Tag Archives: Forest Walks

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Duncanwood Lodge near Budby to Edwinstowe

28 Mar

This is the final stage of the Way if walking from south to north. I decided to do this stage before some of the intermediate stages so that you have a description to do your own circular walk from Edwinstowe combining this stage with some of my walk The Robin Hood Way: River Maun near Edwinstowe to Norton. I have chosen to start at Dunanwood Lodge because it is on the Sherwood Arrow bus route that also goes through Edwinstowe and you can do a linear walk using the bus to get to start and finish points.

Start: Duncanwood Lodge a mile north of Budby on the B6005 (there are bus shelters on either side of the road if you are using public transport)

Finish:  Edwinstowe Church 

Distance: 8 kilometres (5 miles)

Map of the Route

From the road go to the left of Duncanwood Lodge onto a path going westwards by the side of a field.  At the end of the field go slightly right to join the main track from the Lodge and continue west along this clear track for one kilometre.  You reach Hazel Gap which was on our route in the earlier stage from Edwinstowe to Norton.  This time we are doing a short section in the reverse direction.  Cross the quite busy A616 carefully and take the right most track which goes through a gateway and then downhill along a path at the edge of a wood on your right with a field to your left.

After 550m you reach woods on the left too and in another 100m look for a path to the left.  Turn along this narrower, unsurfaced path for 400m, which may have a fallen tree to go around but is easy to follow.  It descends a little and you leave the trees to go past a house on the right and through a small gate by a bigger main gate.  The path reaches the quite busy Netherfield Lane again which you cross carefully.

The River Meden

Go straight on to reach the path opposite and continue straight to cross the River Meden but bear just off the metalled track onto a grassier one almost straight on.  The path re-enters the forest and you follow it ahead for 600m until reaching a crossroads of tracks which we also came to on the stage to Norton and this is the point where you can make a circular walk if you want to.     You are at the bottom of a dip in the path coming across which may have freewheeling cyclists going quite fast so watch for them.  Turn left uphill quite steeply for a short distance then follow a flatter shale path for 300m to another major junction of paths.

Turn right along the main track which undulates a little over the next part of the walk.  Soon the trees on the left disappear and you see the open heathland near Budby South Forest.  You come under more substantial tree cover again and about a kilometre from the previous signposts reach another junction of tracks.  The left hand track goes off the Robin Hood Way towards the Major Oak which is a little under a mile from here.  Going straight on you reach the next major path junction by the Centre Tree in another kilometre.  This prominent tree is reputed to mark the centre of Sherwood Forest. There is a large area open ground a little ahead. 

The Centre Tree

Sherwood Forest near the Major Oak

At the tree turn left along a wide path.  The path is a little stony but it is easy walking among quite dense tree cover, a fine example of a deciduous forest.  Ignore all side turnings as the path slowly starts to descend a little.  After 1200m a quite substantial path meets ours from the left but keep on ahead a little longer until you reach a clearing by the Major Oak. The Major Oak is one of the most famous trees in England and indeed was named Tree of the Year in 2014.  It is reputed to have been the hide-out of Robin Hood and his men and many years ago it was possible to go and hide in the trunk of the tree.  These days the tree itself is fenced off from the path and has several supports for the main branches.

The Major Oak

Leave the clearing with the Major Oak on your left and go onto what was the main track to the visitor centre from the Major Oak. Follow this wide track for 600m until you reach the site of the old visitor centre.  Go through this site to soon reach the car park for it.  Keep to the right hand side of the car park and then leave it continuing in the same direction.  You soon reach another good path near a cricket pitch.  Follow this path to the left of the cricket field aiming towards the spire of a church.  You come to a road and follow it ahead, crossing a small road to the right which leads to the Sherwood Forest Youth Hostel and the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, which you may well wish to visit.  Continue on towards the crossroads in the centre of Edwinstowe heading south along the road (Church Street) past the church going into the village. The church, where Robin Hood married Maid Marian according to the stories, is the official end of the Robin Hood Way (or the start), which goes all the way to Nottingham castle if you decide to tackle it from this direction.

