Tag Archives: River Maun

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Elkesley to Duncanwood Lodge

7 Nov

This stage goes through fields and woods before returning to Clumber Park for a long straight walk under trees. There is a spur of the Way that takes a short detour to Robin Hood’s Cave and Whitewater Bridge then returns to the main route.

Start: Elkesley (continues from the Stage Clumber Park to Elkesley)

Finish: Duncanwood Lodge (continues to the Stage from Duncanwood Lodge to Edwinstowe)

Distance: 15km (9 miles) if not doing the Whitewater Bridge spur. 18km (11 miles) if you are.

Map of the Route

If you have used the bus to reach Elkesley you should go south along Headland Avenue from the bus stop for 250m to meet the Robin Hood Way again at the edge of the village on Brough Lane. If you have been walking along the Way from the previous stage in Clumber Park then as you reach the village you should carry on along the road with houses on your left, bearing slightly right rather than turn left into the village.

After the last house continue along the track for 200m until the road starts to bend left. Turn right here onto a path going downhill by a field. Go over a bridge into Elkesley Wood. This is surprisingly hard to find your way through as there is little footpath signage and several paths. On entering the wood bear right along a clear path next to a stream. After a short way at the first junction of paths bear left away from the stream slightly uphill. Follow this path until you come to another junction of paths. When I did this walk there was a wooden log with Robin Hood Way waymarks at this junction but unfortunately this was lying on the ground and it was hard to tell which was the right way to go. In fact you should turn left here along another path for 80m until you reach another path junction near the edge of the wood. Turn right along a path which after 150m emerges from the wood on a wider track near a brick building.

Walk along a grassy path which climbs quite steeply up a small hill towards buildings. At the top of the climb cross the wide track of West Drayton Lane, which you walked along in the previous stage. Go through a gate opposite. Follow a track past buildings of this reindeer farm looking out for Rudolph. The track bends to the right and as you reach the front of the farm buildings you turn left along a wide gravel track going downhill towards a road (the B6387). At the farm gateway go carefully straight across this road and continue along the track on the other side. This continues downhill with a wood on your left at first. You cross the River Meden and then go under a railway bridge, past a farmyard and cross a bridge over the River Maun.

The track climbs slightly and then turns left. Very soon you reach a right turn which you should take. If you carry straight on after 400m you come to the ruins of a small chapel (St.John’s Chapel) which you may wish to visit. If you do then return to this junction. Turn downhill to cross this very large field aiming for an area of woodland and continue straight on after that to the bottom of the hill. Turn left and very soon after that right to go down into a small area of trees next to Bevercotes Beck on the left.

Carry on into another field and follow the left hand edge for 400m until you reach a hedge coming across. Turn right and stay along the edge of the field with this hedge on your left. After 150m the hedge ends but you should keep going in the same direction. Where a new hedge starts you should go through a wide gap ahead so that this hedge is on your right. Follow a wide grassy track for 250m until you reach a large field. Turn left and follow a track with a hedge now on your left. After 300m near power lines is a junction of paths. Going straight on takes you to the village of Walesby with a pub and other facilities. Our route however turns right here, going under the power lines. Aim towards houses along a wide track with a field on your right and hedge on your left. After 500m you reach a road but don’t go out to it yet. Instead turn right and stay inside the field with a hedge on your left. After 100m turn left out of the field and cross the road (the B6387 again). Directly opposite is a path which you join and follow straight on.

At first the path is quite narrow next to a hedge but after 800m it becomes wider. It goes over a mineral railway line and then joins a wide farm track with large pens of chickens to your left. Go straight on under sets of power lines until you reach woodland. Keep walking straight ahead for 200m until you come to a T junction of paths.

This is where you choose whether to make the diversion left on a spur of the Robin Hood Way to have a look at a couple of sights. To continue the full Robin Hood Way you will have to return to this point the same way you went . I would certainly recommend making the shortish walk to Robin Hood’s Cave. If you then want to continue to Whitewater Bridge one possibility is to carry on to Ollerton another 2.5km further on (see my Walk 57 for directions). Ollerton is on a bus route to Elkesley.

Robin Hood’s Cave and River Maun

For the extra spur you should turn left at the path T junction and follow a good path with trees close by on your right. After you reach a clear area of sandstone on the right of the path. This is the site of Robin Hood’s Cave, a small hole in the sandstone overlooking the River Maun about twenty metres below. You can go onto the stone where you can also see the handiwork of locals who have carved their names into the rock. To continue on the spur route go back to the main path and carry on south into the woods going gradually downhill. After 700m you leave the wood at a bend in a quiet road. Turn right along the road for a short way then cross to the other side of the road to join a path running alongside the road. This soon comes to Whitewater Bridge which crosses the River Maun and is quite a pleasant spot. From here you can either retrace your steps to the T junction of paths on the main Robin Hood Way or follow the path on the other side of the bridge which goes left and follows the Maun to Ollerton.

Whitewater Bridge

Back at the T junction to continue the Robin Hood Way if you have come from the Whitewater Bridge spur you carry straight on. If you haven’t done the extra spur you turn right at the T junction.

The path is in woods and obvious with a field clearing on the right. Go straight on for then go down a short quite steep section of path as the path becomes narrower with trees now all around in this copse (Conjure Alders). At the bottom take a slight turn to the right and cross a footbridge on the left. Go over a second bridge and out of the copse into a field.

