Ready to explore? Then get your walking boots on and camera at the ready! This super hike is jam packed with fabulous views, follows beautiful countryside tracks through typical North Nottinghamshire villages, ambles along sleepy waterways and has a few interesting snippets of history and local legend along the way.
One mile to the east of Retford lies the small hamlet of Welham, where we begin our walk. First mentioned in the Domesday book it was originally known as Wellun, Wellum, and by the 16th century Wellom. In c1775 local maps and documents referred to the hamlet as Welham, its name derived from an ancient spring and holy well. The well site on Bonemill Lane, formerly Wellhouse Lane, became a bath house in the 1700s, the waters renowned for healing qualities, were said to be cures for many ailments such as rheumatism and skin conditions because of the ‘high mineral content, soaking from the gypsum in the Clarborough Hills’. The stone bath still exists under the floor of a private cottage, and the spring pours into a dyke close by.
The Baulk in Welham is a high ridge country lane, with fabulous far-reaching views over the surrounding countryside and leads directly to the neighbouring village of Clarborough. It is a paradise for wildlife and the hedgerows are always bursting with life, I love to come up here with my dog and my camera, especially in the warmer months.
The Chesterfield Canal runs through Clarborough, and in the 1700s provided passage to the River Trent, with a wharf which is now the Gate Inn, a different environment to its peaceful tranquillity off today, as it carried coal, agricultural goods and most famously, 250,000 tons of local stone, which was used to construct the Houses of Parliament. The canal totals 46 miles and is known as the ‘Cuckoo Dyke’ The stretch between Clarborough and Whitsunday Pie lock is so peaceful and picturesque. Wildflowers such as violets adorn the bank side, there is plenty of fish to be seen in the canal too, and if you are lucky you may see a Kingfisher, Heron, or a Tern diving for a tasty morsel.
One of many local folklores, Whitsunday Pie Lock was said to have been named so, due to a lady who lived in a cottage close by, baking a huge scrumptious pie for the hard-working navvies who were excavating the locks one Whitsunday; a tradition of pie eating at the lock still takes place on Whitsundays by visitors and boaters alike. One for the diary and don’t forget your pie!
I hope you enjoy this walk as much as I do, happy rambling!
Distance: 4.97 miles (8 km)
Gradient: Mostly flat
Approx time: 2hours 10 min (allow for exploring and photo opportunities)
Maps: Explorer 270 & 271
Path info: Some road, field, track, towpath
Start point: Small road by the A620, next to Hop Pole public house, Retford. SK719818
Dog friendly: Yes, on a lead- respect the countryside code.
Public Toilets: There are pubs along the route, if open, the perfect place to call in for refreshments too!
Refreshments: Some cracking picnic spots and public houses: Hop Pole (start point) and the Gate Inn at Clarborough.
This lovely walk captures the simplicity and tranquillity of this quaint part of North Nottinghamshire, and there is no better way to enjoy a crisp winters day, than popping on your walking boots and wrapping up warm for an invigorating adventure along the canal bank and pretty village of Clayworth.
The Village of Clayworth is situated on the old Roman Way which runs between Doncaster in South Yorkshire, and Littleborough; which is a small hamlet near the River Trent. This pretty little village is typical of North Nottinghamshire and has a rich, varied, and interesting history, with some lovely views over the three counties: Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, and South Yorkshire.
This is a short, pleasant walk, perfect for your daily exercise, enjoyable whatever the weather as it captures the true essence of traditional rural life. The Chesterfield Canal meanders around the village, bringing with it an array of interesting wildlife and an insight to life on the water. The many narrow boats moored alongside add a splash of colour, especially so on a Winters day! There is so much to see along this very pleasant stretch of the Chesterfield Canal, ducks, swans, and moorhen are regular visitors. The pace is slow, and the views are quintessentially English!
Following the canal as it meanders along through the village, you pass under Otters Bridge, you cannot help but notice the impressive Elizabethan Manor, Royston Manor. The original manor was built in 1588 and had extensive alterations in 1891. By the 20th century it had seen many improvements and uses, even a popular hotel. It is just passed this point, at the next bridge, we leave the towpath for the return walk through the centre of the village.
