Kirklington – Caunton

Leaving Kirklington to pass the Hall

Leaving Kirklington to pass the Hall

As Di said in the pub at lunch time if folk want to go on her walk they need to ring for the start point. I was the only privileged participant who received a personal invitation. We met at Kirklington near Newark a start point Di had used before so I confirmed this was a different walk. Our route was initially along the ‘Robin Hood Way’ a long distance winding path that a drunken Robin must have followed from Nottingham Castle to his camp in Sherwood Forest. Passing the Hall, formerly the Rodney School now Wings East after planning was contentiously granted in 2008 for extensions to accommodate children who cannot be educated in mainstream schools. Here there is a pupil staff ratio unheard of in most schools – up to 36 pupils and about 70 staff.

Leaving the Robin Hood Way

Leaving the Robin Hood Way

In line with the principle of drunken Robin our path makes a tour around the edge of Roe Wood before we leave the Robin Hood Way at Orchard Wood Farm on our way to the sleepy village of Maplebeck. Di had taken me there before and today, as before, we find we are here on the wrong day, at the wrong time to be welcomed by the Beehive Inn, said to be the smallest Inn in Nottinghamshire. It may be small but it gets through plenty of Westons cider if the empties are any indication.

We pause for coffee, water in my case. Jim and Di take the seat on the village green but I pause in the bus shelter and rummage in a cardboard box to draw out both The Times from last Sunday or today’s Guardian. The village must collect their daily papers from here. I had no apprehension about taking a free look, the print doesn’t lift off the page, unlike purloined chips that can’t be eaten by the purchaser, sorry Jim.

Footpath at Beesthorpe Hall

Footpath at Beesthorpe Hall

Signs make it clear that we are not welcome to walk through the farm yard and our path disappears and winds through the wood only to emerge across the front lawn of Beesthorpe Hall, I wonder if there was a footpath feud at some time and the farm won. This was the first hidden gem that only those on foot along the public footpath can stand and admire.

Sod’s Law says that there will be a muddy field just before arriving at the lunch time pub. Well no mud today but a bit of muck spreading, so we tread carefully in case there’s no long grass to clean our boots before entering Caunton. There are two Inns in the village both did food and we had expected to use The Plough but it was closed so we pressed on and received excellent fare at Caunton Beck.

A bit of road walking for the afternoon stretch but it was worth while to make a gentle foray across the manicured grounds of Caunton Hall. I was threatened with Bloodhounds at Readyfield Farm but they were well penned and looked as soft as the Foxhounds I often met while walking from home.

Inside Winkburn church

Inside Winkburn church

At Winkburn I studied a faded notice by the gate to the hall which reads along the lines, No Entry…….except for foot access to the church. Could I resist this opportunity to view what is normally out of bounds. The path to ‘Saint John of Jerusalem’ crossed the hall drive and offered a stunning view of the house, this walk gets better as the miles pass. Winkburn has a pub, I report. No it hasn’t retorts Di. The Churchwarden lives at the Burnell Arms, but as we see later it’s long been just a private house. It once served Bradley’s Ales about which I’ve searched but found no information.

We pass along the other side of Roe Wood on our return then felt no guilt about a trespass across a field where the public path has not been made apparent on the ground and was obstructed by Oil Seed on the last visit. What of the Crocodiles and Stags? A footpath finger post chewed by a hedge cutting flail looks just like a crocodile to Chris and then the dead branches on a tree take the shape of the stag’s antlers, it just needs a bit of imagination to see anything in the countryside with even more surprises at dusk.  Although the final half mile is along the busy A617 there is a pavement and it’s downhill as we made our way back to the church and our cars for home. Great walk Di, thanks.

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: