Gently Rolling Fields near Epperstone

The Basics Distance is 6 miles or 9.5 km. Fairly flat with not one stile. Entirely rural, with gently rolling fields and grassy paths, but with 3 stretches of quiet road walking. There are few recognisable features, so take care to follow these instructions. Very few horses or cattle seen. The paths are good – you will have an excellent work-out. Luckily there is an excellent tea shop at the Hollybeck Nurseries halfway round.

How to Get There The Cross Keys pub lies in the centre of Epperstone (Post Code NG14 6AD). It’s a small charming old village just off the A6097 near Woodborough, full of character and ancient houses. The pub retains its traditional atmosphere, serving real ales and draught Strongbow cider, with bar snacks or restaurant food available all week except Mondays.
There is a beer garden and a family room. Telephone number 0115 9663033. You are welcome to park at the rear of the large car park behind the pub, but please ask first. The village is served by buses between Oxton and Nottingham.

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The Start From the car park, turn left and walk 200 yards (metres) to Hagg Lane, turning left again up to the bend at the top. Go right at Point 1. Alternative start. At the back of the car park, go through the small gate, then the larger gate, turn right on the footpath and follow through to Point 1.

Turn left on the road, slightly uphill. Half a mile (3/4 km) up here, find a post and plank bridge in the hedgerow left, cross it and continue on the left of the hedgerow ahead. If you’ve picked the right day, there’s a view like this to your left. Saunter down the hill, passing ripe elderberries in autumn, (if you sing “Oh, what a beautiful morning” here, you would not be the first..) left at the bottom, right over a footbridge, then round to the right on the field edge.

A short way along, at a marker post, go right, up three steps, then straight ahead up the hill with the hedgerow right. At the top, by a small green pond ahead, turn left at the field corner, following a new hedgerow again on your right, by a yellow marker post round the bend to the end of this field.

Go right up three steps

Pass between these trees in to a long field that appears to have no exit at the far end ahead. It’s hidden in the corner at Point 2. A footbridge and path drop down to another bridge at the bottom, which you cross, up to the next field, exiting to your right on to this grassy track by the field edge.

Hidden footbridge at Point 2

Chug happily along this, for about 250 yards (metres), maybe spotting a pheasant or two scarpering into the long grass as you approach. A partly-hidden marker-post (right) points you left to follow a hedgerow and power line up over a rise to Lady Well.

Grassy track by the field edge

This new building replaces the former derelict barn, using most of the old stone reputedly taken from a former priory near here. As you follow the path to its right, cast an envious glance at the building and its environs. What about the free-range chickens and those neat bee hives by the far hedgerow?

Lady Well

The path enters a small copse over a barely-discernible bridge, exiting at the bottom of a field sloping up to a wood that hides Bankwood Farm. At the top, enter this wood, bearing right (with a glimpse of the farmhouse) to exit on to a road into the farm left. Pass cheerily through the farm buildings, bearing diagonally right out to a quiet road.

Bottom of a field sloping up
Through the farm

A barrier reduces traffic to little more than the occasional horse-rider on this mile-long stretch. Pass Thurgarton Quarters Farm laying back on the left, a name worth putting into Google for its Civil War background. Can you spot the fashionable white-gloved lady ‘receptionist’ here? Eventually you will reach a new white house, then the neat front garden of Holly Cottage.

Holly Cottage

Before continuing the walk, you may like to visit Hollybeck Nurseries, about 150 yards (metres) further on the left, to browse or replace lost calories/ liquids in their comfortable café. The Oxton to Southwell Road is just up ahead. Point 3. Your return starts at an unmarked opening in the trees opposite Holly Cottage. The track soon curves left, becoming a bumpy grassy path. Keep left as the path appears to split, then follow it round a bend in a wood. After a while you approach fields possibly containing horses. Just before reaching them, turn sharp left over a footbridge where a marker post indicates that the path then turns left again in the field beyond.

Hollybeck Nurseries

Follow the field edge round to the right, keeping the trees on your left until the end of the wood. Follow on to a bend where you meet a gravel track and a signpost left pointing left towards Epperstone, passing Norwood Farm. You may see sheep and horses in these fields. Point 4. Just before reaching the farm, turn left at another signpost, still following the gravel track from which you will see this view of the farm landscape over your right shoulder.

Signpost left to Epperstone
View of Norwood Farm

Turn right with the track at the end, but when it soon turns left towards Ricketwood Farm, keep straight on at a lurking marker post to a more grassy track. This leads to a wooded ‘dumble’ containing a substantial foot- bridge over a stream which you cross, then pass to the right of a wood. Turn left at the end and follow this superb, almost straight track with wide views ahead, until after a stony section, it is transformed into this delightful wide soft grassy path.

Lurking marker post
Delighful wide grassy path

It leads you to a group of new buildings at Point 5 ending with the Keeper’s Cottage and its attractive front garden. At the bottom of the lane, turn right on the road into Epperstone, enjoying the residents’ exuberant garden efforts for you as you reach the village.

Keeper’s Cottage
Created specially for passing walkers

After about half-a-mile (3/4 km) on this road, 200 yards (metres) beyond the Old Methodist Church in the village, you will find left a signpost and a gate that opens to a grassy path down to a footbridge.

Cross the bridge, turning right at the field edge, then right again through the gate to the rear of the Cross Keys car park. You’ve done it! You’ve earned that drink!

This walk first appeared in ‘Pub Walks in Nottinghamshire’ but has been updated in August 2014, incorporating several modernising changes over the 20 or so years since Peter Fooks first walked it.

Please note – further changes can occur at any time, for which we cannot accept any responsibility. If you enjoyed this delightful walk, would you please e-mail briancluff@talktalk.net with any useful comments. Also, if you are aware of any significant alterations, please notify me, giving your contact details. That would be very helpful to everyone.

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