Turn left and follow the edge of the field, which had cows in it on my visit. Turn uphill at the corner and keep following the hedge until you reach a gap at the top of the field as you reach a minor road. Cross this and continue in the same direction in the field on the other side staying on the field edge with a hedge on your left. On reaching a plantation to your left stay at the field edge alongside the plantation. At the end of the third field after the road you find yourself getting closer to the A614. A little way into the next field the path enters scrub on the left. Continue along the path with the A614 very close by on your left.

After 900m you reach the minor road signed to Bothamsall. Cross this and then the A614 at the crossing. On the other side follow the path away from the A614 going to the right of the gate to a signpodted bridleway. Enter the woodland of Clumber Park and join a wide track. This track is called Freeboard Lane. Follow it almost straight under the trees going south-west. There are a few very small bends but it is very straightforward as you ignore all side turnings. After 2.5 km you reach a lodge (South Lodge).

Cross the wide track going to the right and continue straight on keeping to the left of the fence bordering the Lodge garden. After another 650m a clearing appears on the left with various tracks going off to the side. Ignore all the side tracks and keep going straight ahead until you meet a wide track or green “ride”. Follow this track for 2km until you reach a small car park by the road (B6005) near Duncanwood Lodge. This is where this stage finishes. There are bus shelters here for the Sherwood Arrow bus service between Worksop and Ollerton, which also continues to Nottingham, every two hours.

Crossing the road takes you onto the stage I described a few months ago going from Duncanwood Lodge to Edwinstowe

The Robin Hood Way: River Maun near Edwinstowe to Norton

14 Oct

This stage goes alongside the River Maun, then past Archway House into Sherwood Forest before heading into the quiet village of Norton.

The description in italics takes you from Edwinstowe until you join the Robin Hood Way. The rest of the route is on the Way itself.

Start: Unless you are continuing the walk from the previous Eakring stage you will start in the centre of Edwinstowe. The crossroads near Edwinstowe church and the Royal Oak pub, where the High Street (B6034) meets the A6075. Edwinstowe is quite well served by public transport with buses from Nottingham and Mansfield. If coming by car the best place to park is probably not in Edwinstowe itself but at the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, just north of the village on the way the Major Oak, which is well signed.

Finish: Norton village. There is a bus to Edwinstowe every two hours on weekdays. You may prefer to do a circular walk following this stage at first and returning to Edwinstowe along the final stages of the Robin Hood Way which I will describe later.

Distance: 13.6 km (8.5 miles)

Map of the Route

From the junction at the centre of Edwinstowe walk downhill along the main shopping street. Keep straight on out of the centre and at the bottom of the hill cross the River Maun. Make sure you are on the right hand side of the road as you go uphill again. Just before you reach the railway bridge over the road turn right along . After 300m the road bends to the left as you leave the houses behind and soon on the right turn into a field to follow a footpath. This path is at the bottom of a slope with trees and a hedge on your right through which you can see the river at the bottom. Follow this path for 400m towards the end of the field and a junction of paths where you meet the Robin Hood Way coming down the hill.

At this junction of paths carry on then bear right along a narrow path with the river on your right. Cross a wooden bridge over the River Maun and continue straight on to a less obvious bridge over the Flood Dyke. Go on uphill along the track and at the top of the slope turn left along a decent path with a hedge now on your right. Follow this path along the right of the narrow field for 250m.

At the far end of the field you enter a wood. The easiest way here is just to carry straight on until you reach the far end but you can take another path bearing left going in the same direction which wanders through the trees just above the river. Both paths will eventually reach the end of the wood after 300m.

Path near the River Maun

Go slightly downhill and follow the path by the river for 200m. The river here is very tranquil and flows slowly among the fields on either side. At one time these were the Duke of Portland’s Flood Meadows and there is an information board about them next to the path.

River Maun

You reach a wide bridge over the Maun on the left but should turn right uphill on a wide track towards a prominent building. After 300m you reach tall trees and the building with some rather ornate sculptures, some of which are of Robin Hood and his Men, on the walls above a large arch. This is Archway House, built by the Duke of Portland in 1842. It is now used as self-catering holiday accommodation and there is an information board to tell you more next to the path. Follow a clear, road-like driveway ahead for 300m into the woods with a field on your left. Go straight on along the obvious track in the woods which later bends to the left. Stay on this until you reach a road. This is the A6075 and the traffic travels quickly so cross carefully. On the opposite side of the road you reach a path with a large boulder by it.

Follow the path away from the road bearing left by the edge of the wood. After 300m at a track junction don’t turn right but stay almost straight bearing slightly left to meet a hedge. Follow this for 300m when you should look to the left of the track for a little pile of stones and a cross about 5m away. This marks the site of the former St.Edwin’s Chapel, from which Edwinstowe gets its name. Continue along the main track ignoring a path to the right and crossing another. Go across a narrow section of plantation to a T junction with a wide bridleway. Turn right along the bridleway. After 400m a track to the left meets ours and we bear left along it.

After a kilometre you reach another major junction of paths.  You have reached the hill of Thynghowe, also known as Hanger Hill.  This has been a meeting place of people in Sherwood Forest for over a thousand years.  It is at the border of three parishes and may even have been the border between the ancient kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia.  The most striking feature is the prominent tree just ahead to the left of the path.  The path we have just reached is Hanger Hill Drive and local people have devised a three mile Trail, the Thynghowe Trail with points of interest marked by wooden posts with letters corresponding to points on the Trail Guide, along it.  Here we are about half way along the Trail.  You go left here and start to descend.  Surprisingly the path we are following, in the middle of the forest, is a hard, properly surfaced drive which at one time went all the way to Welbeck Abbey.  On the right you shortly see a wooden post and if you look to the right of the path can see two earth banks marking the site of a World War II ammunition store.

