Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ranskill, Sutton cum Lound, Sutton Grange, Tiln, and Retford

A first test for my ankle today after I sprained it struggling to get off the train last week: a local walk with no gradients or uneven surfaces...and not that much mud either - no hills, no peatbogs, no scrambling, no stepping stones, no dense undergrowth...welcome to Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire.

Everything was fine, my right ankle is aching a bit, but that's all - I had all contingencies covered though.

I got off the bus and Ranskill and walked down Station Road/Lane, over the level crossing (I had to wait for two trains to pass) and turned right down the track which leads to Daneshill Lakes Nature Reserve.I took my time here, exploring the paths and looking at the lakes. I found a lovely spot just beyond the carpark, which is free, and sat and ate some of my sandwiches; it was early, but I wanted to enjoy the moment.

A few minutes after finishing my sandwiches I passed the location of the Ranskill Royal Ordnance Factory; there's nothing to see, just a couple of information boards.

If the writing's still too small to read after clicking on the images to enlarge them, here's a link to the Wikipedia page.

Beyond the nature reserve the path continued right alongside the East Coast Mainline Railway (there was a sturdy fence) and about half a dozen trains whizzed by in the few minutes I was there. The path then veered across fields to take me to Sutton cum Lound, with its pretty church.

I left the village, heading north east, but stopped to take a photograph of the 'Sutton cum Lound Welcomes Careful drivers' roadside sign - it's quite impressive, but not that unusual. Most Nottinghamshire villages seem to have something similar, individual to each village though.

The next section of the walk was rather unattractive, being along potholed byways and passing by quarry workings, scrapyards, and ramshackle buildings. I called in at the reception of Wetlands Animal Park to pick up some leaflets; I know of a couple of community groups here in Doncaster which might be interested in organising a trip.

A few hundred yards later I arrived at Sutton Grange; there's nothing to see here. I then turned right and arrived at Idle Valley Nature Reserve, where I finished off my sandwiches; I'm not sure if the photograph is the actual location where I was sitting though.

As I approached the bridge over the River Idle I noticed a sign stating that the fishing rights along this stretch of the river belong to the Derbyshire County Angling Club, even though the River Idle doesn't flow through that county at all.

The next section of the walk was difficult to navigate because my map bore no resemblance to the actual landscape. I was looking for a path going straight across some meadows, but the area had been fenced off with barbed wire, and it looked like some sluice gates had been deliberately opened, allowing the area to flood. 

Since I couldn't take my intended route I had to take a path along the top of the levee which contains the river, adding about a mile to my walk. I passed through Tiln, somewhere I hadn't planned to visit. The path that I needed went right up the drive of a house and behind the back of the garage - at least it was where it should be though.

I was now walking in an easterly direction along a well maintained track. Over to my left I could see a lake, and this isn't on the current Ordnance Survey Map either...another ghost lake of North Nottinghamshire. It appears that an angling club is now based there. 

I soon reach the canal, the Chesterfield Canal and walked down onto the towpath; the sun was at the perfect angle to illuminate the church at Hayton.

I had to take a photograph when I got to Whitsunday Pie Lock; I like my pies, but had never come across this type of pie before. I was disappointed to discover that no such pie exists, it's just an amusing local name.

It wasn't much further for me to walk into Retford and get something to eat, fish and chips from Kenny's; my favourite in the town.

I am very pleased with my ankle and how quick it's recovering. I did strap it up with a compression bandage, but it coped very well with a walk of at least ten miles. I reckon I'll be ready for the Peak District next week.

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