Tag Archives: Walks in Central Notts

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

Exploring Further Into Nottinghamshire With My Walks

30 Oct

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

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

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

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

Thanks

Rob

Walking The Robin Hood Way: Clumber Park to Elkesley

30 Sep

This stage continues from Clumber Park and goes round part of the lake before heading out of the park and across fields to the River Poulter and the village of Elkesley.

You will have to find a way of returning to your start point either by retracing your steps, taking a slightly different direct way, or if you have the time and energy by following the next part of the Robin Hood Way which takes a 10km loop back to Clumber Park. The alternative is to use the Sherwood Arrow bus service, one branch of which takes you every two hours to Carburton, about 4km from the visitor centre on a nice walk through Clumber Park. The other branch of the bus service calls at Elkesley every two hours as it travels from Retford to Nottingham. Both branches meet at New Ollerton, about half an hour away.

Start: Clumber Park Visitor Centre

Finish: Elkesley

Distance: 8km (5 miles)

Map of the Route

Start at the central visitor area for the park.  There are numerous facilities here including cafe, gift shops, tourist information, toliets and an adventure playground with a car park nearby.  It is usually busy with visitors.  Going through the courtyard area takes you out onto the lawn next to the lake.  There are lots of geese, ducks and swans around and the lawn can be a bit dirty with their droppings but other than that it’s an attractive spot.

The other obvious landmark will be seen as you turn left to walk alongside the lake.  The spire of a chapel towers above the trees and bushes of the gardens and is just a short distance away so well worth a visit.  To continue the walk stay alongside the lake and follow the clear path into the trees ahead.  Stay in this direction for the next kilometre with the lake just to your right.  The path leaves the lakeside slightly in the wood but returns to it as the lake turns at right angles to the left ahead stopping your progress.  Turn sharp left yourself to stay by the lake for 300m under trees then go right across the lake along a road. 

Immediately after the lake turn right off the road onto a wide track alongside the lake. This takes you for when just after some farm buildings turn left away from the lake slightly uphill to a cafe area which often has refreshments available from a mobile stall.

Clumber Park Lake

Go along a short section of path between hedges and buildings to reach a car park at Hardwick Grange. From here bear right, ignoring the road going off to the left and bear right again along a quiet road that takes you down to a ford. Cross the ford along a footbridge then follow the road uphill. After 150m look for a gate on the left and go through it into a large field. Follow the path diagonally uphill across the field until you reach another gate near the far corner. Go through it and bear right along a clear track which very soon crosses a road. Cross this and continue on the path for another 100m to another road with a large entrance gate. Turn out of Clumber Park either at this entrance to reach the busy A614. Very carefully cross this to reach a signposted path on the other side (West Drayton Avenue).

Go along this very straight, well-defined path through a wood for 1200m, ignoring any side paths. You stay under the trees for nearly all of this with just one small clearing. You eventually leave the wood and find yourself in a very large area of open arable fields. Carry straight on along the grit-surfaced, hard track between fields.

After another 500m you reach a crossroads of paths where a bridleway crosses West Drayton Avenue. Turn left here and follow the path along a line of telegraph poles at the edge of a field towards a wood. After 300m you reach the wood and enter it along a clear grassy track, still following the telegraph poles. After 300m the path goes very slightly to the right and you join a wide forest track. Bear left downhill for 400m until you reach Crook Ford, a ford across the River Poulter.

Crook Ford and The River Poulter

This is a nice spot to rest as the river gently flows by. Cross the ford using the footbridge on the left and continue uphill for 150m. Turn right up a track going further uphill. The track bends to the right towards a works entrance. Just before the entrance turn left along a narrow path and walk alongside a fence and large warehouse on your right. After 100m you leave the fence behind and meet a concrete track which soon becomes a road. Continue straight on along this road for 700m, going past a couple of houses on the way. You go uphill to reach more houses which are the edge of Elkesley.

When you reach the first proper road in the village turn left along Lawn Wood Lane to the centre of the village if you are finishing your walk here. The nearest bus stop is about 150m away. However, The Robin Hood Way goes straight on and I will give a description of the route for the next stage soon.

Please note – The next possible bus connection is at Walesby, 5km further on.

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

10 Sep

 

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

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

Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2km)

Map of the Route

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

  

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

Walks in Central Nottinghamshire: Walk 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.

 

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

25 Mar

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

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

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

View towards Trent Valley from the top of the hill

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


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

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

View from Micklebarrow Hill towards the Trent Valley

The Pingley Dyke


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


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

Mill Building


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

Norwood Park

Norwood Hall

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

Looking West to Halam and beyond.

