A Long Walk from Mansfield to Burton Joyce
Walk Completed on 19th November, 2015. Total Distance: 22.51 miles.
This was a long linear walk that I devised from Mansfield to my home town Burton Joyce. I plotted the route in such a way that it would cover much interesting ground, mainly woodlands. It also included a walk into the grounds of Newstead Abbey; a place I had never been to before.
The walk started on Cauldwell Road in Mansfield, outside Vision West Nottinghamshire College. A footpath on the opposite side of the road heads South across Rushley Farm, crossing the busy A617 on the way. It doesn’t take long at all before the first woodland of the day is reached in Thieves Wood. I simply carried on heading south and the track eventually joins up with the long distance footpath, The Robin Hood Way.
A quick search on Google found me this little snippet regarding Thieves Wood from the JurysInns.com website:
It was apparently from these woods that, Robin Hood & his men drove a particularly nasty band of robbers who were harassing the people of the Ravenshead area. Friar Tuck sent for Robin’s help after they kidnapped a young girl and robbed her father. The girl was eventually rescued, of course, and her father’s money returned.
…which is nice and interesting. Unfortunately my search also brought up a rather more unpleasant recent history for Thieves Wood. It’s apparently also used as a site for the great British perverted past-time of Dogging. I hear it’s not recommended to go walking there after the 9pm watershed!
Anyway, moving on… the walk continues south to Abbey Wood, and here a little detour takes us to Newstead Abbey, which was founded as a monastic house in the late 12th century. The great poet Lord Byron apparently lived here between 1808 and 1814. More information can be found at the Newstead Abbey website. I didn’t spend very long here as I had a lot more walking to fit into the day yet, and so I stayed just long enough to get a few interesting photos.
From Newstead Abbey, I headed back to the track I detoured from, and then south. It seems as though the bulk of Abbey Wood is closed to the public and I saw a couple of notices suggesting that it’s used as a police dog training area. Eventually, the track leads to a road which I followed north for a short while before heading east across muddy paths and fields. This eventually leads to Blidworth where I headed south again and to the next woodland on the list: Blidworth wood.
It was around this time that I decided that there’s such a thing as too much woodland! It’s nice for a short walk, but once you’ve spent a few hours in them, the scenery does tend to get rather repetitive. Especially in Pine forests! Through Blidworth wood I went, and eventually hit the road which I crossed over and headed straight into Sansom Wood. There was a sign at the entrance to this saying that there was some forest work going on, and therefore no access to the public. I wasn’t in the mood for a detour and so decided that ignorance was the best policy!
The exit of Sansom Wood soon leads to the entrance of the Pine forest, Watch Wood…. I have to admit, despite my original intentions of including as much woodland as possible, I was starting to yearn for some open land – and the timing of that thought was almost perfect as Watch Wood was the last large woodland on my route.
From here on, the walk merges with the walk I did earlier this year from Southwell to Burton Joyce. After exiting Watch Wood, follow the road east until Hollinwood Lane is reached, then head south up this Lane which will eventually take you through Ramsdale Park golf course, where some good views are available for a few quick photos. Upon leaving the park, the route heads across Woodborough Park Farm, which doesn’t look quite so scenic at this time of year, before heading across various farmland towards Lambley. I did have to take a slight detour at one point due to my fear of walking past cows! By the time I got to the hill separating Lambley and Burton Joyce, it had gone dark, my feet were hurting, and I just wanted to get home and cram as many calories down my throat as I could manage in a single sitting! (my own fault for not taking enough food with me).
It was challenging in terms of the length, and was very different scenery to how it would have been in the Spring. The woodlands look great at this time of year with the carpet of golden brown fallen leaves, but the open fields are a little featureless in comparison to the Spring when they are coverered in vivid yellow rapeseed (see the photos from the Southwell to Burton Joyce walk in April for an example). It will be back to the hills of the Peak District for my next little adventure, which I’m really looking forward to.