This first walk is for Ruddington residents and tourists alike. It takes in many of the attractions of the village, as well as providing a number of opportunities to see the trains which run on the nearby Great Central Railway at weekends and bank holidays throughout most of the year, except for a number of weeks in winter. First, please click on the map below should you wish to open it in a separate window, for reference.
Walk #1 begins 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 buses*, so there are various ways to make it to the starting point. The walk is around three and a half miles long, over relatively easy terrain, and should take about an hour and a half.
Do take time to explore the churchyard. St Peter’s Church was rebuilt in 1888 at a cost of £12,000, following its rise to prominence over the parish church in the now lost village of Flawford, which itself was demolished in 1773.
With your back to the church, head to the right and then follow the road round to the left, past the Co-op. You will see the Village Museum to your left and a brown tourist sign to your right directing you to the Framework Knitters’ Museum, in case you would like to visit these another day. Keep going along Church Street past the White Horse pub to your right (or venture in for some refreshment, as you wish!) to reach Ruddington Green on your left. Take a cut through on your left, passing a terrace of houses, and then cross the street in front of you to head across the main part of The Green itself, where you will see The Human Sundial. (2) Maybe you can check on the time by seeing how your shadow falls. Keep going in this direction across the Green until you reach another road, signposted as Elms Gardens. Turn right along this street, follow the road round to the left and you will see a short alleyway in front of you. Keep going into the alleyway, and turn right at the end of it. You will soon see a green public footpath sign pointing the way to the country park down a left fork. Follow the sign by heading roughly straight on after the turning, along a tarmac path. (3)
Keep going along the tarmac path, keeping the playing fields to your left. Bear slightly left as you reach a housing estate to your right and keep following the path into some woods. The path appears to continue to the left, but there is a gate to your right. Head through the gate, noting the sign ‘Welcome to Rushcliffe Country Park’. (4) Keep going along the path as it curves round to your left, and meanders onwards with houses to your right. Soon you will reach the main part of the country park (5), consisting of over 8km of paths, which provide plenty of opportunities for exploration and exercise. The site used to be a Ministry of Defence depot during the Second World War and was converted into a country park by Nottinghamshire County Council in 1993. It is now run by Rushcliffe Borough Council.
Keep to the path and at the first junction turn left, which takes you to a bridge over the railway, from which you will be able to see the rails and sidings and some of the locomotives at Nottingham Transport Heritage Centre. There are trains to Loughborough available from here, travelling on the Great Central Railway- Nottingham, sometimes by steam train; although you need to access the site from Mere Way, off the A60, to catch them. You can also see a children’s playground to your right.
Keep following the path to a crossroads and go straight on. When you reach the next junction at a lake, turn left to keep going around the lake to the Visitors’ Centre. (6) Whilst walking around the lake, you should ignore the paths to your left as they only head towards the car park, although you may wish to explore the Sensory Trail, which is also off your path to the left. The lake and reed bed cover an area of two hectares and provide a home for mute swans, great crested grebes and many types of duck.
Keep right in order to continue to circumnavigate the lake until you have almost completed the circuit, and then turn left, taking the path before the one on which you first reached the lake. (7) Make sure you leave the lakeside path by the correct route – if you reach the wooden sculptures of toadstools, you have gone too far. In this event, turn back and take the first right. You should see an open field in front of you. Follow the path and head on towards the field, keeping a fence to your right, behind which is the Tree Identification Trail. You will see a right turn at a junction in the path, which you should ignore.
Shortly after this junction, the path dwindles to a narrow track, but leave this and just keep heading across the field in the same direction, aiming for a gap in the trees. Go through the gap and you will see a forked path. Take the right fork, and keep going, passing a dog activity trail on your left. Keep straight on, ignoring the left turn. Follow the path around a right-hand bend and keep going up an incline until you reach woods to the left of the path. Take the left fork when you come to a junction, then turn left towards a metal gate beneath a yellow archway. (8) Leave the country park through this exit. You will see white level crossing gates to your right, so do linger if you hear a train coming, but move away from these to turn left from the country park exit down Asher Lane. This road can be busy with cars parking to use the country park, so please take care. Head towards the white gate down the road in front of you and go over the style beside the gate as the main road bends to the left. After the style, follow the tarmac road straight on until you reach a fork in the road. Take the right fork over the bridge over the railway. (9)
If you look to your right as you cross the bridge, you will see a green bridge crossing the railway, which is your next destination. Once over the bridge, turn right through a metal gate to follow a footpath next to the railway. Keep going until the path descends to the level of the railway and you cross a wooden footbridge. Keep straight on this path as it goes round to the right until you can see the green painted metal of the bridge over the railway. (10) This bridge is called ‘Fifty Steps Bridge’ and was constructed around 1899, and so has stayed in place beyond the Beeching cuts in 1963, which put paid to Ruddington station, and also to the line which used to link it northwards to Nottingham.
Turn right to cross this bridge and, on the other side, take the left fork along the tarmac path, which takes an alleyway between houses until you reach playing fields. Bear left across the grass, following a fence to your left, to reach another path across the field which you can pick up after it skirts the children’s playground which you will see to your right. Keep going in the same direction as you take this path. The path passes to the right of a wooden gate. Shortly after this, you will see a gateway to your right and sign for ‘Vicarage Lane Cemetery’. (11)
If you visit this peaceful area, you may be able to find the graves of three survivors of The Battle of Rorke’s Drift, as featured in the film ‘Zulu’ starring Michael Caine. To find these, head left as you enter the cemetery and look for the names James Marshall, Caleb Wood and Robert Tongue. Leave the cemetery and continue to follow Vicarage Lane to the end until you reach St Peter’s Church, where you will find your starting point at the bus stop to your left (1) to conclude your #RuddyGoodDayOut.
WORDS AND IMAGES: David R Thompson, November 2019.
Check out more of David’s photographs from Ruddington and beyond >>HERE<<.
*Addendum – Summer 2020 until further notice:
Guidance on using public transport safely during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic can be found >>HERE<<.