Tag Archives: Newark Castle

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 42: Newark, Queens Sconce and Newark Castle

29 Jan

This is a walk that is perhaps stretching the definition of Central Nottinghamshire a little but it connects with another of my walks, Walk 23, and is quite a good one for winter when other walks can be a little muddy.  It visits some interesting parts of Newark on roads and good paths which are fine to walk on in all conditions.  It’s a walk I like to do if I have a spare hour when I’m in Newark.

Start: Newark Market Place

Distance: 2.8 miles

Map of Walk Route

Newark is a local transport hub with good connection across Nottinghamshire to Mansfield and Nottingham by bus and further afield by train.

From the market place in the centre of Newark, one of the largest and finest in England, you will see the church of St. Mary Magdalene towering over one side.  Turn so that the church is on your left with the town hall behind you and leave the market place by the wide road in the middle ahead of you.  After fifty yards on this pedestrianised road you reach a junction.  Turn right here and walk along this road, also pedestrianised, (Carter Gate) for 200 yards until you reach a busy crossroads.  Here go to the left hand side of Carter Gate and use the crossing to go across the road (London Road) to the other side of the crossroads.  Walk along the pavement going straight on from the crossroads along the road ahead (Portland Street) in almost the same direction as Carter Gate.

After 100 yards cross a road coming off the main road (Albert Street) so that you stay walking along Portland Street.  Continue along the street, which becomes Victoria Street, for half a mile going past a Co-op store and over a few minor roads.  The road is quite busy but there is pavement all the way.  Eventually you see the Spring House pub on the other side of the road, which is now Farndon Road.  Stay on the same side of the main road but cross Boundary Road coming in from the left.  As you come level with the pub you will see to the left of you a large park appear.  Go into the park, Sconce and Devon Park,  and follow the edge of a small entrance road that enters the park near a car park.  Leave the road and head left up a bank to reach a wide expanse of grass.  Aim for the far left hand corner of this grass about 300 yards away.  At the end of the grass in the corner you reach a good track but this won’t be what attracts your attention.

You will have noticed approaching the corner that the ground ahead rose steeply at the end but as you reach the path you see a large earthwork with an arrangement of deep ditches.  This is the Queens Sconce, where the Parliamentarians were based to launch their attacks on the Castle and the King in the siege of Newark during the English Civil War.  There is a notice board giving much greater detail than I will go into here next to the path.  A little way ahead there is a relatively new bridge across one of the ditches which you can cross to take a closer look.

The "new" bridge and Queen's Sconce

The “new” bridge and Queen’s Sconce

Walk along the path with the Sconce to your right and a hedge to your left.  It is worth having a look round the earthwork at the bridge but return to the path and go past the Sconce earthworks.  Immediately after you have gone past the ditch turn right along another track for fifty yards.  Where this track starts to reach a slope you should turn left to stay on the top level heading towards a building, a sports pavilion.  Stay on the right hand side of this football field, going past the pavilion on your left to emerge at the corner of another football pitch.  Carry straight on along the side of the pitch with trees to your right, for 200 yards.

You should then see a post with directions on it indicating different paths you can take.  Here you should turn right to go into the trees towards the Devon Pastures and down a decent path which starts to head back in the direction of Newark.  Below you through the trees you will see the River Devon which you come down to at the bottom of the path.

River Devon

River Devon

 

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 Walk alongside the river which is slow-moving and peaceful here.  After a short stretch of open grass you reach some more trees.  Other paths come down the slope on your right occasionally but you should keep following the river on your left until the path comes out onto the pavement next to a busy road.  On the other side of this road you will see the impressive array of boats moored at Farndon Marina.  Unless you want to take a closer look at the Marina you should stay on this side of the road and turn right.  The road is busy but there is a wide pavement here.