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

10 Sep

 

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

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

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2km)

Map of the Route

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

  

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

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 59: Rainworth and Strawberry Hill

23 Jul

 

This is a short walk starting and finishing in the large village of Rainworth, about 3 miles to the east of Mansfield.  The first and last sections are in the village but the middle loop is around the pleasant heathland and woods of the Strawberry Hill nature reserve.  The paths are good and drain well so the walk should be suitable for all seasons and conditions.  There are frequent bus services to Rainworth from Mansfield with a bus stop right at the start of the walk.

Start:  The east side of Rainworth on the main road through the village at the junction with Helmsley Road.

Distance: 3 miles

Map of the Route

From the junction with the main road through Rainworth walk along Helmsley Road, a fairly quiet residential street, straight for about 400m until you reach the end of the cul-de-sac where it meets fields.  Take the wide track at the end going straight on to the left of the fields.  This track continues straight for 300m and then bends slightly to the left near a wood.  The path ahead splits into two going only slightly apart and it doesn’t really matter which you take as they both come to a bridge shortly after.

Go across the bridge which goes above the Rainworth bypass.  You will hear the traffic but won’t be able to see it as the bridge’s sides are boarded off and solid (and graffiti- covered).

On the other side you find yourself at the top of a wide track in woodland.  Carry straight on downhill on the main track ahead for 300m ignoring any narrower paths to either side.  At the bottom of the hill you reach a T junction with another slightly narrower but very obvious track.  Turn left here and walk steadily uphill on the narrower but straight track for 300m.

Bear right along an even narrower more twisting path for 250m until you go past a wooden sign marking the entrance to the Strawberry Hill reserve. Go downhill quite steeply on a path more sandy than the firm paths you have been on so far with a fence to your left. At  the bottom there is an information board on the right just off the path and another wooden Strawberry Hill sign at a path junction ahead.  The path we have been on continues to the left by the fence but you should turn right by the sign to go uphill on a sandy narrow path.

This is quite a sharp incline but is only a short one.  The path is a little uneven at first then at the top of the climb turns to deep sand as the path bends to the right with trees and bushes close to the path.

After a short flat section go downhill to reach a large pond on the left with ducks, moorhens and other water loving birds likely to be present.  As you reach the end of the pond turn sharp right uphill to follow a clear path under the trees.  Go for 400m to the top of the hill and an information board as you reach more open ground.  Turn right on a good path then almost immediately left downhill on another path that goes off from this one diagonally on a sandy surface.

At first you are in the open amongst heather then the path goes between trees to reach a wide track.  Turn right for short way to return to the first path junction you came to after the bridge near the start of the walk.

Turn left and retrace your steps up the hill, over the bridge and into Rainworth again.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 39: Blidworth Wood

7 Oct

There was too much road walking for my liking in the previous walk so I now present a walk entirely off roads. This walk is in the Blidworth Bottoms area of woodland a little south of Blidworth. The tracks are all good to walk on, some are wide firm tracks in the heart of the woods while others are narrower but still good to walk on, often being sandy and well-draining. There should be no problems with mud anywhere on the walk.  I have tried to keep to the edge of the wood for some of the walk as it can be a little claustrophobic and disorienting to be in the middle of woods for the entire walk.

Start: The car park at the north end of the woodland just off Blidworth Lane, not far from the Horse and Hounds pub. There is also a car park at the southern end of the woods off Longdale Lane and you can join the walk about half way round if you park here.  The walk isn’t very convenient for public transport with the nearest bus links at Blidworth about a mile away to the north.  About half a mile from the start of the walk along Blidworth Lane is the Fox and Hounds pub.

Distance: 3.6 miles

Map of The Route

From the car park go to the information board about the woods which is at the end of the car park away from the road.  Walk along the narrow path through the trees to the right of this board for thirty yards until you reach a wide, firm track coming across.  Turn left along this track and follow it for half a mile as it follows a very straight course.  The trees are a little way from the track at this point so that it feels a little more open than might be expected in such  woodland.  Soon the track starts to rise quite sharply upwards.  After you have been on this track for about 800 yards you reach the first major junction of paths with another wide track coming in from the right.  Here you should look instead for a narrower path to the left and take this one.