 


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

Advice For Seasonal Walks in Nottinghamshire in Soggy Conditions

24 Dec

One of the most popular activities in the Christmas holidays is to go for a walk to burn off the calories accumulated during the festivities. However, the weather in Nottinghamshire in the last few months has been so wet that many of the walks in my blog have been affected. Most of the walks have sections in fields or on grassy paths that are now either muddy or under standing water. They are still possible for those who are determined and have good footwear but sliding around with wet feet isn’t pleasant for anyone just wanting a nice walk in the country.

I thought that it would be a good idea to highlight some of my walks that I think should be relatively unaffected by the recent downpours as they mostly stay on good firm tracks.

Walk 12:Haywood Oaks and Blidworth

Walk 17: Mansfield to Rainworth

Walk 30: Edwinstowe, the Major Oak and the River Maun

Walk 39: Blidworth Wood

Walk 42: Newark, Queens Sconce and Newark Castle

Walk 43 – Tracks around Boundary Wood near Blidworth and Rainworth

Walk 48: Newstead Abbey, Papplewick and Linby

Walk 52 Sherwood Pines and Vicar Water

Walk 53 – Newstead Abbey, Nomanshill Wood and Harlow Wood, Ravenshead

Walk 54 Clipstone and the River Maun

Walk 56: Hazel Gap and the Thynghowe Trail in Sherwood Forest

Walk 57: Ollerton, Boughton Brake and the River Maun

Walk 58 – Farndon and the River Trent

Walk 59: Rainworth and Strawberry Hill

 

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 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.

 

The Nottinghamshire Way – An Unofficial Long-Distance Walk Around the County

31 Dec

As I have now done fifty Walks in Central Nottinghamshire much of the area has been covered and I wanted to try something a little different.

For years I have thought about devising a long-distance footpath around Nottinghamshire taking in as many of the most interesting parts of the county as I could while avoiding too many loops and spurs.

There are already several trails in Notts, most notably the Robin Hood Way and the Trent Valley Way, which cover some of the sights. My route uses parts of these trails which are usually well signposted and waymarked. It also links with other shorter trails and paths to visit areas I think worth seeing.

As I thought about the idea of my route I set myself some ground rules that as far as possible I would stick to:

 

It will be a circular walk starting and finishing in the centre of Nottingham.

Try to visit all the major towns in the county and as many notable places of interest as possible including the highest point in Nottinghamshire.

Divide the route into sections of a maximum of around ten miles so that anyone doing the Way can break it up easily into shorter walks.

Each section will start and finish somewhere accessible for public transport.

Try to avoid walking along roads, especially busy roads, as much as possible.

Try and link with the various trails and paths in the County to give a taste of them for walkers interested in those.

 

Bearing these points in mind I came up with a route divided into eighteen stages, which are:-

1. Nottingham to Beeston via Attenborough

2. Beeston to Kimberley

3. Kimberley to Hucknall

4. Hucknall to Mansfield

5. Mansfield to Sutton-in-Ashfield

6. Sutton-in-Ashfield to Mansfield Woodhouse via Silverhill Wood (the highest point in Nottinghamshire)

7. Mansfield Woodhouse to Edwinstowe

8. Edwinstowe to Creswell Crags

9. Creswell Crags to Worksop

10. Worksop to Retford

11.  Retford to Tuxford

12. Tuxford to Newark

13. Newark to Southwell

14. Southwell to Lowdham

15.Lowdham to Radcliffe on Trent

16.Radcliffe on Trent to West Bridgford

17.West Bridgford to Keyworth

18.Keyworth to Nottingham

 

There are a few loops in this which take you back close to other parts of the route, which can be annoying, but this may be useful in some cases for doing shorter circular walks.

I reckon that the total distance would be around 160 miles or 250 kilometres although I haven’t calculated this accurately yet.

I have done some sections in the past and will publish guides to the various stages with maps and directions.   My plan is to do the rest of the walk over the next year and write guides to those as and when I do them.  The route isn’t set in stone and if anyone reading this thinks that they know a better way than mine in a certain area then please let me know.  I don’t know all parts of the county that well and my choices of path may not all be the best ones.

For more details, photos and descriptions of the route follow this link to The Nottinghamshire Way for my blog or this one for The Nottinghamshire Way Facebook Page

This does mean that I will be spending less time on my Walks in Central Nottinghamshire blog than previously but I will still try to add more walks when I can.

Thanks for reading my posts on this blog and I hope you will continue to enjoy these walks.