with grass and gorse banks to either side.  Go under a second bridge and the track is soon at the top of an embankment with views across fields.  As you approach the A614 and hear the traffic ahead you will see the animals of the White Post Farm to your left.

The track gets narrower and gorse bushes encroach a little so that you have to step around them.  You come to a wooden fence with a gap in the middle and find yourself overlooking the A614 with the tops of the rides at Wheelgate adventure park on the other side of the road .  Immediately after the fence are some steps going down a steep bank.  Go down them and then turn left along a narrow, properly surfaced path next to a barrier on your right.  You descend to road level and leave the barrier behind but reach a pavement.

Keep going along the pavement next to the A614 past a garage and the Winner City restaurant to reach a roundabout.  The left turn here takes you past the entrance to White Post Farm and on into Farnsfield but you should use the crossing to reach the White Post Inn.  Stay to the right of the inn and walk through the small car park until you are by the A614 again.  Go uphill along a very narrow verge for 150m.  Take care as the traffic is very busy.  At the top of the rise go over a stile into a field and follow the route of my Blidworth to Farnsfield walk .

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.

Looking back towards Farnsfield from fields going towards the A614.Looking to Farnsfield from near 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.  Go 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.  Go straight across the road, go left for fifty yards and then turn up a path to the right of a small, reddish building, the old village jail.  Go up this short narrow path which turns left and then goes up some steps.  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 100 yards away and leave the field at a gate.  This takes you onto Station Lane.  Cross the road to a pavement and turn left for 150 yards.

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 100 yards to reach a road (Alexander Road) where you turn left.  Walk for 100 yards 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 where you turn left for 200 yards to return to the car park and the start of the walk.

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.

Walks in Central Notts – Walk 33: From Farnsfield across the fields, over Greaves Lane. Returning by a new route via Cotton Mill Farm

29 Feb

This walk is similar to walk  14 but there is a route back across the fields to Farnsfield that I haven’t described yet and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to address that having found a way of avoiding the worst of the wet ground that can be a problem going this way.

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.

Distance: 3 miles

Part of the original route shown on the map is temporarily closed until July and I have described a diversion.

Map of the Route

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 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

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 Combs Wood along 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

On reaching the lane turn left and then almost immediately right across the lane to the drive of the house opposite.  After twenty yards 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 150 yards to the end of the field and then turns sharply left to go along a narrow, sometimes slippery path into a strip of trees.  The path here goes uphill along a sunken path between two banks.  Follow this path for 200 yards 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 (this path is an offshoot of the 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 over the path you have walked.

View from the ridge over the fields towards Combs Wood

View from the ridge over the fields towards Combs Wood

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.  Carry straight on along the road with good views on the left as the ground falls away.  After 100 yards look for a footpath sign on the left which directs you through a hedge via a metal kissing gate. You can see Farnsfield ahead and below in the semi-distance beyond the fields.  Go through the kissing gate into a grassy field that drops away steeply ahead. You should be able to see a path where the grass is slightly worn away more than the rest of the field. If you can’t see a path then aim almost straight ahead going down the hill.

There may be a few cows in the field. The path is quite a steep one but the good grass covering in the field means that doesn’t get muddy until you reach the lower reaches of the field. Towards the bottom of the field aim about twenty yards to the right of the fence and hedge that goes straight down towards the house at the bottom of the hill. You may find that there are patches of mud but with a little care you can find your way through quite easily. Aim for the bottom of the hill near the house where you should see a kissing gate. Go through the gate into a small grassy area going down to the building ahead. After twenty yards turn sharp right just before the building and go into the yard. Go downhill for twenty yards to the obvious exit from the yard which goes straight out onto Greaves Lane so make sure there is nothing coming.

Go straight across Greaves Lane to the metal kissing gate just to the left of the yard you have just left.

From January 2021 the path ahead is temporarily closed.  The notice claims it is because the bridge across the pond is unsafe.  I have been across this bridge many times over the years and find it hard to believe that it is unsafe as on my most recent visit it was fine.  The notice also says there is boggy ground, which is true in wet weather but in normal conditions it is no worse than many paths.  The path near the rubble is a bit of a mess for a short distance but that is purely due to farm vehicles.  The path is officially closed until July, which is far too long for the reasons stated for closure.  It is possible to use the path but according to the notice you shouldn’t.  To continue with the walk the diversion is as follows.