The path is straight and in good condition and again undulates a little in the next half mile. Carry on past lime trees and a clearing to the right of the path.  After a little more than half a mile from Thynghowe descend to a major junction of tracks near a large tree on the right.  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.   The Robin Hood Way goes left here.

The Thynghowe Trail goes straight across the wide track ahead.  In fact this is also the Robin Hood Way but here it is coming the other way as it returns to Edwinstowe. If you want to make a circular walk from Edwinstowe you can do the same.

Our journey north on the Way continues uphill from the junction but after 100m turn sharp right along a track near where the trees on the right finish. The track rises for a short way between a hedge and the wood before descending on a long straight path to reach Gleadthorpe Grange and the quite busy B road.

Carefully go straight across and up the metalled track opposite past farm buildings. When you reach a crossroads of tracks turn right off the main track onto a path. This soon enters a plantation of trees and meeting the other part of the Robin Hood Way again.  The path climbs and soon goes into tree cover on a narrower path with fields to the right.  In autumn you will find piles of leaves here which you can scrunch through.  The path rises a little more until after 500m you reach the road at Hazeil Gap.

Cross to the north side of the road where there are two main tracks. Take the left hand track which goes diagonally off to the left.  It is a wide firm path that goes mostly straight through woodland for much of the way and has a few undulations.  The most notable sights along the way are arrays of solar panels in the fields.  This is nice walking and after 1200m you reach the end of the track and go past Corunna Lodge on the right onto a quiet road.  Turn left along this for 600m.  There is no pavement and limited verge so stay alert but it is generally quiet.  Turn left along the road at a sharp bend where the way ahead becomes a private drive.  Follow the road for another 700m into the small village of Norton.  Near the junction in the village is the bus stop.

The Robin Hood Way: Eakring to Rufford Park and Edwinstowe

13 Nov

Continuing my descriptions of the stages of the Robin Hood Way in central Notts with this short walk. I have walked this way several times, most significantly for me as the first stage of my walk that eventually stretched from Land’s End to John O’Groats. The walk leaves Eakring across fields, descending to a wide farm track which takes you across a golf course and close to Rufford Park.  Then past the entrance to Center Parcs and across fields to the River Maun.  Leaving the Robin Hood Way takes you into Edwinstowe.

Start: Eakring village

Finish:  Edwinstowe (note that the route leaves the Robin Hood Way for the last mile into Edwinstowe)

Distance: 11 km

Map of the Route

If starting from the centre of Eakring go from the main junction in the village (where Main St meets Kirklington Road) past the church.  Cross to the opposite side of the road from the church and walk for about 400m to reach Side Lane on the right.  If continuing from the previous Stage of the Robin Hood Way from Southwell you come to Side Lane from the other direction and turn left.

Where Side Lane turns right to become Back Lane keep straight ahead along a narrow path between hedges. Go through a gate into a field and when you reach the paddock field turn right.  Follow the path, keeping the hedge immediately to your right, until you reach the end of the field. Go down through a gap in the hedge to a wide farm track.

Here the route goes left but just across the track is one of the more interesting local features which it would be sad to miss.  Go across the track and follow the path up a short rise through the trees to reach the corner of a large field.  On your left here is a set of railings guarding a small cross.  This is a memorial to Rev. William Mompesson, the Rector of Eyam in Derbyshire which had suffered badly from the plague in 1665.  He was appointed vicar of Eakring in 1670 but the villagers refused to let him into the village fearing he carried the plague.  He held his services under an ash tree on this spot, which is known as Pulpit Ash.  That tree was hit by lightning but a young tree was planted to replace it and has grown here.

Mompesson Cross

Mompesson Cross

Retrace your steps onto the wide farm track and turn left so that you are going towards Eakring.  Follow this track towards a farm slightly downhill.  At a T junction turn right on another track and very soon left to farm buildings on the left.  At the buildings a lane comes in from the right.  Continue straight ahead to a junction at Church Lane, the main road in the village.  Turn left towards the Savile Arms Inn and cross the main road.

Turn right at the Savile Arms to go along Wellow Road.  As you leave the village, just past an old windmill there is a footpath off to the left at a stile.

This stile takes you into a field after going through a kissing gate.  However, the stile is a very big step up and is tricky to manage.  You may well find it easier to climb over the gate next to the stile to go into the field.  This field can be a bit muddy at the bottom at times, especially if horses have been using it and churning up the ground.  Go uphill for fifty yards to reach another  gate and go through that into another field.  Carry on uphill through this field for 200 yards and out via another gate.  This takes you to an open field and a wide track coming across you.  From here you can look back with good views to the east.

Looking back on the route towards Lound Wood

Cross the wide track bearing slightly uphill across a field towards a clump of trees.  Keep aiming just to the left of them on what is usually a clear track in this arable field.  As you reach the brow of the hill you start to get good views of Sherwood Forest and the surrounding countryside going all the way to Derbyshire.  Go downhill along the path aiming for a stile at the end of the field.  As you reach it you see that you can go to the left of the stile rather than climb over it. Here go into a grass field.  Here you will also see the green waymarks for the Robin Hood Way which we will follow for the next mile.  In this grassy field, sometimes containing sheep, go down quite a steep slope bearing just to the left.  You come to another obsolete stile at the bottom of the field which you can go round.

