This super hike is jam packed with magnificent views, following stunning countryside tracks through pretty North Nottinghamshire villages, which amble along by peaceful waterways, sprinkled with interesting snippets of history and local legend to enjoy along the way.
Nine miles or a 20 minute drive from Worksop, lies the small hamlet of Welham, and this is where we begin our walk.
The small community was first mentioned in the Domesday book, and it was originally known as Wellun, Wellum, and by the 16th Century Wellom.
Around 1775 various local maps and documents referred to the hamlet as Welham and has been established by that name to present day.
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Its name originated from an ancient spring and holy well, with the well situated on Bonemill Lane, which was formerly Wellhouse Lane.
It became a bath house in the 1700s, and the waters were renowned for magical healing qualities, which were said to be cures for many ailments such as rheumatism and skin conditions because of the ‘high mineral content, soaking from the gypsum in the Clarborough Hills’.
The stone bath still exists under the floor of a private cottage, and the spring pours into a dyke close by.
The Baulk at Welham is a high ridge country lane and ancient highway, with wonderful panoramic views over the surrounding countryside, which leads directly to the neighbouring village of Clarborough and beyond to Little Gringley.
It is an absolute paradise for wildlife, and the hedgerows are always bursting with life, especially during the autumn, where the berries are bountiful. I love to come up here with my dog and my camera, it is lovely whatever the time of the year.
The Chesterfield Canal runs through Clarborough, and during the industrial age of the 1700s provided passage to the River Trent; with a wharf which is now the Gate Inn, such a different environment to its peaceful tranquility of today, as it carried coal, agricultural goods and most famously, 250,000 tons of local stone, which was used in the construction of the Houses of Parliament.
The canal totals 46 miles and is known as the ‘Cuckoo Dyke’ The stretch between Clarborough and Whitsunday Pie lock is so peaceful and picturesque, with the occasional barge chugging along or the gentle paddle of a kayak or canoe.
Wildflowers such as violets adorn the bank side, and if you are lucky, you may see a kingfisher, heron, or a tern diving for a tasty morsel.
One of the many local folklores is centred around Whitsunday Pie Lock. It was said to have been named so, due to a lady who lived in a cottage close by, baking a huge mouth-watering pie for the industrious navvies who were excavating the locks one Whitsunday.
A tradition of pie eating at the lock still takes place on Whitsundays by visitors and boaters alike.
One for the diary and do not forget your pie.
I hope you enjoy this walk as much as I do.
DID YOU KNOW?
There is a nature reserve at Clarborough – Clarborough Tunnel, which is maintained by the Wildlife Trust.
It consists of areas of spoil which was deposited during the construction and cutting of the railway in 1849. It is now covered with woodland, scrub, and grassland.
For more visit @SallyOutram on Twitter or www.sotalkstravelandadventures.com/
We begin this super walk on the old Road which runs parallel alongside the main A620. With the pub behind you, walk along the road until you come across the signposted footpath to your right. Proceed through the gate and continue keeping the hedge to your left. After a short distance you will cross a stream, continue until you reach a stile.
Cross over the stile, proceed on and you will come to the railway crossing. Proceed over the crossing taking care, as this line is still in use. Once over the railway line, walk along the tree lined track/lane ahead for ¼ of a mile.
At the end is Little Gringley Lane. Cross over the road with care and proceed to the grassy area ahead which merges into a track. Follow this until you reach the wide lane.
Pinfold Lane). Continue along (slight incline) for ¾ of a mile, to an intersection. Follow the path to the left and onto The Baulk. The views from here are fabulous, and on a fine day you can see for miles around. Continue on crossing over the railway line, walking downhill along the baulk until you reach the village of Clarborough and onto Church Lane.
Bear left onto Church Lane along the footpath, passing the pretty church of St. John the Baptist. Proceed through the churchyard heading to behind church. You will see some steps, continue up the steps to the gate on the left, which leads into a field. Follow the track through the field, you will eventually come out onto Big Lane. Turn left, heading to the main road.
Turn right along Main Street and, continue until you are opposite Big Lane. Cross over with care and proceed along Big Lane until you reach Broad Gores, turn right, and continue along Broad Gores until you reach its end, where you will merge on o a field.
Follow the track/path (bear right) over the field, where the path forks bear left and head to the play park area.
At the play area join the footpath to the right then immediately turn left, follow the path and head up towards the main road and the canal bridge. Proceed over the bridge and join the tow path. Turn right going under the bridge and walk along the canal path passing the Gate Inn.
Follow the towpath, go under the next bridge at Bonemill Lane, (formerly Wellhouse Lane. Continue along the towpath until you reach the renowned Whitsunday Pie Lock. You can leave the route here and cross over the main road back to the start point or continue a short distance further and come off the towpath at the next bridge, before returning to the start.
Distance: 4.97 miles (8 km)
Gradient: Mostly flat
Approx. time: 2hours 10 min (allow for exploring and photo opportunities)
Maps: Explorer 270 & 271
Path info: Road, field, track, towpath
Start point: Road/lane by the A620, next to Hop Pole public house, Retford SK719818
Dog friendly: Yes, on a lead
Public Toilets: There are pubs along the route (if open) good opportunity to call in for refreshments too!
Refreshments: There are some cracking picnic spots and public houses along the route.