Cresswell Crags & Clumber Walk
22 January 2023
Today we explore some interesting and attractive landscapes in North Nottinghamshire, for a change. We did this walk a few years ago and it proved very popular. A short coach ride means more daylight for walking on this very pleasant and relatively gentle 10 mile walk at the end of January.
We begin our perambulation on the outskirts of Creswell and walk past Crags Cottage, formerly the Star Inn and the last remaining building of a small community that used to exist here.
This is the gateway to the amazing Creswell Crags Archaeological Park. The park is a site of major archaeological importance – once the home of Neolithic hunters who left rock art in the caves. Unfortunately, we shall be unable to go into the caves, but a stroll through the gorge provides a wonderful experience of the atmosphere of the place. We have the choice of walking in Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire, as the county boundary runs down the centre of the gorge. Rare birds for this area are seen here. There are also rare plants hidden away in this special environment, which has its own microclimate. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
We have our first break of the day at the Visitor Centre, which has a café, toilets on two floors and ample seating inside and out.
Beyond the Visitor Centre we head east along the Robin Hood Way, across the A60 and into the Welbeck Estate. The Abbey itself is totally hidden behind woodland, but there is still plenty of interest on our walk through the grounds. We pass close to the Harley Gallery to Oaksetts Lodge and cross farm land to the edge of woodland. We are now in tunnel territory. Under our feet, is a network of underground passageways and rooms commissioned by the 5th Duke of Portland, including a huge underground ballroom. As we cross between Goldsmeadow Lake and Shrubbery Lake, one of these tunnels is immediately on our left. We follow this tunnel to South Lodge, which is the northern entrance to this particular tunnel.
Beyond the lodge, we dive into woodland and up a sandstone ridge to the highest point of our walk at around 100 metres. We follow the delightfully named ‘Drinking Pit Lane’ to Trumans Lodge and into the grounds of our second great estate of the day, Clumber Park. The Visitor Centre will be our second stop on the walk, where toilets, food and other facilities are available. The large mansion here was demolished in 1938. The grounds were purchased by the National Trust in 1946.
After rest and refreshment, we wander around Clumber Lake to Hardwick village, where there are further toilets. We then had up towards Lime Tree Avenue and the arch at Apley Head Lodge next to the A614, just south of the junction with the A1 and the A57. Our coach should be waiting for us in the lay-by on the opposite side of the A614.
We plan to leave here at 4:30pm for the short journey home. The departure time may be brought forward if our walk finishes early.
In the morning the coach departs from the “Staff of Life “pub in Sutton-in-Ashfield at 9.15am and from the Bancroft Lane end of Stockwell Gate outside Asda in Mansfield at 9.30 am. Other pick up points en route. The coach fare is £12, accompanied juniors free. For further information please ring Helen on 07592886381 or John on 07749164455.