It is perfect for any season, but particularly beautiful through the springtime and summer months, where the hedgerows are bursting with wildlife, providing nesting opportunities and vital habitats for both farmland and woodland birds.
I would recommend you take a camera and binoculars if you have them.
Our walk begins in Ordsall, which stands on the bank of the river idle, an old farming village until the 20th Century, it has seen many changes throughout the years as it has developed, grown, and merged in to the town of Retford.
The golf club, close to the start of this walk, was established in 1921 and is such an idyllic setting with pretty woodland tracks and paths.
You can often hear the call and drumming of greater spotted woodpeckers echoing through the wooded areas. If you are lucky, you might even see one or two.
As we walk towards the tiny hamlet of Morton, notice the change in the landscape, the views are a delight, and surprisingly hilly.
There is so much to see, from the pretty array of wildflowers, such as white campion, common mallow, and cretan bryony, to the farmers busy working the land and livestock grazing the fields.
Morton belongs to the parish of Babworth alongside the village of Ranby. Now predominately agricultural, it has an interesting history, synonymous with legendary highway men and royalty.
Travellers from far and wide rested here on route to London or to Edinburgh, it is believed that Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots, stayed at the Old Rushey Inn – now cottages - in 1503, whilst on her long journey to marry James IV King of Scotland.
The neighbouring hamlet of Babworth also has an incredible history, with a wonderful little church nestling amongst the ancient woodland.
All Saints church is over nine hundred years old, and is definitely worth a visit, especially during the spring and early summer months, as incredible displays of snowdrops, bluebells and daffodils carpet the churchyard and woodland floor. Pretty pathways and trails provide a rich habitat for wildlife and wildflowers. You can often see primrose and cowslip, which provide a source of nectar for pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Grass snakes can occasionally be seen basking in the morning sunshine, during late spring and the early summer months.
The next village of Ranby is a pretty little village which sits by the Chesterfield Canal. Its church is relatively modern looking as it was built in 1959 to replace an old ‘tin tabernacle’ which previously stood on the site.
Inside is an impressive oak alter which originally came from the Mausoleum at West Markham, the pews were gifted from S. Bees Priory in Cumberland and the alter cross and candle sticks were from nearby Morton Hall - a mansion dating back to the 1860s but was demolished in 1946, however the lodge remains as do the splendid gardens and parkland.
The location was also occupied by the tank regiment during the World War Two.There are no refreshment amenities along this walk, but plenty of super spots to stop for a picnic.
DID YOU KNOW?
There is a Grade II listed ‘money stone’ at the Morton Hall site, which commemorates the finding of a hoard of roman coins, which were discovered in 1802.
DISTANCE: 4.1 miles
DURATION: 1 hour 20mins
GRADIENT: Mostly flat
STILES: None but there are gates
MAPS: Explorer 270 & 271
PATH INFO: Paths, tracks, field edge paths, footpaths. Fields can get muddy, so appropriate footwear is required
START POINT: Brecks Road, outside Retford Golf Club – roadside parking.
REFRESHMENTS/TOILETS: No public toilets, local shops for refreshments or a picnic.
1.We begin this walk by the entrance to Retford Golf Club in Brecks Road, in Ordsall. At the beginning of the track, turn left along a narrow path, keeping the houses to your left.
Continue along until you reach a fingerpost, here turn right, following the track, with farmland on either side, until you reach a large tree.
2.Here, follow the lane round to the right, you will see the golf course and wooded area ahead, with farmland to the left. As you reach to top of the lane, turn left and continue straight ahead until you reach a farm on your right.
3.Pass through the wooden gate and continue through the grassy area to the next gate, keeping the farm to your right.
4.Proceed through the second gate to the end of the path, and turn right onto the Old London Road. Proceed along the road passing the farm on your right and a row of red brick cottages to your left, you will see the railway crossing ahead.
5.Just before the crossings, you will see a metal gate to your right. Proceed through it and continue along until you reach an intersection of pathways.
6.Take the track to the left and head towards the railway bridge. Go under the bridge and turn right at the tree, following the path up towards the golf course, keeping the railway to your right. Approach the course with caution following the clearly marked public footpath to the far right and follow the treelined pathway.
7.Continue along this waymarked pathway until you reach the railway bridge on your right. Cross over the concrete bridge keeping to the waymarked route, continue through the course. The pathway is undulating, proceed along until you reach a fenced building on your right.
8.Using the path to the far right, bear right and you will see a metal kissing gate ahead. Pass through the gate. Follow the track downhill, bearing left keeping the open fields to your right.
9.Proceed along to its end where you reach your starting point.