Follow this path which runs quite straight among trees on either side.  After 200 yards you find yourself at the edge of the wood on the left so that you have quite good views over the fields.  Ignore paths coming from the sides and follow the path along the edge of the wood.  You come to a wooden bench looking out of the wood over the fields to the north and east.  Continue along the path at the edge of the wood.  Soon you reach more paths just inside the edge of the wood although they all run in the same direction.  It doesn’t matter which you take at this point but start to make your way to the most distinct path which is about 20 yards in from the edge of the wood.  Carry on following the edge of the wood about twenty yards in.  The path begins to descend and becomes a little more sandy.  The path briefly leaves the edge of the wood near a small plantation on the left but you will hardly notice this before you are back with fields to your left.

From time to time you will see signs for various tracks and but you should just continue along the perimeter of the wood, ignoring tracks taking you further in.  The path has by now turned south and begins to turn go over some more undulating ground.  The path is still a good, distinct one though keep an eye out for tree roots.  There is a corner where the path turns to the right and then after a steep little descent you reach another corner where the temptation is to carry on along the track further into the wood.  However, turn left and stay at the edge of the wood with the fields still to your left.  By now you may well start to hear the roar of the traffic on the A614 which is only 300 yards away.  The path gradually descends for 500 yards until you reach a pylon on the right.   Turn right here and go right underneath the pylon away from the edge of the wood.

Follow the path in a direct line under the wires between the pylons.  The line of pylons makes navigation easy.   After 500 yards the narrower path you have been following meets a wide track.  Looking to your left here you will see the car park at the Longdale Lane entrance to the woods.  You will also see the green waymarks here showing that you are now on the Robin Hood Way.  Turn right here along the main wide track which is part of the Way.  After less than 100 yards look for a small wooden post with a blue line round it near the top on the left of the path.  This is the first of a series of such “blue” wooden posts that we will follow for the next part of the walk.  They occur quite regularly but with some distance between them so you may have to look a little way ahead to spot them and in some cases just follow the clear path until you reach the next one.

Turn left at the post to leave the main track and go onto a narrower one.  The path is still distinct and easy to follow.  You pass a small plantation, Price’s Piece, that you may enter, on the right of the path which commemorates one of the people who helped to establish the Robin Hood Way. Follow the path, which is now going north-west, as it goes through quite dense woodland with the trees closer to the path.  The path has been easy to follow but soon you come to a junction of paths at the bottom of a slope on the right.  Here it would be quite easy to start following one of these paths going straight on or to the right.  Instead you should look to the left and about fifty yards away along the path you will see a wooden barrier.  Walk to the barrier and make your way around it to the right and join another clear path going roughly north-westerly.

Follow this path, which although quite narrow, is clear with no other paths to confuse you.  Keep an eye out for the “blue” marker posts to reassure you.  You soon come to another wooden barrier which you go through and continue along the path until you meet a much wider track.  Turn right along this track as it climbs quite steeply uphill.  At the top another wide track comes in from the left but you should continue along our track which bears right.  Ignore all minor tracks coming off our main one and walk along this wide one as it goes into more tree cover.  I was lucky enough to see a deer crossing the track at this point of the walk.  Around 500 yards from reaching the top of the hill you come to a junction of paths and tracks.  This was the one which we came to near the start of the walk where we turned left to the edge of the wood.  This time you should turn left along the main track downhill (this is the Robin Hood Way again) and retrace your steps to the car park at the start of the walk.

If you wish to follow the Robin Hood Way or want to link up with my earlier walk around Blidworth and Haywood Oaks (Walk 12) instead of going into the car park you should follow this main track all the way to the road (Blidworth Lane) and turn left.  Follow the lane, taking care as there is no proper verge, for 500 yards.  As you reach a riding stables look for a track on the right which is the Robin Hood Way.  Take this track which climbs and after 300 yards meets my earlier walk.