The second walk in this series takes us from Ruddington into an attractive wooded nature reserve. Sharphill Wood is reputed to be the patch of real countryside closest to Nottingham City Centre, and is situated on a ridge above West Bridgford. The walk incorporates a safe crossing of the A52 – essential if you’re going to be able to explore North beyond Ruddington’s boundaries! First, please click on the map below should you wish to open it in a separate window, for reference.
Walk #2 begins again in the centre of Ruddington, by the ‘Ruddington Church’ bus stop (1), which is served by Nottingham City Transport’s Navy 3 and Green 10/10X/10C*. This walk is a longer one than Walk #1 (it’s about 5 miles) and takes 2 to 3 hours (as there are plenty of opportunities for exploring, or wildlife spotting).
With your back to the church, head left along High Street until you reach the zebra crossing. Cross with care and head down the street opposite past the Red Lion pub (2) on the corner. This road is called Easthorpe Street.
Keep following this street, past another pub called the Three Crowns, until you reach a left turn into Rufford Road. (3) You need to follow this residential street all the way to the end, where you will reach a T-junction. Turn right here onto Ashworth Avenue and follow it to the end to reach the A60. (4) Keep going to cross the A60 at this junction as it is a good place to be able to see the traffic coming from all directions and there is a marked central reservation in the middle. CROSS WITH CARE.
On the other side of the road, head left along the A60 and then bear right into a quiet road signposted (old) Loughborough Road. Follow this road until just past the entrance to Ruddington Hall to your right, where you will see a sign for a bridleway which leads up the hill beside the perimeter of the Hall grounds. (5)
Follow this until the bridleway becomes a road which you follow around a left-hand bend. Pass by some very attractive properties, outside of which a number of scarecrows had been put on display for the enjoyment of visitors when I passed through.
The road leads to a T-junction and the bridleway leads straight on into trees, but you should turn right here to follow the road, which is called Landmere Lane. There is a much better crossing point for the A52 this way! Keep going in this direction along the road until the houses dwindle away and you will then reach a sign for Wayte Court, a number of recent barn conversions, on your right. Opposite this, to your left, is a footpath leading to an underpass beneath the A52. This is where you should cross, passing safely underneath the busy road. (6)
On the other side of the underpass, turn right to follow a path around a field. As you come to the edge of the field, and the path you are following turns left, you will see a gap in the hedge in front of you. Pass through the gap and to reach a well worn path crossing your way. Turn left to follow this path towards woods. The path continues uphill to the right of the woods. Keep straight on, avoiding left turns. Soon you shall see a sign in front of you for Sharphill Wood and Nature Reserve. (7) The Nature Reserve is 24 acres of mixed broadleaf woods, owned by Rushcliffe Borough council and managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. It consists mostly of Ash, Beech and Sycamore trees, but also features English Oak, Lime and Wych Elm, and provides a valuable habitat for wildlife in a largely urban area.
As this is your destination, you may be free to explore these woods as you wish! However, designated paths have been created, partly to cope with additional anticipated demand from the 1200 houses that are being built nearby. To assist you in not getting lost, here is a recommended route through them as follows…
Take the right turn after the sign to explore the wood to the East. Keep to the well-worn path which more or less follows the right-hand edge of the wood. Eventually, the edges of the path are marked out by a series of branches laid on the ground and the path begins to turn to the left. Keep following the path as it twists and turns, until there is a junction where the right-hand path leads out of the wood. Take this path and head across the fields to your left by way of a left turn outside the wood. (8) Head towards the mobile phone mast in front of you. You don’t need to go all the way to the phone mast, but this particular field is a high point in the local landscape and as you walk, you will begin to see fabulous views to your left and especially to your right, overlooking the city of Nottingham.
Turn back when you’ve had enough to head back into the wood. This time, take the other path, which is now the path to your right. Keep following this well worn path until you reach a junction, where you will turn right. Again, keep to the path which follows the right-hand edge of the wood, although of course in this direction, this is the Western side. Ignore any left turns and keep going, also ignoring any further right turns which leave the wood, until you reach a gated exit to the nature reserve ahead of you. Go through the gate and descend some steps to reach the path that you climbed earlier. Turn right to follow the path downhill and keep going until you reach the gap in the hedge on your right that you passed through. Pass through the gap and walk around the edge of the field to take you back to the underpass. (6)
Once you’ve reached the other side of the underpass you could of course return to Ruddington the way that you came. But there is another way. Turn left at the other side of the underpass and follow Landmere Lane until it peters out, where you will find a farm track to your right into fields. (9) Follow the track to reach a junction with another farm track and turn left. Follow this until you reach a T-junction with a bridleway, and head right along this, away from the A52 which is to your left. (10)
Keep going along the bridleway until it follows a rough driveway, which turns to the right after a short distance. Keep going straight on along the bridleway here instead, later descending into a wooded shady area, and following another driveway until it reaches the A60, close to the Old Loughborough Road. Head left back towards Ruddington. You can turn right onto Ashworth Avenue and then follow Rufford Road, or follow the A60 and into Ruddington on Kirk Lane, as you wish, to conclude your #RuddyGoodDayOut.
WORDS AND IMAGES: David R Thompson, Summer 2020.
Check out more of David’s photographs from Ruddington and beyond >>HERE<<.
*Guidance on using public transport safely during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic can be found >>HERE<<.