This takes you to a bridge which goes over a short section of a disused, now grass-covered railway line.  This comes as a bit of a surprise in when all around you are fields.  Cross the bridge to reach another field.

Bridge over the old railway line


Going straight on from the bridge there is a strip of quite short grass forming a sort of path across middle of the field.  At the other side of the field you reach a hedge and trees with a wooden footbridge going over a stream.  Cross the bridge and go out of the other side of the hedge into a slightly uneven arable field.  The field is about 400 yards across and often will have a defined path to follow.  If it hasn’t, aim for about the third tree from right near a gap in the row of trees at the far end of the field.  As you cross the field you can look back to take a direct straight line bearing from the bridge which will also give a good guide.  At the far end of the field you reach a good wide track.  Turn right along it and follow it as it bends right then crosses a stream after 200 yards.  You will see a large pond on the right of the track which often has ducks, geese and other birds on it.  Carry on along the track soon passing a smaller pond on the left of the path. Stay on the track heading towards a redbrick house with solar panels on the right of the track.  Staying on the track past this house you reach a pleasant avenue of trees.  Follow the track along this avenue until you reach a junction with another wide track.

Turn left here taking you towards Rufford Park.  At first this wide track is metalled but soon it gets rougher.  As you approach a plantation bear left, past a barrier to reach a house and stables.  Stay on the track, now metalled again, as it descends through trees.  At the bottom you emerge at a golf course.  Stay on the main track alongside the fairway, taking care to watch out for stray golf balls.  At a junction of tracks after 500m turn left and cross a bridge over a stream (Rainworth Water).  Follow the stream for a short distance to a junction of tracks, then bear left.

After 400m, just past a bungalow to the left, turn right by a line of poplar trees along a rough track.  Cross a bridge over Rainworth Water again by a small plantation.  Continue straight on along the track towards farm buildings going through a gate.  Go past the buildings on your right and then go down through trees to reach the busy A614.

Here the Robin Hood Way goes straight across the A614 but if you have time you should turn right on this side of the road for 300m to reach the entrance to Rufford Park, one of the finest parks in Nottinghamshire, and explore the many interesting attractions.

Back on the Robin Hood Way, having crossed the A614, carry straight on along a short section of wide track.  You soon reach the entrance road to Center Parcs holiday village which you go straight across and continue onto a wide straight track.  Follow this track with Center Parcs on your left for 300m then turn right into a field and follow a path uphill by the field edge to a small plantation.  Turn left for 100m by the trees to a gap and path going into the plantation.  Soon you leave the wood and turn right to follow a straight path along the field edge with a hedge to your right.  This goes down and then up to meet the B6030 road which you cross carefully.

Don’t take the path going straight on but turn left for 200m to the entrance of Holly Farm.  Turn right along the driveway and pass the farm buildings.  Enter a large field and follow the hedgeline downhill to another road.  Cross this and go through the gate opposite.  Cross a field with a hedge on your left to reach a railway line.  Cross this and descend straight on to reach a path by the river Maun.

At this point the Robin Hood Way bears left away from Edwinstowe but I have decided to end this stage by going into Edwinstowe which has good transport links making for a more convenient walk.  You can choose to continue along the Robin Hood Way which I shall give details of in a future blog post but note that transport links are lacking for the next miles.

To go into Edwinstowe turn right and continue along the path close to the river at the bottom of the field as the field opens up to your right.  Stay along this path for 400 yards with trees and a hedge to your left.  You will catch occasional glimpses of the river below you.  At the end of the field go through a gap next to a hedge and come out onto a road.  The road is fairly quiet but there is no pavement or footway so be careful.  Turn left along the road and follow it as you come to the first houses of Edwinstowe.  The road soon bends to the right and then runs straight for the next 300 yards until you reach a road junction.  At the junction turn left to go downhill along the pavement of this main road going into the centre of Edwinstowe.

There are regular buses to Nottingham, Mansfield and Worksop from Edwinstowe.  If you want to return to Eakring you can get the Sherwood Forester bus to Bilsthorpe and the 28B from there to Eakring.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 57: Ollerton, Boughton Brake and the River Maun

18 Feb

This walk takes you from the large village of Ollerton, through the woodland of Boughton Brake and then returning to Ollerton alongside a relatively new track by the River Maun. There is a short diversion if you wish to Old Ollerton.  The walk is along roads in Ollerton and then good tracks which should be fine in all underfoot conditions.

Start: I am starting my route from the centre of Ollerton which has pretty good public transport links to most parts of the county. There are plenty of side roads for parking too. You can also start in old Ollerton village or at Boughton Brake where there is space for parking.

Distance: 4.7 miles

Map of the Route

Ollerton is a busy village with good amenities many of which lie on or just off the main road through the village (the A6075).  I am choosing to start the walk in the centre of the village on this main road at the junction with Briar Road which goes to the main church in Ollerton a little to the north of the A6075. From the junction walk towards St.Paulinus church which is in the centre of an island surrounded by a road acting as a hub with others coming off it. These mostly aren’t busy and have bus stops at different points for the various places served.  You should be aiming to leave the area directly straight on so follow the pavement round the circle with the church in the middle and leave the circle on the far side along Lime Tree Road.  This goes down quite steeply for a short distance and at the bottom of the hill follow Walesby Lane right for 500m.  At the first main junction you come to cross the road ahead (Whinney Lane) and turn left but soon bear right along the pavement to cut the corner instead of walking on the grass next to Whinney Lane.   Cross a side road (Hallam Lane) and continue along the surfaced path near the road.  There is a wood ahead on your left and houses to the right at first but you soon reach the edge of the village.