After 400 yards you approach the Spring House pub again where we went into Queens Sconce Park.  Just before the pub you should cross the main road where there is a crossing to a central refuge and go to the other side of Farndon Road.  Turn right and walk along the pavement bearing left at the fork where the Spring House is.  You should be on the opposite side of the road to the pub.  Follow this left hand road (Mill Gate) for the next 600 yards.  This road is much quieter than Farndon Road but there is still a good wide pavement.  You may pass some horses which are tethered alongside the road here.  By now you are back in the town with various residential streets coming off Mill Gate.  you should ignore all of these until you have gone past the Watermill pub on the right hand side of Mill Gate, which is now much narrower.  Look for the next road on the left (Mill Lane) and turn along that for a short way.  You soon cross a quite steeply humped bridge over the river.

On the other side turn right to follow the River Trent, at this point technically known as the Navigation.  With the river immediately on your right you go past a boatyard by a short narrow footbridge, before coming to a lock.  Stay on the left of the Navigation all the way along as ahead you see Newark Castle on the other side of the river. Shortly after the lock there is a bridge across another branch of the river on the left.  Cross the bridge, turn right and walk along a firm path next to the river as you come alongside the castle.  The path reaches a road bridge just past the castle.  The riverside path does go under this bridge but instead you should bear slightly left on the path that takes you up to the road.  At the road turn right and cross the bridge over the river along a quite narrow pavement which then becomes much wider as you leave the river behind.  Go slightly uphill alongside the pavement until you reach the corner of the road near a roundabout.  On your right here is the entrance to the castle grounds.  If you haven’t looked around this is an ideal opportunity to walk around the grounds and to go to the castle walls overlooking the river.  If you do this then you should return to this corner to continue the walk.

From the corner turn right to walk on the pavement alongside the castle grounds on Castle Gate.  Very soon you come to a crossing where you should cross Castle Gate.  On the other side just to the right of the crossing you will see a lane, Boar Lane.  Go along Boar Lane, which is usually quiet, for 200 yards until you reach the end as it meets Middle Gate.  Cross Middle Gate and almost immediately opposite but just to the right is another lane, Chain Lane, which you should join.  After 150 yards you emerge from Chain Lane into Newark market place again.

 

 

Walks in Central Notts – Walk 23 Averham to Newark (Stage 7 of the Mansfield to Newark walk)

28 Feb

Averham to Newark (Stage 7 of the Mansfield to Newark walk)

This walk carries on from Walk 22 Fiskerton to Averham (Stage 6 of the Mansfield to Newark walk) and completes the last stage of the walk from Mansfield ( a grand total of 29 miles for the entire walk).

Start: Bus stop by the school in Averham.

Finish: Newark Market Place

Distance: 3 miles

Map Of The Route

The first stage of this walk is, unfortunately, alongside the main A617 road. It would be nice to be able to avoid this but any diversion is rather long.  The road section is only a mile long and there is a decent pavement all the way.

From the bus shelter in Averham walk for 50 yards towards the main A617 road along the pavement next to the school. Cross the A617 with extreme care as the road is busy and the traffic fast. You may have to wait for a minute for a suitable gap in the traffic but one will occur and when it does make your way to the other side of the road where there is a pavement.

On the far side of the road turn right and walk along the pavement around a slight bend and follow the pavement for the next half mile to the village of Kelham. For the first 400 yards you are walking next to open fields.  Soon the road enters an area of tall trees on either side of the road and on the right hand side of the road you approach the grounds of Kelham Hall, the soon-to-be former home of Newark and Sherwood District council. Kelham Hall is an impressive building and you will catch a glimpse of it between the trees.  The new owners have a woodland trail around the grounds which you may like to incorporate into your walk.

You enter Kelham village and reach a sharp right hand bend.  Follow the pavement around the bend and carry on past The Fox pub on the left. If you have walked from Fiskerton you may want to stop here for refreshment. If not, continue along the pavement crossing a minor road on the left before the road rises slightly as it crosses the River Trent on quite a narrow bridge. On the far side of the river there is another sharp right hand bend which sometimes causes problems for larger vehicles trying to negotiate it. As you start to follow this bend round look for a wide track on the left, going away from the road, which you should turn along.

The temptation is to carry on along this straight track but the path you want actually leaves the track almost as soon as you reach the bottom of the slope coming away from the road.  Look for a path leaving the main track to the right going into a small grassy field.  Cross the field through long grass trying to avoid the nettles and aiming for a kissing gate with a yellow post indicating the footpath about 100 yards away.

