Tag Archives: Sherwood Forest

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

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.

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.

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire: Walk 61 – Bilsthorpe and Inkersall

29 Apr

Please note that the paths near the start of this walk close to the building site are currently very overgrown and I wouldn’t recommend this part of the walk.


Trying to keep the walks local I realised that I hadn’t done a walk along the paths to the west of Bilsthorpe for a while. This one goes along the edge of Bilsthorpe and along a pleasant track into Sherwood Forest before returning along the disused railway line into Bilsthorpe. There are a few opportunities for short cuts which I will elaborate on. This walk can be done in all seasons as it is on good firm tracks.

Start:Forest Link Car Park, Bilsthorpe.  If using public transport you can start either from the main road going out of Bilsthorpe towards the A614 or centre of the village. This description starts from the car park at the end of the Southwell Trail,  a disused railway line running to Farnsfield and Southwell. This is at the end of the road called Forest Link. Buses run to Bilsthorpe from Mansfield and Nottingham regularly during the day.

Distance: 6 miles (9.7 km)

Map of the Route

From the car park go onto the Southwell Trail, a good track, and follow it for a very short distance. You come to a small area of grass on the right where you should look for a narrow path to the right which takes you off the Trail,  over a ditch and to the edge of a field. Turn right to follow the edge of the field which soon goes downhill a little. At the bottom of the dip follow the path as it turns left and after 80m right. Go over a hump of concrete that crosses a stream and then turn left to follow the path along the bottom of the dip. A little to your right through a gap in the treeline you see a new housing development being buit.

The path is a bit muddy after wet weather and after passing the end of the housing development you should go up through the tree line and follow the path left which is dryer than at the bottom. It goes between broom plants which often have bright yellow flowers and then bends right towards a red gate.

At the gate go onto the end of a cul-de-sac (Allandale) and walk along it for 100m. Take the first left turn going downhill and at the bottom turn right along another quiet road. Follow this all the way to the end of the cul-de-sac then take the path to the right which takes you to the top of some steps. Go down these onto the pavement next to the main road (Mickledale Lane). Turn left going downhill past a petrol station and a bus shelter, which is where you can start this walk if using the Sherwood Arow bus service to Nottingham or Ollerton.

Carry on along the pavement to the bottom of the dip where you cross a stream and then uphill to meet the A614.  Cross the A614 very carefully and carry straight on along a well surfaced road.  This is only an access drive and has very little traffic.  You can either walk along the road or next to it on grass.  The road is very straight and soon climbs quite sharply for a short distance before becoming flatter.  It is a pleasant tree-lined avenue with fields to your left.  You are approaching a more heathland type environment which is evidenced by gorse bushes with their coconutty fragrence and bright yellow flowers.

There are no navigation problems as the route goes straight for a kilometre, passing Inkersall Kennels and a couple of other enclosed areas.  Where the road bears left to quite a grand gateway carry on through a metal gate onto a footpath which continues in the same direction as you have walked for the last mile.  The path is quite a narrow one but good for walking on with nice woodland on your left and a field on the right.   After 500m you reach the end of the field on the right and the path goes over a very low barrier with a blue arrow on it.

Here you can cut a mile from the route by turning right along a narrow path through trees which reaches the top of a railway embankment after 100m.  Take the left hand path down the bank which goes down very steeply at the bottom (so take care) onto a disused railway line.  This may have cyclists or walkers on it so watch for  them as you whizz down onto the track.

My main route continues straight on at the blue arrow.  The path gets wider and soon becomes a wide shale track with conifer trees dominating on the left.  Ignore side tracks on the left but after 1000m you will see a wide track entrance on the right.  Carrying straight on here takes you onto my Walk 24 but for this walk you should turn right onto the wide track going into the trees.

After 50m you reach a crossroads of tracks.  The track coming across is a cycle track with large rocks to the left.  Turn right along this track which is a disused railway line and so is almost perfectly straight.  Straight tracks like this are generally a bit dull as they stretch out ahead of you but this is quite pleasant as there are trees to either side.   You can’t go wrong as you will follow this track all the way for two miles straight into Bilsthorpe.  After half a mile as you leave the main tree cover you may notice a path which has been worn down the steep bank on the right.  This is where the short cut mentioned earlier rejoins our walk and you should watch for anyone who has taken that hurtling down the bank onto the track!