Follow the lane as it leaves the village and approaches the woods.  You go past a large brick building with a tall chimney, Boughton pumping station, on the left.   A little after this the road you have been following turns sharply to the right.  At this point you should go left into the woodland area.  This is Boughton Brake.  Go almost straight on along a well-defined path but bearing slightly left, ignoring the wide track going directly left, and aim for a large wooden post a little way ahead.  This part of the Brake is a more open area with fewer trees but as you carry on past the wooden signpost in the same direction on the left hand track the tree cover is greater.  You head towards the centre of the wood climbing gently for just over 300m.

Boughton Brake

At the top of the hill the path bends slightly to the left and you start to descend on a wider track.  This is a very pleasant path with trees on either side of the path and all around you although slightly further from the path itself so it doesn’t feel oppressive.  Continue along this path downhill for 600m until you reach the far corner of the wood which is also a road junction of quiet lanes.  Go very slightly on from the corner of the wood and the road turns sharply left.  You should turn left here along the road, staying on the right hand side as there is no pavement.  After 100m you see a footpath sign on the left of the road and you should leave the road to follow this firm path.  It stays almost alongside the road for another 200m when you reach a substantial footbridge where you cross the river Maun.  This, and the road bridge just to the north, is known as Whitewater Bridge.

Whitewater Bridge

…and footbridge

On the other side of the footbridge turn left and go back towards the river along a good track then by the river turn right .  Follow this track for the next mile and a half.  The river is always just a little to your left and at times you wouldn’t know it was there as it is out of sight, especially in the first half mile.  The track is a relatively new one which doesn’t appear on older Ordnance Survey maps.  To your right are fields of pigs for much of the way.  The path is almost straight and flat the whole way with a few small areas of trees and you can’t go wrong.  The river when you meet it again is slow-flowing and gentle.  You can go down to it at one point in a pleasant clump of trees.

River Maun

The Maun looking towards Boughton Pumping Station

Eventually you see the houses of Ollerton appearing on the left and the track turns to cross the Maun again over a small but solid wooden plank bridge.  The track then bends to the right near houses on your left with a fishing lake appearing on your right.  The track gets wider to become a rough road which you follow straight ahead past the entrance to the lakes.

Carry on to the end of the rough road and straight on up a short path which meets the busy A6075 where you turn left.  To return to the starting point of the walk you can go along for a short distance and take the first road to the left which takes you up to the main road into New Ollerton.  At this point, however, you are close to the old part of Ollerton and you may wish to take a short detour into Old Ollerton where from March to November you can visit the watermill on the Maun, the only active watermill in the county, and award winning tea room next door. To do this go across the A6075 using the crossing and take the first turning off to the right along the Main Street into Old Ollerton.  You soon pass an Italian restaurant and see the river Maun to the right near the car park.  You can get down to the Maun here opposite a small island with the village war memorial.  Ahead at the end of the street is the watermill and tea room just past an information board telling you about the village.

To complete the walk retrace your steps out of Old Ollerton, cross the A6075 at the crossing, then turn right along the pavement.  Take the first turning left and follow this road all the way into New Ollerton for half a mile until you reach the centre and your starting point.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire: Walk 54 Clipstone and the River Maun

27 Jul

This walk takes you through woods and past small and large ponds along the River Maun.  There are good bus links from Mansfield to the start of the walk with buses 14,15 and 16 every twenty minutes going to Clipstone.

Start: The bus stops by the BP garage on the road from Forest Town to Clipstone.

Distance: 4.4 miles

Click here for the  Route of the Walk


From the bus stops walk north a little way and take the road bearing slightly to the left (Clipstone Drive) from the main road on the opposite side from the garage (this is not the road going down the hill to the left).  Go to the left hand side of the road and after 100 yards you see a Bridleway sign on left.  Take the path going left down into the wood.  The path is soon under the cover of trees and goes quite steadily down the hill.

Path near Spa Ponds

The path is quite a good one, firm at first but then becoming more sandy.   After 600 yards you see a sign to the right of the path telling you that you are at Spa Ponds.  These were kept to provide fish for King Edward II and are now a nature reserve.  Stay on the main path and as the path flattens you see the first of the ponds.  Stay on this side of the ponds and go past another three of them.

Spa Ponds

There is a last little descent after 300 yards near the fourth one which is quite steepish and takes you to the bottom of the wood.

a River Maun

On the left you see the river Maun which you cross over on a wide concrete bridge. Follow a narrower path uphill.  This is a little sandy with trees and bushes close by on either side although not over the path to a great extent.

After 200 yards you reach a junction of tracks at a yellow post.  Turn right onto a wider bridleway.   This is flat but with a slope to the right across the fields down to the river.  These were the water meadows constructed for the Duke of Portland between 1816 and 1839 where water from the river and Mansfield were channelled along dykes to improve the pastures.  Follow the brideway, part of the Maun Trail,  which is generally straight for 600 yards until it reaches a hedge at a yellow post.  Turn sharply right and go down quite a steep path for 200 yards to the bottom of the slope.  Go through a gateway at a hedge to reach a large pond on the left.  This is a popular anglers’ lake.  Go straight on to the far side of the lake and a wide, firm track.  Turn left along this and walk straight along with the lake to your left.

