Kirklington, Maplebeck, Caunton and Winkburn

This was a long walk for the Leicestershire Footpath Association. Using part of the Robin Hood Way we spied some secret locations only accessible to those on foot in a pleasant part of Nottinghamshire close to Newark upon Trent.

(Note: This walk is kindly contributed by Ken Brockway)

Google Maps Open Source Maps

Statistics and Files
Start: Kirklington Distance: 12.3 miles (19.8 km) Climbing: 205 metres
Grid Ref: SK679576 Time: 5-6 hours Rating: Hard
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Kirklington
Start: Kirklington Distance: 12.3 miles (19.8 km)
Grid Ref: SK679576 Time: 5-6 hours
Climbing: 205 metres Rating: Hard
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk:

Kirklington village school now the Village HallKirklington village school now the Village Hall
Setting out on the Robin Hood WaySetting out on the Robin Hood Way

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, I don't like covering the same ground twice. 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.

We left the village with occasional glimpses of the Hall. Formerly the Rodney School now Wings East. Planning consent 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.

Bye-bye Robin Hood WayBye-bye Robin Hood Way
The Beehive Inn at MaplebeckThe Beehive Inn at Maplebeck

In line with the principles of the inebriated Robin our path makes a tour around the edge of Roe Wood before we leave the Way at Orchard Wood Farm on route 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 does not lift off the page, unlike purloined chips that can't be eaten by the purchaser, sorry Jim.

Looking over the horizonLooking over the horizon
Beesthorpe Hall the path crosses the front lawnBeesthorpe Hall the path crosses the front lawn

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.

Caunton Beck and Caunton ChurchCaunton Beck and Caunton Church
Winkburn HallWinkburn Hall

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.

Winkburn ChurchWinkburn Church
Burnell Arms at WinkburnBurnell Arms at Winkburn

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 have 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. 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.

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