After just more than another kilometre the track crosses a bridge over the A614 and then you find yourself on an embankment with decent views over fields to either side.  The one to the north often has pigs in it with long lines of pig shelters on it and to the south you see the road we walked along earlier.  Just after the track goes close to houses on the right you reach a crossroads of paths with gates on either side of the track. 

There are three options here.

  1. Going through the gate on the right takes you downhill between houses to meet the road we walked along earlier near the petrol station.  From there you can retrace your steps to the start.  

2. Going straight on along the old railway track you soon approach a bridge.  Just before it you leave the track on a path to the right that goes up to meet the road by the bridge which option 3 uses.

3.  The route which is used on the map for this walk adds about half a mile to option 2.  Go left from the railway track through a green gate to join a clear path going uphill across a field.  After 200m this meets a surfaced track which you follow in the same direction.  This takes you by a large area of sports pitches on the right.  Follow the track for 500m until you reach a road (Eakring Road).  Cross this and turn right along Eakring Road, ignoring the road coming in directly opposite the track  you have just walked along.  Walk along the verge by the road which soon becomes a pavement as you reach a works entrance on the left.  Continue into Bilsthorpe and the bridge over the railway track.  Cross over the road where route 2 joins us.

Carry on along the pavement going into the centre of Bilsthorpe crossing two roads on the way.  If you are using buses you might consider starting the walk from the bus stops here as you are on two bus routes rather than one (the 28 as well as the Sherwood Arrow).  About 250m on from the second road you reach a roundabout where you  take the road to the right (Forest Link). This is a road going into a housing estate with lots of red-brick buildings. The road is usually quiet and meanders through the estate. Stay on the main road all the way until you come to the small circular car park where we started.

 

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire – Walk 56: Hazel Gap and the Thynghowe Trail in Sherwood Forest

14 Nov

This is a great walk for autumn when you can appreciate the colours of the leaves. Most of the walk is in deciduous woodland and along well maintained, firm tracks which are good for walking on in all conditions. There are a few gentle undulations but this is quite an easy walk in the most famous forest in England, not far from the Major Oak if you wish to add an extra two miles to the walk.

Start:  Hazel Gap, which is about one mile west of Budby on the A616 just after a slight bend to the left.  There are no signs saying Hazel Gap but look for a small area where you can park on the north side of the road where there are waymarks for the Robin Hood Way and National Cycle Route 6.  Unfortunately there are no bus stops close to the walk.  If you are coming by public transport and want to take in some other sights I suggest following the first part of my Walk 30 which starts in Edwinstowe and goes past the new visitor centre before going to the Major Oak.  You can then go to the Centre Tree and from there turn right along the wide track to meet this walk before returning to Edwinstowe.  The extra distance is about three miles.

Distance: 4.8 miles

Map of the Route

From Hazel Gap turn away from the road, bearing slightly to the left, going south-east along a narrow but nice firm path which is part of the National Cycle route 6. The path is compact gravel with a reddish tinge under light tree cover with nice views to the right over fields towards part of Sherwood Forest. Follow it very straight as it descends gently for 600 yards . You come to a road (Netherfield Lane) which is quite busy so take care as you go straight across to reach a quiet road directly opposite. On the right after you have crossed is a lake formed by the River Meden with some of the common water birds often present.

Go straight on along the quiet road past the lake and continue as the road becomes a wide track. You start to go steadily uphill with fields to the left and trees on the right as you go into the forest. Go past a metal barrier. This is a popular cycle track and you may well meet groups of cyclists. About 600 yards from the lake you reach the end of the fields on the left and go under more tree cover as you come to a major track junction and a signpost with a large number of signs indicating the various options available to you.  Carry straight on 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 half a mile from the previous signpost reach another junction of tracks.  The left hand track goes to the Major Oak which is a little under a mile from here.  Going straight on you can reach the Centre Tree in half a mile.  However, we take the track to the right here.  Follow this for around 600 yards.  The path is straightish but curves a little to the left as you reach a clearing.

Not long after that  you reach another 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.  If you go left you can see more of the Trail but my route goes right here.  Turning right you 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.

Sherwood Forest in Autumn

Near the Thynghowe Trail

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.   We have also been following the Robin Hood Way for the last half mile and here it goes left.  You can follow that as our route meets it again shortly but on my route we go straight across the wide track ahead and continue along the Trail on a narrower path under trees.  You stay on this straight path for half a mile emerging from the Forest and crossing a bridge over the River Meden.  In fact this is also the Robin Hood Way but here it is coming the other way as it returns to Edwinstowe.