Pond on the River Maun

on  Lilies on a pond on the River Maun

There are nice willow trees across the lake and lilies in the water.  To your right is the wood with tall conifers.  Follow the track almost straight to the end of the pond. Soon you reach another lake which you continue past.  You come to a bridleway sign on the right going into the wood but ignore this first one unless you want to cut the walk short as at the top it meets my walk again.   After another 600 yards  you reach another blue bridleway sign to the right and you should take this second one into the wood.  This is a wide track with trees a little way off on either side.  Climb steeply for 300 yards until the wide track bends to left near a signpost.  The wide track continues as a footpath but counterintuitively the bridleway continues as the narrower track that bears off to the right.  This is the one that we take.  It is uphill at first but starts to become flatter and then after 200 yards joins a wide straight track at the top of the wood.   Turn right along this very long track with a slightly loose surface.  There is a hedge on the left with fields, then forest and the headstocks of the former Clipstone colliery visible beyond that.  This track is so long and straight that in the first half of the 20th century it was used for speed trials and record attempts.

Sherwood Forest and Clipstone Headstocks

The wood  you have come through is on the right.  The track becomes a bit softer but it is steadily uphill for the next mile.  The track comes to the first houses and the road is surfaced for the next half mile as you continue straight along to reach your starting point.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 35: Ollerton, Wellow and Rufford Park

27 Apr

This is a walk linking the villages of Ollerton and Wellow, each with their own interesting features, and Rufford Country Park which has many attractions.  It is mostly flat on paths in fields and on roads.  There is one very short section of quite steep steps down and up a railway embankment.

Distance: 4.8 miles

Map of the Route

Start:  The centre of Old Ollerton village near the church.  There is a bus-stop near the river and water-mill on the bus routes from Nottingham and Mansfield.  If coming by car you should be able to find somewhere to park on the roads nearby or there is a small car park area near the Italian restaurant by the river in the centre of the village.  Alternatively you can start at Rufford Park where there is a large car park near the main entrance and a smaller one at the northern end of the lake near the road to Wellow.  There is usually a charge to use these car parks. The park has a host of attractions including a historic abbey, art installations, children’s playgrounds, refreshment facilities, nice woodland and an attractive lake.

Ollerton is a village of two distinct parts.  The main section is New Ollerton, a busy place built as housing for the pit, with a good selection and amenities.  However, just over the road is Old Ollerton, a quiet village near the River Maun where you often won’t see anyone else if you are out and about.  It is home to Ollerton Mill, the only working watermill in Nottinghamshire , which is open to the public most days of the week from March to November, and the neighbouring award-winning teashop.  There is also the aformentioned Italian restaurant and a pub,

River near Ollerton Mill

River near Ollerton Mill

The area by the river is very pleasant and you can go onto the “island” in the middle of the river from the road opposite the water mill and tearoom.

The Walk

Leaving the bus-stop  go towards the church.  You can have a look at the church itself before crossing over the main road to the wide pavement on the other side. Then turn left and go up the hill.  The road bends round to the left and from the right as you round the bend a road comes in (Bescar Lane).  You can cross back over to the church side of the road at this point to cut the corner to the top of the hill along a path.  At the top of the hill you reach quite a busy road (the A616 Wellow Road).  Cross this main road and turn left along the pavement on the other side.  After 50 yards you will see a footpath signpost at the end of a track on the right directing you along the track. Turn right along this track, named Middlefield Lane  on the roadsign at the end of the track.  The track begins as just a firm path but soon becomes a proper tarmac driveway passing some well-appointed houses on the right with a wood on the left.  After 300 yards the straight track bends to the right to cross a bridge over a railway line.  Keep straight on after the bridge to enter Fairfield Park, a complex of new homes.

You may think you have come the wrong way as you enter the complex but bear left at the fork in the road just as you enter the Park and you soon see a footpath which takes you round the edge of the Park.  The footpath takes you over the grass and down a narrow path going outside the complex next to a fence.  This path is quite narrow and can be a little muddy.  Follow the path next to the fence passing close to the houses at the edge of the park with a wood on your left.  As you reach the end of the houses you turn to the right and come to an area where the fence on your right is a solid wooden one and the land to the right a building site.  On your left is a sign for Tip Top Wood.  Carry on along the path with the wooden fence on your right and the wood to your left.  The path here is a little more muddy than previously although not anything to be too bothered by.  I can’t pretend that this part of the walk is very attractive with the fence blocking views to the right, and the sound of heavy construction vehicles coming from beyond it, but it is only a short section.

After 400 yards you reach the end if this path as it reaches a small field.  Turn left for 50 yards along the edge of this field and then turn right so that you are walking with the wood to your left and the field to your right.  This path is less muddy with a fence and a ditch immediately on your left.  Before long the hedge on the right of the path becomes more substantial until the trees start to form a little cover across the path.  As you near the road ahead you may start to notice bits of rubbish strewn near the path.

On reaching the road go atraight across to join the pavement on the far side.  Turn right and follow the pavement alongside the fairly busy road.  After 200 yards the road dips down where the old railway line was and then rises up again to reach a junction near a sign for Wellow House school.  At the junction turn left and walk along the pavement by the road where you will see a large pond on the left (Wellow Dam).  Keep going along the road for 200 yards until you reach a sharp left-hand bend as you near the first houses in Wellow.  At this bend carefully cross the main road towards a post with a yellow top indicating a footpath.  Follow this path down away from the main road as it goes along side a stream on the left.  The path becomes a shale one and starts to climb slightly as you walk close to the houses of the village.  At the top of the path the route of the walk turns right but from here it would be a shame not to take a look at Wellow so I recommend turning left for thirty yards to reach a road (Eakring Road).  Cross the road and turn left to follow the pavement.

