The third walk in this series takes us from Ruddington towards its nearest neighbour.
Clifton has its roots as a village, existing now within the Nottingham City boundary but growing up initially around Clifton Hall, an ancient family seat. It was much enlarged by the building of a large council estate in the 1950s and is now a vibrant suburban community, enhanced by its new tram route and, arguably, the dualling of the A453 which reduced its seemingly permanent congestion during rush hour.
This walk takes in some of the nature reserves and woodland habitats which surround Clifton, featuring some accessible and impressive scenery and the majestic River Trent. First, please click on the map below should you wish to open it in a separate window, for reference.
Walk #3 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 and Walk #2 (about five and a half miles) and takes about three hours.
(The first section of this walk follows the route of the last part of Walk #1, but in reverse, heading as far as Fifty Steps Bridge. If you haven’t done Walk #1, though, you can still follow these instructions.)
With your back to the church, head to the right and take the street which continues in that direction, which is called Vicarage Lane. (You will see the street name sign on your right as you walk on.) Shortly, the road narrows outside a house called Lane House, but keep going, heading right as you approach the gates of Vicarage Lane Cemetery, and going through the gap beside the wooden gate to cross the playing fields on a tarmac path. Keep to the tarmac path until it bends to the left towards a playground, at which point you keep straight on across the playing fields, following the garden fences to your right. You will soon reach another tarmac area in the corner of the playing fields. Follow the tarmac path which continues on from this, down an alleyway between houses, until you reach the steps of the old bridge crossing the railway, which is known as Fifty Steps Bridge. (2)
Cross the bridge and at the other side, turn right. (You depart from the route of Walk #1 at this point.) You now follow a path which has an estate of new houses to the right, and a brook which appears on the left as you advance further. Follow the path to the end, where it meets Pasture Lane. (3) You will see the Artex factory to your left and a residential road called Tongue Way to your right.
Turn right along Pasture Lane, and follow it until you reach a mini roundabout, where you will turn left to follow Clifton Lane. (4) The road goes uphill and then takes a sharp bend to the right. As you descend, you will see the brickwork of the parapet of a bridge, and a public footpath sign after the bridge pointing off the road to the right. (5) Take this footpath, which takes you into Fairham Brook Nature Reserve. The Reserve is owned by Nottingham City Council and managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. It includes a range of habitats, including open water, reedbeds, fen and grasslands, and has been managed to prevent the drying out of these important areas (despite the use of the brook as a drainage channel for agricultural land from the 1980s) in order to benefit a wide range of small mammals, birds, dragonflies, frogs, toads and newts. It is one of the largest nature reserves in the City of Nottingham at 10.8 hectares.
Keep following the path with Fairham Brook to your right. You will cross two footbridges and after the second one, you will reach open playing fields. You are following a public right of way, so keep going, keeping to the right along the brook, and crossing another bridge over a tributary as the path continues through school playing fields. You will pass picnic tables to your left. Eventually, you will see a viaduct ahead, taking the tram over the brook and surrounding area. Head for this viaduct, bearing right to follow the path underneath it. (6) When you emerge, follow the path round to the left and keep going until you reach a tarmac path where you turn right. Soon, you will see a right turn over a bridge. Cross the bridge and then turn left, following the brook still, which is now on your left. The suburb of Silverdale is to your right. You will reach a fork in the road beneath an electricity pylon. Take the left fork and continue along the path, following the brook on your left, until you reach a major roundabout and flyover! (7)
The tarmac path ends in a flight of concrete steps, which you need to climb. From the top of the steps, turn right towards a T-junction in the road and a sign which reads Westerfield Way. Cross over the road towards the sign, and then turn left to follow Westerfield Way until you reach a T-junction. Take the left turn, although it looks as if you are heading down a cul-de-sac. You will soon see the entrance to an underpass, which takes you beneath the A453.
Once you emerge, keep heading in the same direction, ignoring the path to the left, and keep going until you reach Clifton Lane (which leads to Wilford |Lane). Now turn right to walk along Clifton Lane, heading for the BP service station.
You will soon see a green Public Bridleway sign pointing down a slope on the other side of the road. Once you have passed the BP station on your right, cross the road using the central reservation (CROSS WITH CARE) to follow this and keep straight on to follow a blue sign along the River Trent Greenway to Clifton Village and Barton-in-Fabis. Keep following the path across the bridge (which takes you over Fairham Brook which you have been following before it vanished beneath the roundabout) ignoring the right turn to Wilford Village. You have reached the River Trent. (8) Continue along the path with the river on your right. This is a popular cycle path, so do take care. Eventually, you will come to a left turn towards some houses, which you should ignore. Keep straight on, making for a large wooden sign for Clifton Grove Local Nature Reserve just beyond. There is a fork in the road here, but keep to the lower path to the right. This is an excellent path through the reserve which consists of the riverside to your right and a steep embankment with woodland to your left. There are reports of many bird sightings here.
Keep following the Trent until it eventually heads off to the right. (9) Soon, you reach a left turn which goes up a hill to Clifton Village. You will need to take this, but at this point, there are a number of options for exploring beyond this point if you have the energy!
A right turn after a short walk ahead will take you on a path following the river. Or, if you turn left at this next junction, you can explore Clifton Woods. If you do this, do keep an eye out for the various features of the continuing embankment, including the ‘Gypsum Strata’, which is a clear layering formation of the rock wall and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. There are also a number of fishing lakes to your right (including Holme Pit with a boardwalk that you might explore). However you choose to extend (or not extend!) your walk, you will need to return to this point so that you can ascend the track to Clifton Village.
At the top of this track, there is a gate which you will pass through, after which there is a car park on your left, and a sign to Clifton Grove. Ignore this and keep straight on towards Clifton village. You will see St Mary’s church to your right and behind you. (10) Behind that is Clifton Hall which is reputed to be haunted, with reported sightings as recently as 2008. It is also the manor house which used to own extensive grounds including the area you have been exploring since reaching the first few houses of Clifton by the River Trent. You can see the Hall from St Mary’s churchyard.
Keeping straight on from the top of the track you ascended, you will soon reach a junction in the road. Keep going straight ahead, following a road which a sign indicates as Nethergate. Keep following this road, which narrows to a tarmac track between houses. At the end of the track, turn right towards the main A453. When you reach the main road, keep to this side of the dual carriageway and turn right up an incline, and keep going until you see the bus stop on your right, called Crusader Island. (11) You can catch the Navy 3 bus back to the starting point in Ruddington from here. (The bus indicator will refer to the destination of the bus as City for the bus to get you to Ruddington.)
*Buses are every 30 minutes during the day on Mondays to Saturdays, but the Navy 3 does not run in the evenings or on Sundays, so please do be aware of this when you plan your walk. It is a further two mile walk (approx 40 minutes) from Crusader Island via Green Lane and Clifton Lane back to Ruddington village centre.
WORDS AND IMAGES: David R Thompson, Autumn 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<<.