The River Meden

 

Shortly after this the path reaches the quite busy Netherfield Lane again.  Cross carefully and go through a small gate to the right of a house and left of the main gate.  Keep going straight on into woodland again on a narrow, unsurfaced but decent path.  The path climbs a little and at one point you make a small diversion round a fallen tree but it is easy to follow.  After 400 yards you reach a path junction where you turn right onto another track, meeting the other part of the Robin Hood Way again.  This climbs a little more 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 500 yards you reach the road at Hazel Gap where we started again.

 

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire: Walk 52 Sherwood Pines and Vicar Water

15 Mar

This is a walk that is in two parts. The first is in the trees of the Sherwood Pines recreation area in Sherwood Forest. The second goes past the small lake at Vicar Water and along a track to King’s Clipstone and King John’s palace. It is a walk that can be done in just about any conditions as the tracks are all good, firm ones that won’t get muddy. There is a bit of road walking where care must be taken but it is only for a short way before you return to the safe ground of Sherwood Pines again.

Start: Sherwood Pines Visitor Centre

Distance: 5.2 miles

Map of Route

There are parking facilities (Pay and Display) and other amenities including a café at Sherwood Pines. You can also join the route at Vicar Water where there is parking or even at King’s Clipstone at the Dog and Duck pub if you are visiting the pub. If coming via the bus take the number 14 or 15 to Kirton or Walesby from Mansfield bus station. They run every 1/2 hour Monday – Saturday and every hour on Sundays. Sherwood Pines has a large variety of activities including Go Ape, cycle hire and trails and children’s play areas. There are a huge number of routes you can take within Sherwood Pines and there are display boards showing these in more detail.

Sherwood Pines

My route initially follows the Green Family Cycle route. If you are standing at the Visitor Centre entrance looking towards the Centre look to the right along the avenue of trees and you will see a large number 1 on a green background. This is your first target so walk to the number 1 sign and follow the arrow to carry on past it where you will see the number 2 sign. This first part of the route is easy to follow as you can see the numbers and arrows of the Green Trail. At number 2 you turn left to go downhill on a path next to a wider track. On you left here is a football field. At the bottom of the hill you see number 3 and turn right to follow the wide track for 300 yards until you reach number 4 where you turn left for a short way until you get to number 5.  There you turn right to follow the path for 300 yards before reaching, surprise surprise, number 6.  Here you are at the bottom of a wide track and you turn left to climb quite steeply for 500 yards until you come to number 7.  Just beyond that you reach a track coming across and this is where we leave the marked Sherwood Pine Forest Trails.

Turn right along the track coming across.  This is still quite a wide track and when I did the walk was the only part that was wet.  This was after a wet period and hopefully after some drier weather will be perfectly all right.  Even when I did it the track was quite soft and sandy and the verge next to the track was fine to walk on so you should have no problems.  Follow the track straight along, ignoring all the side tracks.  It stays flat for the first 500 yards before starting to descend reasonably quickly.  After 200 yards descending you reach a track where there is a small sign indicating that you are on National Cycle route 6.  Go straight across this track and down a little further until you see a bridge ahead which was part of the old railway line.  Just before the bridge you reach an information board showing the various tracks of the Sherwood Pines area.  If you wish you can follow these instead of my route but we go under the bridge and out of Sherwood Pines here.

Emerging from the other side of the bridge we go uphill along a path with a slightly red tinge to it.  You may notice some small pieces of brick in places on it.  After 150 yards there is a fork in the path.  The main National route 6 path bears to the left and is signed that way but we bear to the right to follow a narrower path.  This twists and turns a little before shortly you go down a small bank and then left across a bridge that goes over a road.  This road isn’t a proper one that is used any more as far as I know.  After crossing the bridge turn right along a narrow, slightly red,  path with the road now to your right.  After a short way you see on the right of the path some blue signs for the National cycle route with distances to various places on it.  Carry on along our path as it descends, with a wood on your left, to a picnic area with tables and benches.

Vicar Water

As this is about half way around the route you may choose to sit here for a rest and enjoy he surroundings.  You are close to the small lake known as Vicar Water and this is a nice spot to relax, very popular with the people of Clipstone which is nearby.   You have a choice of routes around the lake from the picnic area.  Whichever option you take you should aim for one of the most bizarre sights on any of my walks, namely a giant sculpture of a golden hand.