Immediately you will notice the main claim to fame of the village as you go up towards the village green.  Wellow is the home of Nottinghamshire’s only permanent maypole, which towers over the green and is still used.  It is well worth having a closer look at the maypole and there is the added bonus of the green having pubs close by should you wish to have some refreshment.

Having visited this unique attraction we return to the walk by going back along the road to the path by the stream.  At the point we left the walk carry straight on up the track and go through the gateway towards a sign which tells you to follow the footpath to the left (these are the grounds of Wellow House school).  Follow this instruction and head left under a pleasant area of trees and out to the cricket field.  Keep to the left edge of the cricket field next to the hedge until you reach the cricket nets in the corner of the field.  Go to the left of the nets and leave the cricket field through a metal kissing gate.  You leave the school grounds to enter a new field and walk alongside a fence to your left.  On the right when I did this walk were a series of small paddocks containing horses.  After 300 yards you reach the end of this field and leave by another kissing gate.  This takes you under trees and immediately past a small solid log fence used for an equestrian cross-country course so just check to make sure no horses are coming.  Go straight across the next track.

This takes you to the top of quite a long and quite steep flight of wooden steps that go down the side of what was the embankment of the old railway line.  These steps are by far the longest encountered on any of my walks in Nottinghamshire and care should be taken.  At the bottom of the steps the old railway line has now reverted to nature and become a large pond covered with pondweed.  Stop briefly at the bottom if for nothing else than to prepare yourself for the climb back up the other embankment up an equally steep and long set of steps.  At the top you emerge from the embankment into a large field with your calf muscles aching.

The next section of the walk is described as I experienced it but be prepared to follow alternative signs if they occur on your walk or if there is an obvious path restored going straight across the field.  According to the Ordnance Survey map the path across the field goes straight across.  However, on my visit there were crops growing and no sign of a way across. Hopefully when you do this walk the way across will be clear but if it isn’t you should make your way straight across as best you can.  After nearly 400 yards you reach the far side of the field and go through a gap into another field where again you should try to go straight across.

It is some years since I did this walk and at that time the path in the field wasn’t marked anywhere.  If this is still so just use common sense and follow the field edge as it bends around to the right taking you back towards the road.  As you near the road again turn left and stay along the field edge inside the field with the hedge on your right.  Keep following the edge of the field as it turns left away from the road after 200 yards near a wood and then soon right, following the edge of the wood.  Again you find yourself approaching a hedge with a road beyond it.  This time however the road is in fact a driveway to a farm.  At the hedge turn left so you are walking with it the hedge on your right and the driveway beyond that.  After 200 yards you reach the end of the hedge at a small fence.  Turn left for twenty yards to go round the end of this fence and onto a track (which is where the official path on the Ordnance Survey map rejoins us)  which goes out to meet the driveway by a pond.

Turn right to meet the driveway and go past the pond on your left aiming towards Rufford Hills Farm.  Just before you enter the farmyard you will see a stile on the left.  Go over that into a field and follow the hedge which is on your right.  You pass the back of a sort of shed and after 200 yards reach the end of the hedge.  As you do so turn immediately sharp right to keep the hedge on your right once more.  Go over a stile into a rather nice little field under the trees with the house visible on your right.   Go straight on and then leave the small field over another stile.  This takes you into another grassy field which you carry straight on through until you meet the driveway again as it comes out of the farm area.  Effectively we have been going round the edge of the farmyard for the last section.

Join the driveway and follow it down the hill for 300 yards until you reach an automatic gate at the bottom.  To the right of this is a stile which you go over.  Then cross the entrance road to Rufford Park Golf Club and join the main road from Wellow to Rufford.  Almost straight away cross this and walk alongside it on a grassy footpath passing a few houses.  After the last of these if you look back over the road you will see a small wooded gate.  This is the back entrance into Rufford country park.  I won’t give a detailed route here for a walk in the park and you may not wish to go in but I would thoroughly recommend a visit as you are here, even if it is just to have a quick look at the lake, tea room and gift shop at this end of the park.  To continue with my walk instead of crossing into the park you should turn right the road along the Bridleway immediately opposite the park entrance.


Rufford Lake

The path goes directly away from the road and park and initially runs next to a hedge on the left.  It is a very straight path for the next mile, passing through a gap so the hedge is now on your right with fields to the left and for a short way a wood on the right.  After the wood it continues straight on in more open fields, undulating gently until it becomes a track for the last yards until meeting the main A614 road as it bends round to go under a bridge.  Follow the pavement next to the A614 and go under this railway bridge which has been an obvious landmark as we walked across the fields.  Continue along the pavement for 300 yards until you reach the turn-off for Ollerton village.  Follow the pavement on the left hand side of the road (Station Road) passing several sleeping policemen traffic control humps.  Keep going along this road for a little more than 300 yards until you come to Ollerton church again.  There turn left and return to the starting point of the walk where you may wish to visit the watermill and teashop.

Walks in Central Notts – Walk 30: Edwinstowe, the Major Oak and the River Maun

28 Oct

This is a relatively short walk but has a good deal of interest including the famous Major Oak.