In the heart of the village is St. Peters Church, a picturesque little church and is the home of the world famous Traquair Murals. They are the largest pieces of ecclesiastic art work in the East of England and were painted by Phoebe Traquair; a Scottish artist in 1904, they are one of only two painted by her in England, the others are in Scotland. Stunningly beautiful and a must to see. Worth taking your camera for a picture or two! The church was built between 1150 and 1180 and features a 13th-century stone depicting some of the rarest and finest examples of decorative plasterwork the England has to offer. The church tower houses a ring of eight bells, the oldest dating back to 1629.
Clayworth has changed extraordinarily little over the years, with pretty cottages, two pubs a traditional rural setting, it has much to offer, set alongside the sleepy Chesterfield canal this super little walk captures traditional village life at its best.
ENJOY! HAPPY RAMBLINGS!
Distance: 2 ½ miles / 4 km
Approx time to walk: 1 hour
Map: OS 280
Path Description: Towpath, pavement and tracks
Start Point: Clayworth Top Bridge near the moorings DN22 OAJ
Parking: Layby by the bridge DN22 OAJ (By the boat club)
Dog Friendly: Yes; on lead through village
Another one of my favourites, this is a wonderful little walk, with beautiful far reaching views over stunning North Nottinghamshire countryside, which is easily accessed from the market town of Retford. It is perfect for any season, but particularly beautiful through the springtime and summer months, where the hedgerows are bursting with wildlife, providing nesting opportunities and vital habitats for both farmland and woodland birds. I would recommend you take a camera and binoculars if you have them!
Our walk begins in Ordsall, which stands on the bank of the river idle, an old farming village until the 20th century, it has seen many changes throughout the years as it has developed, grown and merged in to the town of Retford. The golf club, close to the start of this walk, was established in 1921 and has to be one of the most attractive courses in the county. I am not a golfer myself, but I am increasingly tempted to learn, it is such an idyllic setting, the woodland tracks and paths carve through the rolling landscaped parkland, pure tranquillity… It offers so many health benefits, as well being pleasing to the eye!
As we walk towards the tiny hamlet of Morton, notice the change in the landscape, the views are a delight, and surprisingly hilly. There is so much to see, from the pretty array of wildflowers, such as white campion, common mallow, and Cretan bryony, to the farmers busy working the land and livestock grazing the fields. Morton belongs to the parish of Babworth alongside the village of Ranby. Now predominately agricultural, it has an interesting history, synonymous with legendary highway men and royalty. It is believed that Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots, stayed at the Old Rushey Inn (now cottages) in 1503, whilst on her long journey to marry James IV King of Scotland.
There are no refreshment facilities along this walk, but plenty of lovely spots for a picnic, if you are taking your dog, make sure you keep it on the lead. Respect the countryside code and enjoy!
DISTANCE: 4.10 Miles
DURATION: 1 Hour 20mins
GRADIENT: Mostly flat
STILES: None but there are gates
MAPS: Explorer 270 & 271
PATH INFO: Paths, tracks, field edge paths, footpaths. Fields can get muddy, so appropriate footwear is required
START PPOINT: Brecks Road, Outside Retford Golf Club – Roadside parking, please be respectful as residential area DN22 7UA
REFRESHMENTS/TOILETS: No public toilets, local shops for refreshments or perfect route for a picnic!
This great little walk takes in many of the sites which makes the market town of Newark, such a fantastic place to explore, from visiting museums, a trip to the theatre or simply watching the world go by, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The impressive Tudor style building opposite the castle on Beastmarket Hill, is known as the Ossington Coffee Palace. It was built in 1882 by Viscountess Ossington, as a hotel to encourage sobriety. Such places were prevalent in the 1800’s throughout the country and provided an alternative to public houses and hotels. The Ossington had accommodation for weary travellers, and provided stabling for forty horses, a tea garden and rooms for relaxing and enjoying the different varieties of coffee on offer. This splendid building has seen many uses over the years including a base for the military during WW1 and WW11, now a restaurant and residential accommodation.
Next to the Ossington is the Wharf, it’s a vibrant little area overlooking the river, with café’s, restaurants and even floating bar, with great views of the castle too!
Notice the exceptional architecture as you make your way through the town, to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene. This splendid church has been a place of worship for over 800 years and boasts one of the tallest spires in the United Kingdom, at 236 feet (72m) it’s the highest in Nottinghamshire. The views from the tower are magnificent, and tours are available on certain dates during the year.