You can take a narrow path going to the left which follows the bottom of the wood next to the lake and then comes out onto a wide but quiet drive where you turn right along the far side of Vicar Water and aim for the hand.  This adds about 400 yards to the route

The route I have shown on the map is the direct path which I describe here.  From the picnic area follow the main track to the right of Vicar Water to the end of the lake aiming for the golden hand.  Go past the giant hand along the main track and after another 100 yards you leave the lake area and go through tunnels under a bridge.  The track from here is very easy to follow as it runs almost straight for the next mile.  It is a well surfaced track which is suitable for bicycles so look out for cyclists, although in my experience there aren’t too many.  The first part of the path has a few areas of woodland to the left hand side until after about 600 yards you pass an old factory building.  After this the path becomes a little more open with fields on the left of you.  There are a few small gates to go through at intervals along the track but it is very flat and easy walking with the stream from Vicar Water close to the path but barely noticeable.

After nearly a mile you reach a gate and then the large area leading to the car park of the Dog and Duck pub, where there is also a small brewery.  To the left of the car park area are the remains of King John’s Palace.  There isn’t a great amount left of the palace which was built by the kings of Northumbria and later used by King John as a hunting lodge.  There is an information board with more details of the palace near the car park.  Keep going straight on to the end of the car park where it meets the B6030 road with the village of King’s Clipstone off to the left and the pub to your right.  Turn right here, staying on the pub side of the road and possibly calling in for a drink.

Follow the road for a short way towards a bridge, taking care as there is no proper pavement.  Go under the bridge where there is a narrow footway and carry on uphill along the road.  Take great care here as there is no verge for around 200 yards and a reasonable amount of traffic which can be going quite fast.  At the top of the climb there is a grass verge which you should use as we carry on along the road.  After another 300 yards a road meets our road from the left and opposite that a cycle path begins on our side of the road.  Follow this cycle path for 200 yards until it turns right at the entrance to Sherwood Pines.  This road is a good one with plenty of room on either side for walking.  Follow this main entrance road for 600 yards around a few bends but where the route is obvious until you reach the car park and centre of Sherwood Pines where we started the walk.

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.

 

Walks in Central Notts – Walk 24 Rainworth and Sherwood Forest

31 Mar

Walk 24 Rainworth and Sherwood Forest

Distance: 6 miles

A walk taking you from the village of Rainworth into Sherwood Forest via heathland and using National cycle route 6 along forest tracks.

Map of the Route

Start: the small park on the right about 400 yards up the hill towards Mansfield from the main junction in the centre of Rainworth.  If coming by car you should be able to park on the verge by the  road.  There is a bus stop close by for anyone using public transport.

Enter the park going away from the main road.  Pass a small childrens recreation area and go to the far end of the park about 200 yars from the road.  Leaving the park takes you onto a disused railway track.  Turn right here and shortly start to descend for a short way down to a road.  This road is usually quiet.  Cross the road and continue along the path downhill.  As you reach a wider area of open ground you should see a path beafring left diagonally across the grass.  Follow this path down the hill to the far corner of the grass where you arrive at a cycle path.  Take the cycle path left which meanders up a short hill and takes you up to a very busy road, the Rainworth by-pass.  Use the crossing to reach the other side of this dual carriageway and then turn right along the pavement.

After fifty yards you will see a signpost for a footpath pointing left.  Step over the barrier and follow the sign.  Leave the road and descend some wooden steps to reach a path.  Follow the path through a pleasant area of grass and trees glad to be getting further away from the noise of the by-pass.  The path is clear and you keep going away from from the road passing a group of silver birch trees on your left.  The surroundings now become more obviously heathland with sandy soil and gorse bushes in evidence.

Looking back towards Rainworth

Looking back towards Rainworth

Heath near Rainworth

Heath near Rainworth

Keep along the clear path (pictured above) for 400 yards passing next to a telegraph pole.  The path starts to bear right and you leave the heath to enter an area of trees.  Again the path is clear and you go uphill through the trees on a nice track.  The strip of trees isn’t very wide and as you reach the top of the hill after 400 yards you may like to have a look at the view on your right back to Rainworth.  If you step outside the wood here you can see a path ahead running parallel with the wood at the edge of the field.

Looking back down the hill in the wood

Looking back down the hill in the wood

Path alongside the wood

Path alongside the wood

It is possible to follow this path (pictured here) along the field edge and around the wood but my recommended route stays along the main path within the wood so return there.  Follow the path straight down the hill in the wood to the bottom of the dip for 200 yards and then carry stgraight on as the path rises up another short hill.  At the top of this you find yourself on an embankment overlooking a cycle track on the old railway line.  Turn left here and follow a path along the top of the embankment which gradually descends for 300 yards to meet the cycle track.