From the kissing gate retrace your steps along Greaves Lane past the yard you just left and continue along the lane for 300 yards until you see a track on the left.  There is a footpath sign which is easy to miss coming from this direction.  Follow the signed track down from the lane and by a field for 200 yards until you get to another field.  Go straight on for a short distance when you will see in the hedge on the left a gap where the original path joins us.  Turn right here across the field and follow the main route for the rest of the walk.

 Go over another stile into a large grass field. This field extends ahead for 300 yards. It sometimes has cows in it and they can be a little curious and may follow you as you cross the field. The field has a good covering of grass and is generally good to walk on, at least for the first 250 yards. After very wet weather there can be standing water in places. I have found that the best place to walk in this case is close to the hedge on the left by the stream and ditch where there is a slightly raised bank about a foot higher than the rest of the field. Cross the field by walking close to the hedge straight on for 300 yards until you reach a gate. You will find that this gate is often open and you can just walk through, although it is a little muddy. If the gate is closed go through the smaller wooden gate to the left.

In either case you go into a smaller grass field continuing from the larger one. Keep straight on in this field for a little way. If it has been dry you can carry on to the next gate without any problems. However, if it has been wet you may well find some quite boggy ground ahead. If so what you should do to find the best route ahead is to go to the left hand side of the field. You will see a small part of an old brick wall ahead. Aim to the left of this and you should find that the ground isn’t too bad. Go through the gate at the end of the field taking you onto a track next to Cotton Mill Farm. There can be a variety of obstructions on this track but they aren’t too much of a problem.

After fifty yards you meet other footpaths coming in from the right which have been included in some of my earlier walks but you should carry on along the main track as it bends to the left. Just before a house on the right the track straightens and goes off towards the main Farnsfield to Edingley road but you shouldn’t go that way. Instead look to the left for a wooden gate going into a large grassy field. This is sometimes slightly hidden by farm vehicles parked near the field entrance.

The footpath gate next to the main gate isn’t in the best state of repair. The main problem here though is the state of the field next to the gate. The field is sometimes used for cows and as they use this gateway the entrance can often be rather muddy. The best strategy is to try and edge along the very thin strip of grass at the side of the field but this can take a bit of nimble footwork. If the mud is too bad and you want to go into Farnsfield you may have to resort to using the driveway from Cotton Mill Farm which goes to the Farnsfield to Edingley road and from there along the road to Farnsfield.

Once past the mud the field is very pleasant to walk through. Walk straight on near the hedge with a barbed-wire fence close by on your left. The path soon goes along a little bank a couple of feet above the rest of the field. You may have to negotiate two low gates across the path.  Half way along you pass a stone which looks as though it may mark a boundary. The only hazards you may encounter are curious cows together with other reminders that cows have used the field so watch where you are putting your feet. After 250 yards leave the field using a stile and then ten yards later go through a gap ahead of you next to a gate that takes you onto the track next to the Acres football pitches.

Go straight along the track towards the swings but after thirty yards look for a gap in the hedge on the right next to a fence by the allotments. Go along a narrow path by the fence for fifty yards then turn right to cross the field by the allotments to the metal gate from earlier in the walk.

Go through the gate back onto the field which you crossed at the start of the walk. From here you can just retrace your steps to the Main Street and to the start of the walk.

Mansfield to Newark Walk Stage 4: Farnsfield to Southwell

3 Sep

This stage is the continuation of my Mansfield to Newark walk, picking up from Stage 3.  However, it is a nice walk in its own right with a couple of short climbs leading to good views of the local countryside with fields and woods featuring strongly.

Start: The Green, Farnsfield

Finish: Bus stops by Southwell Minster on Church Street.

Distance: 6.3 miles

Starting at the main bus stop in Farnsfield at the Green head along the Main Street towards the centre of the village passing the church on your right after 100 yards.  Carry on along this side of the street for another 200 yards until you reach the end of Tippings Lane where it meets the Main Street.  Cross Tippings Lane so that you are near the entrance to the Co-op but continue along the Main Street.