Keep your eyes open for the Palace Theatre; it opened in 1920 as a cinema and stage and continues to attract audiences from all over the county, enjoying live music, theatre and the marvellous annual pantomimes. Adjoining is the National Civil War Centre, where you step back in time and immerse yourself in a museum dedicated to telling the story of conflict and bloodshed throughout the Civil War. It’s a fantastic place to visit, filled with interesting exhibitions and artefacts.
Following on to the Market Square, you won’t be disappointed, with lovely café’s and bars the ambiance is quite continental. There are regular weekly markets, and events which take place throughout the year, and it is without doubt one of the most attractive marketplaces around, bursting with history and culture. Standing proudly is the Town Hall, which is charming, built in 1776, it houses a museum, where you can view treasures and artwork, entry is free too.
The return takes you along Stodman Street, passing the timber fronted Governors house dating back to 1474, and the medieval Prince Rupert pub which is steeped in history, it was owned by a wealthy merchant before becoming a pub, providing accommodation and stabling for Prince Rupert’s troops during the Civil War.
Finally, the historical riverside area provides a unique and interesting taste of Newark’s industrial past, with the regeneration of old warehouses and boat yards to stylish riverside bars and accommodation. The jewel of this walk must be the view of the magnificent castle, which you can explore and enjoy at your leisure. Don’t forget your camera!
Distance: 1.98 Miles/3.2km
Gradient: Mostly Flat
Approx time to walk: 40 mins but allow extra time for exploring the town
Maps: OS Explorer 271 Newark-On-Trent
Path description: Footpaths, Riverside
Starting Point: Riverside Park SK793540 NG24 1BS
Parking: Riverside Car Park SK793540 NG24 1BS
Dog Friendly: Yes, on lead – use caution on main roads and public areas
Public toilets. 23 Castlegate Newark NG24 1AZ
Refreshments: Yes; Oodles! Newark has a fantastic choice of places to eat and drink for all budgets!
Grab your walking boots, backpack, and camera, and join me each week in exploring this delightful region, from Urban Rambles to discovering the delights of the Dukeries and beyond.
This charming walk explores just some of the fascinating history of Worksop, which rests by the meandering River Ryton and standing on the edge of Sherwood Forest, is surrounded by vast country estates and stately homes.
The town has evolved considerably over the years and has many hidden gems, from the eclectic variety of architecture to the tiny alleyways and hidden yards of the forgotten tenement buildings.
We begin our journey through time at the delightful little railway station, which was opened in July 1849. With just two platforms it operates a frequent train service and has a super little café on the site; The Railway Café, which provides a mouth-watering selection of cakes, snacks, all day breakfasts and a variety of beverages to tempt the taste buds!
One of the most impressive buildings on Carlton Road has to be Carlton House Vintage, a unique emporium of arts, crafts, and a wonder full vintage tea room, a must to visit! Dating back to the 1900s, its striking stonework and dome are in keeping with similar Edwardian Baroque styles across the town.
Just off the main pedestrianised area is Castle Street, leading on to Lead Hill, which was originally known as Tenter Green; an area used for drying out locally woven cloth. It later became Lead Hill as carriers from nearby lead mines in Derbyshire off loaded consignments of lead on the site. The tiny streets between Castle Street, Westgate and Bridge Street were referred to as Bedlam Square, one of the most deprived areas, and the site of Worksop’s first Workhouse.
Beyond Lead Hill and Westgate (Slack Walk) is an area legendary for its gardens of Liquorice and was renowned for being the best in the country. It was used to sweeten food, but its popularity fell into decline upon the increased use of sugarcane.
Moving on through the Market Place and on to Potter Street, you cannot help but notice the amazing architecture, the Venetian style Town Hall, Tudor dwellings, Georgian, Baroque and the ultra-modern design of the Cinema, which opened in 2012. During its construction, builders unearthed an air-raid shelter from the Second World War which was found in perfect condition.
One of Worksop’s most familiar landmarks is the Priory Gatehouse. This incredible building dates back to the early 1330s and provided a restful place to shelter for travellers before becoming an elementary school in 1628. A timely reminder of the town’s unique history.
Memorial Avenue and Priorswell Road are most definitely worth a detour off the route, the recreational area known as the Canch, was also the site of a Lido, or open-air swimming pool, and was really popular in the 1950s and 60s.
Our return route takes us along Beaver Place; during the late eighteenth century was commonly known for its manufacturing of top hats, which were made from beaver skins, and introduction of new materials saw production with skins decline and cease.