Cross the cycle track and go onto a track made up of the stones that formed the bed of the old railway line.  This seems an unpromising route as you will find the stones slip around under your feet.  Fortunately you only have to put up with this for 20 yards when you leave the track by going down a path on the bank to your right.  This takes you into a field where you follow a path downhill for 200 yards along the field edge.  Just past the corner of field where you turn right look for a gap in the hedge on the left by a yellow post indicating the footpath.  Going through the gap takes you alongside a stream – Rainworth Water.

Rainworth Water

Rainworth Water

Tunnel by Rainworth Water going back to the cycle track

Tunnel by Rainworth Water going back to the cycle track

Turn left here to go through a tunnel under the old railway line (see picture).  At the far end of the tunnel go up some steps back onto the cycle track.  Here turn right along the cycle track and go immediately down back through the tunnel to emerge on the other bank of the stream where you went through the hedge.  Carry on along the cycle track passing ponds on your left.  The tarmac surface of the cycle track changes to a rougher track beside Rainworth Water for 200 yards and the turns left to leave the stream by some large rocks (pictured below).

Rocks next to the cycle path

Rocks next to the cycle path

Fifty yards on from the rocks is a sign pointing right along cycle route 6. In fact this is the cycle path you have been following for the last few minutes.  Route 6 is one of the main cycle routes in the country and runs from London to Cumbria.   Cyclists wishing to have an adventure can follow it that far but it is also useful for walkers wanting to find a walk where route-finding will be easy and traffic-free.  At the Route 6 signpost turn right but just a few yards along leave the main track and turn left along a narrow but obvious path going into the wood.  Follow this path staying about ten yards from the edge of the wood to your left.   The path runs almost straight going slightly uphill.  After 500 yards the path becomes a little less distinct but if you stay within 20 yards of the edge of wood you should have few problems.  After another 200 yards the path turns right although it is not very distinct on the ground.  Instead you should look for red dots of paint on the trees at eye level and follow those for 100 yards until you reach a wide forest track.

Turn right and walk along this track for 400 yards until you meet another wide track coming uphill from the right.  At this junction is another  signpost showing that you are on route 6 again.  Incidentally if you carry straight on here for 250 yards and then turn left through the trees on route 6 you come to the cycle track to Bilsthorpe.  However, for this walk you should turn right at the junction and go down the hill into more heavily wooded area.  Then the track rises for a short way before it goes downhill again.  After 600 yards on the wide track you reach another junction.  Turn right along a slightly narrower track, still on route 6. Follow this track for 400 yards back to where you left it earlier to go through the trees.

Track in Sherwood Forest

Track in Sherwood Forest

Turn left at the end, go past the large rocks you passed earlier and retrace your steps along the cycle track until you go back through the tunnel.  Once through the tunnel instead of going back down the steps follow the cycle track up the hill.  250 yards up from the tunnel you reach the point where you crossed the cycle track earlier.  From here you can either retrace your steps to the start of the walk, possibly walking along the edge of the wood this time, or for variety you can carry on along the cycle track.  I won’t pretend that this way is very exciting but it makes a change and you can use it to link up with walks to Blidworth.  If you continue along the cycle track the way is almost straight and you can’t go wrong.

Cycle path along the old railway line

Cycle path along the old railway line

The track runs along the bottom of the cutting with many gorse bushes and some trees on either side.  After 1 kilometre you go under the A617 Rainworth by-pass where there is an exit up to the road above.  Our route continues along the cycle track  with the houses of Rainworth now appearing on your right at the top of the embankment.  Carry on for another 8oo yards bearing slightly right round a bend.  Come off the track using an exit on the left hand side to go down to a road via a zig-zagging bit of track.

At the bottom you reach the pavement. Go under the bridge and uphill for 300 yards crossing a road which can be busy coming in from the right near the Lurcher pub.  At the top of the hill if you look to the other side of the main road you will see the start of a track which goes onto Blidworth and which feature in some of my earlier walks.  However, to conclude this walk you go down the hill on the pavement by the main road for 1 kilometre, crossing a few side roads, to the main junction in Rainworth at the bottom of the hill by Tesco.  At the bottom you should use the crossing to go to the right across Kirklington Road which comes down the hill from the right.  On the other side of the road go slightly further downhill along the main road.  At the very bottom is the bus stop, next to which under a bridge you can see a stream, Rainworth Water again.  Climb the hill along the main road and after 500 yards you return to your starting point.