Many people visit this area to explore Sherwood Forest and the impressive country parks within it. One of the best ways to do this is on foot, enabling you to gain an appreciation of the landscape that just isn’t possible by car. Even if you aren’t able to walk, some of the footpaths are easily accessible for people using wheelchairs and scooters.
Robin Hood Way
The Robin Hood Way was the first long-distance footpath in Britain. At 105 miles long it starts at Nottingham Castle and ends at Edwinstowe Church, taking in many historical sites, including the very famous Major Oak. The route is marked by distinctive green bow and arrow markers, but Ordnance Survey Maps 260 (Nottingham) 270 (Sherwood Forest) and a small part of 271 (Newark on Trent) are recommended by the Robin Hood Way Association. If you fancy tackling the whole of the Robin Hood Way, the association suggests that it would take an experienced walker a week, however, there are many circular routes that can be taken as day walks. The association’s website publishes some of these circular routes on its helpful website: www.robinhoodway.co.uk, but for a more comprehensive read, pick up a copy of ‘The Robin Hood Walks’, which costs around £4.95 and is available from local bookshops. It covers the whole of the 105 mile route as well as including 14 circular walks.
Short walks in the country parks
The country parks all have good waymarked walks, and many of these are on surfaced paths and are suitable for all abilities. Most of the parks can provide walking leaflets or have interpretation boards, which make it easy to get around.
For Clumber Park, you can download a walk from the National Trust website: Chapel, Temple and Ashes Trail (1.5 miles). Sherwood Pines Forest Park has a White Trail (1 mile) and a Blue Trail (2.5 miles).
Southwell Trail The trail runs from Southwell to Bilsthorpe via Farnsfield along a former railway route that was established in 1871. It is now a cross-country route that attracts walkers, cyclists and horse riders, as well as providing a haven for local wildlife. Entry routes and parking places are located at Station Road in Southwell, Station Road in Kirklington, Station Lane in Farnsfield and at Forest Links in Bilsthorpe, OS grid references: SK 707 545 to SK 651 605. Interpretation boards at the access points explain the routes and provide background to the wildlife and plants that can be seen.
Break Free – Greenwood Walks
The award-winning Greenwood Walks are accessible to all, including people with mobility problems, buggies or dogs. Packs can be downloaded free from: www.greenwoodforest.org.uk or you can pick them up at tourist information points or order them from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Countryside Access Team on 08449 808080. Pack 1 includes walks in this area: Vicar Water Country Park and The Carrs, Market Warsop.
Nottinghamshire County Council Publications
The county council has a variety of useful publications to enable you to get the best out of a trip to the county. For this area, we would recommend the walking packs ‘Exploring Sherwood Forest’ 1 and 2, which are currently priced at around £2.50 each. Walks include Clumber Park, Farnsfield and Vicar Water among others.
‘Out and About in Nottinghamshire’ is an index of walking, cycling and horseriding publications for Nottinghamshire, easily indexed by district. It’s free to pick up from tourist information centres and is also free to download from the county council’s website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk
For a small donation you can pick up one of three walk leaflets from Laxton Visitor Centre and enjoy a pleasant walk around the open fields and learn some interesting facts at the same time. The visitor centre has kindly allowed us to reproduce one of the walks on this website (please click here to go to the page). Please drop in to the centre for two more walk leaflets and to see the displays and video, which explain the history of this special village.
A colourful leaflet explaining walking trails around the forested areas of Boughton Brake, Ollerton Pit Woods, Sherwood Heath, Cocklode and Rotary Woods and Wellow Park is available from tourist information centres.
If you would like to experience the beauty of the area on foot but wish to be guided as part of a group, then the Dukeries and Gedling Ramblers and the Sherwood Foragers walking schemes might be for you! Copies of their programmes can often be found at tourist information centres.
Jarrold has published two guides that are well written with accompanying maps sourced from Ordnance Survey. They are:
- Nottingham and Sherwood Forest: Leisure Walks for All Ages – Jarrold Short Walks Guides No. 6 by Terry Marsh and Geoffrey Sutton;
- Sherwood Forest and the East Midlands: Walks (Pathfinder Guide) by Brian Conduit, Julie Beesley and Richard Crowest.