This urban ramble is accessible to all and a great way to discover and explore Worksop’s unique and long history. Hope you enjoy!
Happy Rambles, Sally.
DID YOU KNOW?
The top of Newcastle Street and the A57 bypass, just beyond The Millhouse public house, was the site of a large mill pond, and was the focal point of many events, such as skating, fishing and even a bathing pool for elephants of passing traveling circuses!
Distance – 4.5 km (2.79 miles)
Approx time to walk – 1 ½ - 2 hours
Start – Worksop Railway Station S817AG
Map - OS Explorer 270
Parking – Railway Station, Carlton Road.
Refreshments/amenities – Plenty along the route.
This is a beautiful and interesting walk, which begins in the heart of Southwell; a small market town in Nottinghamshire, which rivals many, with its idyllic setting and its historical past, can only be described as a true cultural gem.
Centre stage has to be Southwell Minister, it is undoubtedly one of the most magnificent examples Gothic architecture in the county, and has Cathedral status, which was given in 1884, it also boasts one of the finest Norman naves in Europe. The twin ‘Pepper Pot’ towers are absolutely striking and inside there are even more hidden treasures; the impressive brass eagle lectern being just one example. It originally belonged to Newstead Abbey, but during the dissolution of the monasteries, was hidden in the lake and was not re-discovered for another 250 years. Auctioned by the 5th Lord Byron, it was obtained for the Minster in 1805. This delightful ecclesiastical space is not just for quiet contemplation and worship; it is the heart of the community, attracting visitors from far and wide.
Southwell is also home of the iconic Bramley Apple. The original tree is in a cottage garden on Church Street and is the source of the variety as we know it today. Loved all over the world, the Bramley Apple is celebrated by an annual festival which has been held at the Minster every October. Performers and musicians entertain you as you walk through the streets, it is very much a community and global event with visitors from around the world taking part in this wonderful celebration of the humble Bramley apple.
As you stroll through the town, notice The Saracens Head Hotel, it has a long and rich history dating back to the Norman Conquest of 1066 and was originally known as the Kings Head. Kings, nobility, legendary writers, and poets, including Charles Dickens, and Lord Byron frequented the inn; It is said, that King Charles spent his last night of freedom in the King Charles Suite, before surrendering himself to the Scottish Commissioners at Newark Castle the very next day.
The towns Industrial revolution is clearly evident throughout, and this walk encapsulates some of that. If you get the opportunity sometime; a visit to the Workhouse is a must. It was built in 1824 and its design set the standards for others in the country. This interesting building takes you on a journey through time where you can follow in the footsteps of the inmates, experience the conditions they endured and take part in interactive events, a place where the past comes to life, however because of restrictions it is temporarily closed until mid-August, and tickets will be required for entry.
This walk just keeps giving, with interesting mill buildings, historic houses, pretty streets, and walkways, and the beautifully tranquil River Greet, is an absolute haven for wildlife, with plenty of places to stop and admire all that nature has to offer. (look out for the exquisite flashes of blue and green of the Kingfisher, which can be seen darting and dipping along the river).
One of the best ways to discover and explore, this this wonderfully pretty, eclectic market town of Southwell, is definitely by foot! So, put on your walking shoes and enjoy!
Distance: 2 miles / 3.2 km
Gradient: Mostly on the level
Approx time to walk: 1 hour, but allow extra for exploring
Map: OS Explorer 270 Sherwood Forest, 271 Newark
Path Description: Surfaced paths
Start Point: Car Park opposite Southwell Minster (SK703539) on Explorer POSTCODE NG25 0HD
Parking: Car Park opposite Southwell Minster. Parking is free for the first two hours so you will need to get a pay and display ticket if you anticipate a longer stay
Dog Friendly: Yes; on lead (don’t forget to clean up after your dog)
Public Toilets: Yes; In car park opposite the Minster
Nearest Food: There are many cafés and other places to eat in Southwell. The Final Whistle on Station Road is quirky, eclectic and a must for railway enthusiasts! The Saracen’s Head on Westgate is highly recommended as are the Minster Tea rooms in the grounds of the Minster itself. The Old Theatre Deli is perfect for soaking up Southwell’s unique ambiance.
(Check current restrictions for public amenities, pubs, and other places to eat)
DIRECTIONS – SOUTHWELL CIRCULAR TRAIL