Start: The centre of Edwinstowe. The crossroads near Edwinstowe church and the Royal Oak pub, where the High Street (B6034) meets the A6075. Edwinstowe is quite well served by public transport with buses from Nottingham and Mansfield. If coming by car the best place to park is probably not in Edwinstowe itself but at the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, just north of the village on the way the Major Oak, which is well signed.

Distance: 5 miles

Route of the Walk

From the crossroads in the centre of Edwinstowe head north along a quiet road (Church Street) past the church going away from 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. After 200 yards you come near to the new Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre, which you may well wish to visit before doing the walk .  On the left is a cricket pitch, just after a small road to the left which leads to the Sherwood Forest Youth Hostel and the new Visitor Centre.

For the walk, stay on Church Street. You should follow the path next to the cricket pitch, keeping it on your left. Carry straight on as the track gets wider, going slightly uphill towards trees and leave the pitch behind you.

Go through a wooden gate and continue straight on along the wide track among the trees which brings you close to the car park for the visitor centre from where you can start the walk if coming by car. You soon come to a wide track coming across. Turning right here takes you to the former site of the visitor centre from where there is a well signed track to the Major Oak. Go straight across the wide track and through a gate. This takes you onto a narrower track where the tree cover is more pronounced. Go downhill for 400 yards until you come to another gate (with a small green Robin Hood Way marker on it) which takes you out onto what was the main track from the visitor centre to the Major Oak. Turn left here and follow this wide track for 300 yards until you reach the Major Oak.

The Major Oak

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.  Follow the main path close to the Major Oak.  It soon starts to turn away to the right.  As you begin to go away from the tree look for quite a significant track on the left with a green Robin Hood Way marker on a post next to it pointing straight along the track.  Turn onto this track and keep going almost dead straight for the next half mile.

Sherwood Forest near the Major Oak

Sherwood Forest near the Major Oak

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 rise a little.  Eventually you come to a large tree, the Centre Tree, at a junction of paths and tracks with a finger signpost indicating the various ways. There is a large area open ground a little to your left.

The Centre Tree

The Centre Tree

Track south from Centre Tree

Track south from Centre Tree

Turn left to go into the large open area and follow a wide, somewhat reddish, track running southwards very straight with trees to your left and the open area on your right.  The track eventually starts to go downhill and after nearly a mile you come to the end of it as you enter a small area of trees with a road ahead. Turn right and follow the path through the trees about fifty yards from the road.  The path gradually gets closer to the road and meets it close to a large boulder.  At the boulder go to the road and cross it carefully.  This is the A6075 and the traffic travels quickly.

On the other side of the road go straight on along the obvious track going into the woods.  Follow the clear road-like track into the woods.  This soon bends to the right and takes you to the edge of the wood with a field now on your right.  Keep following the “road”, actually more of a driveway, for 300 yards until on your right you reach a building with some rather ornate sculptures, some of which are of Robin Hood and his Men, on the walls above a large arch.  This is Archway House, built by the Duke of Portland in 1842.  It is now used as self-catering holiday accommodation and there is an information board to tell you more next to the path.  Pass by the house and tall trees and start to go downhill along a wide, earth track.  After 300 yards you reach a bridge over the River Maun. Just before the bridge turn left to follow the path next to the river.

River Maun

River Maun

The river here is very tranquil and flows slowly among the fields on either side.  At one time these were the Duke of Portland’s Flood Meadows and there is an information board about them next to the path.  The path stays close to the river for the next 200 yards and then goes up a small rise into some trees.  The path now splits into two branches although they both end up in the same place.  They are only twenty or thirty yards apart with the left hand one running very straight next to fields on the left.  My preference is for the right-hand path which meanders a little more but overlooks the river.  Whichever path you choose they come together again after 300 yards and you soon leave the trees to enter a quite long, narrow field.

Path near the River Maun

Path near the River Maun

Follow the left hand side of the field on a decent path with a hedge to your left.  After 250 yards, just before you reach the end of the field,  down a slope on your right you will see a wide gap in the trees.  Turn right down the slope and follow the track down through the gap, crossing a bridge, which you may hardly notice, over the Flood Dyke as you go.  Almost immediately after this you will see a more obvious bridge just ahead.  Cross this wooden bridge over the River Maun to reach a narrow path.  Follow this path with the river on your left.  After 100 yards the path bends a little to the left and you reach a junction of paths at the bottom of a field.  Ignore the path going up the hill and continue along the path close to the river at the bottom of the field as the field opens up to your right.

Stay along this path for 400 yards with trees and a hedge to your left.  You will catch occasional glimpses of the river below you.  At the end of the field go through a gap next to a hedge and come out onto a road.  The road is fairly quiet but there is no pavement or footway so be careful.  Turn left along the road and follow it as you come to the first houses of Edwinstowe.  The road soon bends to the right and then runs straight for the next 300 yards until you reach a road junction.  At the junction turn left to go downhill along the pavement of this main road going into the centre of Edwinstowe.

After 100 yards you come again to the River Maun.  Crossing the main road here takes you to an area where you can sit down near the river.  This is quite a good spot to relax at the end of your walk.  Carrying on along the main road takes you uphill after 200 yards to Edwinstowe’s shops and eateries which have quite a wide number of options.  On the left hand side of the street you should see a statue of Robin Hood and Maid Marian.  A little further along you arrive back at the crossroads from where we started.