Continue along the Main Street 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 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

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 Combs Wood along 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

On reaching the lane turn left and then almost immediately right across the lane to the drive of the house opposite.  After ten yards 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 150 yards to the end of the field and then turns sharply left to go into a strip of trees.  The path here goes uphill along a sunken path between two banks.  Follow this path for 200 yards 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 (this path is an offshoot of the 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 over the path you have walked.

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 80 yards 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 400 yards 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 600 yards.  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 usually 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 80 yards 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 50 yards 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).  Turn left and walk along the pavement for 300 yards along the generally quiet road.  On your right you see the village church.  If you wish to finish your walk in Halam carry on for another 200 yards 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 cross the road and go into the churchyard.

Follow the path straight through the churchyard and out into the field beyond.  Bear to the right uphill aiming for the corner of the field about 300 yards away and a kissing gate.  Go through the gate into a wooded area and go up quite a steep path.  After wet weather this path can be rather slippery.  Follow the path as it continues up the slope and then turns to the right getting a little narrower.  The path then starts to flatten out and after 50 yards you come to a gate at the top of a field.  Don’t go into the field but 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.

Turn away from the field and go left 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 200 yards 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.  This is another part of the walk where the pipe laying work is prominent.

Leave the driveway and go onto a narrow road (Saversick Lane).  Turn right and follow the road for 300 yards 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 200 yards the road bends sharply to the left and you should follow this turn.  You are now entering the Westhorpe area of Southwell.  After another 100 yards 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 gives 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.  Otherwise carry on roughly straight on along the bottom of the field for 400 yards until you come to what appears at first sight to be a dead-end at a hedge at the end of the field.  On closer inspection you will see a gap in the hedge in the corner which you should go through to reach a very nice tree covered path alongside the stream (Potwell Dyke).  The path can be a little slippery after rain so take care.

After 200 yards you arrive at a quiet residential street (Halloughton Road).  Cross the road and turn right up a small rise for fifty yards.  Look for a footpath signpost pointing to the left and follow that between houses.  As you approach the houses you may again think you have reached a dead-end but on the right you will see where the path picks up.  Follow the narrow path as it meanders around the houses.  However, you can’t really go wrong as there are no alternative for 300 yards.  Immediately after a churchyard on your left you enter a large field.  There are a few paths running across this field but you should take the one going just right of straight ahead which after 100 yards arrives at the busy Nottingham Road.  Use the crossing to reach the other side and turn left to follow the path and pavement taking you to the road entrance to the Minster School and Southwell Leisure centre.  Cross the road leading to the car park to reach the wide pedestrianised path by the bridge over the stream.

Turn right here and go towards the large building at the end of the path.  Just before the entrance turn left along a narrower hard pathway.  This path takes you past sports pitches on your right.  After 200 yards look for a path down to the left which takes you to a small bridge over a stream,The Potwell Dyke again.  Looking at the stream it is hard to believe this caused widespread flooding in July 2013 after a torrential downpour.  Cross the bridge to enter a park area next to an adventure playground.  Go past the playground and aim for the far corner of the park to the left of the buildings, bowling green and tennis courts at the other end of the park.

Southwell Minster

Southwell Minster

DSCF0738

As you get to the far corner of the park you come to a nice avenue of lime trees and will see some stone arches marking the War Memorial.  Go through these and carry straight on 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.

Alternatively, if you have the energy you could walk back to Farnsfield either along the disused railway line or by using my walk along the River Greet (walk 6).  To reach the start of either of these you should go from the bus stops to the main junction in Southwell just up Church Street.  There turn right up King Street and carry on up the hill and then down the hill along the Burgage.  At the bottom of the Burgage cross the main road and carry straight on down Station Road until you reach the start of my walks just after the Final Whistle pub on the left.  This is a link of a little over quarter of a mile.

If you are attempting my Mansfield to Newark walk you are now over halfway.  If doing it over two days Southwell makes a convenient stopping point as it is the largest place between Mansfield and Newark with many amenities including restaurants, pubs, shops and even accommodation should you require it.