The nature of the next fields may differ from my description as I did this walk last summer.  In fact it will probably be easier to negotiate them when the crops haven’t reached their full height.  At the time of my walk the next field of oil-seed rape had a clear path made through the crops.  If the path isn’t obvious when you do the walk you should keep going in the same direction as when you crossed the grassy field.   Actually the path goes almost straight for the next half mile across the next three fields.

This first field is about 300 yards across, the second is slightly further across.  As you leave this field you may find that the next one you enter contains sheep. This third field is about 400 yards long and you should follow the line of the hedge just to your left.  I found that the temporary fence to contain the sheep was very close to the field edge and the narrow gap was a little awkward.  If this fence is still there you may be able to step over it and walk just inside it where you have a bit more room.  Leave this field in the far left-hand corner to enter another field which is about 150 yards straight across and opens up to your left  Go straight across this to the end of a line of trees and from there enter another more enclosed field .  This field is only 100 yards across, mostly surrounded by trees and you should stay on the left hand side by the hedge.  The way out only becomes apparent as you get close to the far side of the field where you will see a gap in the corner.

Leave the field in this corner where you cross a dyke and go straight over the next field for 200 yards.  Leaving this field you come to the rugby club.  Cross the rugby pitches towards the large clubhouse pictured below but pass to the left of all these buildings going almost straight on aiming for the obvious gap in the hedges you see ahead. You go very close to a small hut by the pitch just before going through the gap in the hedge.  This leads to another set of pitches which you go straight across in the same direction you have been walking.  The prominent spire of the church next to Newark Market place shows how near you are to finishing the walk and may give you an extra spring in your step.

Newark Rugby Club

Newark Rugby Club

At the end of these pitches you go up some steps to reach the A617 again.  Very carefully go straight across the road and down some more steps on the far side. Cross the corner of a small field to reach a slightly larger grassy field which you should go straight across.  This brings you to another potentially busy road, the Newark by-pass (A46).  Cross this carefully and enter another small field.  Go straight across this and through the treeline at the far side.  Going up a bank brings you onto the old Kelham Road at the end of a cul-de-sac.  Keep going almost straight on and follow the road for 300 yards all the way to the far end where it meets the main road into Newark, bearing right at the small fork in the road near the main road.  Turn right at the end and go over the level crossing next to Newark Castle railway station.

Continue alongside the main road passing the Cattle Market on the right and soon reaching the bridge over the river Trent.  As you cross the bridge Newark castle rises proudly above the river on your right.  Continue straight on over the bridge and then onto a wider section of pavement.  If you are planning to get the bus back towards Mansfield then there is a stop just here which you walk past. The main Newark bus station is found not far away by turning right along Castle Gate and following the road round the corner onto Lombard Street. At the end of the main road you reach a roundabout and junction.  Right on the corner is the entrance to the grounds of Newark Castle.  The castle is well worth a look and has played a part in several incidents in British history, perhaps most notably being where King John died and as the focal point of the siege of Newark in the English Civil War.  The grounds are a pleasant spot for a wander or sit down and the view from the castle back towards our route is a good one.

Newark Castle

Newark Castle

If you aren’t going to visit the castle or if you have had a look then our route resumes at the corner.  From the corner turn right to walk on the pavement alongside the castle grounds on Castle Gate.  Very soon you come to a crossing where you should cross Castle Gate.  On the other side just to the right of the crossing you will see a lane, Boar Lane.  Go along Boar Lane, which is usually quiet, for 200 yards until you reach the end as it meets Middle Gate.  Cross Middle Gate and almost immediately opposite but just to the right is another lane, Chain Lane, which you should join.  After 150 yards you emerge from Chain Lane into Newark market place,one of the largest and finest in England.  There is no one spot which marks the end of my Mansfield to Newark walk but the market place is in itself a splendid place to finish the walk.

If you have come all the way from Mansfield take satisfaction in having completed a challenge where you will have encountered a interesting variety of the landscape of Central Nottinghamshire.  You will also have seen some of the finest buildings the county has to offer.  Newark has a wide selection of pubs, cafes and eating establishments where you can celebrate reaching the end of your walk.