Saturday, April 19, 2014

Creswell, Darfoulds, Rhodesia, and Worksop

Until I wrote today's blog I always thought that the place where I travelled to this morning was called 'Cresswell' and pronounced appropriately...I was wrong.

   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *    *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   

I was back walking in Derbyshire today, only just though since Creswell Crags lie right on the Nottinghamshire boundary.

When I arrived at Doncaster Interchange at seven o'clock this morning two of the Worksop services were at their stands, just a few steps separating them, and both buses due to be departing soon. Number 22 was scheduled to leave five minutes earlier and it takes a quicker route...so obviously I got on that bus; an easy decision to make.

There isn't a bus station at Worksop. It must be one of the largest towns in the country not to have one; all the services terminate outside the maintenance depot, which conveniently is just round the corner from the main shopping street. My bus arrived on time and the bus for Creswell left just a few minutes later.

I arrived at Creswell at 08:40 and walked through a housing estate to reach the main road, possibly a modern by-pass. I saw a sign pointing to Creswell Crags, the reason for my starting today's walk from Creswell. I've never been to the crags and was looking forward to walking along the gorge, right next to the crags and the caves: I didn't see much at all though because I ended up walking along a road for over half a mile until I reached the Visitor Centre. There must have been a pedestrian entrance to avoid the road somewhere...but I never saw a sign - another comment about poor signage; last week it was Langold Country Park.

Just as I was approaching the Visitor Centre my mobile phone rang; it was my friend Justin asking about if Monday was a bank holiday and if he'd be able to use his bus pass early in the morning. Holding the phone to my ear we were busy discussing bus timetables, whether or not certain facilities might be closed...and Abba songs. I blithely walked up to the front door of the Visitor Centre when someone ran in front of me to block my way. I was informed that the back of the building was on fire, I couldn't see or smell anything though. So, no toilets and no café...not the best of starts.

I was directed down to the crags and soon found an idyllic spot to eat my sandwiches.



I was hungry and was sure I'd be able to get something to eat later on; I'd spotted a garden centre on the map, along my route. It would probably have a café or tearooms.

I doubled back in the direction of the Visitor Centre and noticed that there were four fire engines putting out the fire, three from the Derbyshire brigade, and one from Nottinghamshire.



I soon entered Nottinghamshire and then walked along a private estate road, which was also designated as a bridleway, then continued along the edge of some woodland and got my only view of the towers of Welbeck Abbey in the distance - I'm not sure if the abbey is open to the public, and if it is what's there to do and look at.

Before crossing more farmland I passed two lakes, possibly part of the Welbeck Estate. I reached South Lodge, one of several lodges in the area, and then walked due north through some woods. Since leaving Creswell Crags I had been walking along the Robin Hood Way, now it was just local footpaths and bridleways for the remainder of the walk. There were more ploughed fields to walk along the edges of and then a sharp left turn to reach the A60 road. I crossed the road, it wasn't very busy, and the sightlines were good.

I crossed a meadow and then turned right just before reaching Hodthorpe and struggled a bit walking along a tiresome straight lane for a mile and a half until I reached Darfoulds, where I was hoping that there would be a garden centre with a café...and indeed there was. I headed straight for the café and ordered a toasted teacake and a pot of tea. The fare served up was good and the service okay, if a little slow; I had no reason to complain. The seating area was very pleasant too, a bit like a large conservatory...with a cheerful zonal geranium on every table. The menu was rather limited, and not to my taste at all; too much panini, ciabatta, and baguettes. Apart from my toasted teacake and the cakes, everything seemed to be served with basil.

After leaving the garden centre the next section was along more fields and then a country lane until I reached Rhodesia, which welcomes careful drivers on its canal.


It was easy for me to find the canal at Rhodesia, and all I had to do then was follow it to Worksop. Just before reaching the town centre my phone rang again. This time it was Chris, a friend from the Leeds Adult Asperger's group who I hadn't seen for a couple of months. He wanted to arrange a walk in the Peak District for the 3rd of June. With this date being a Saturday too I'd be able to use my travel pass all day, and so get an early start on the bus to Sheffield. It would be a long and uncomfortable journey to the Peak District though and I wouldn't consider undertaking it if I was on my own, but the chance to see Chris, and possibly someone else from the group too, has made me decide to put up with the inconvenience.

About twenty minutes later I was waiting for the bus at Hardy Street, the bus terminus in Worksop; the number 21 was the first to arrive; it takes a few minutes longer than the 22...but I wasn't going to wait another twenty minutes for the next 22.

I'm finishing today's blog post with a couple of photographs of my local park; I walk through it to get to my house when I get off the bus at my local bus-stop for the services out to Nottinghamshire. It's looking quite beautiful at this time of year.