About this walk
The walk described below starts from Arnold Lane in Gedling, through the Gedling Country Park, on to the villages of Lambley and Burton Joyce, along the River Trent and finishes in Netherfield. However, the start and finish points are interchangeable, and can be reached by regular buses from Nottingham city centre..
The overall route covers just over seven miles, most of it off-road, over old colliery workings now restored as wildlife areas, and along the River Trent. There are a number of pubs en-route serving good cask ales. So, it’s a comfortable two or three-pinter, allowing you to arrive home calorie and carbon neutral and none the worse for wear. The pubs are: the Lambley, the Robin Hood Inn, the Lord Nelson and the Ferry Boat Inn.,
As well as the good ale, there are also along the way a number of points of historical interest. These include: the sites of the old collieries at Gedling, the Lambley Dumbles, St Helen’s Church in Burton Joyce, and the Netherfield lagoons.
The route description
1. From Arnold Lane in Gedling, turn into Lambley Lane and a few hundred yards down the lane, on the left-hand side, enter the north entrance to the Recreation Ground. Walk through the recreation ground, moving over to the left and, after approximately two hundred yards, you will find a footpath entrance into Gedling Country Park. Take the path, following what was once the route of a mineral railway line that served Gedling Colliery, until you reach another entrance into the country park on your right. This entrance will lead down to two lakeside areas in the park. Bearing right, and then left, walk around the lakes and up to the top of the hill past the picnic tables. Keep straight on until you reach the car park and the main vehicular entrance and exit to the country park at Spring Lane.
Gedling Country Park has been reclaimed from the site of the disused Gedling Colliery. The Digby Colliery Company started work there in 1898, with the first shafts sunk in 1900 and the first coal produced in 1902. Following nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947, the workforce at Gedling reached its peak of 2,500 in the 1950s before closing in 1991. Gedling was known as ‘the pit of all nations’ due to the many migrant miners from around the world who worked there. During the 93 years it was open, 130 people lost their lives at the pit. Shortly after the pit closed, the mining infrastructure was removed and the land underwent major restoration. Some 4,500 tonnes of top soil were imported, trees planted and the lagoons re-profiled to improve their appearance and promote a wider diversity of wildlife so that now many different species of birds and insects can be seen including short eared owls, skylarks, lapwings and rare butterflies. In 2013, Gedling Borough Council acquired the site and built new footpaths, and a new entrance road and car park on Spring Lane.
2.Exit the park and cross over the main road and turn left down Spring Lane for about a hundred yards where you will find a footpath signposted left. Take the footpath for approximately a quarter of a mile until you reach a stile on your left leading to a footpath across the middle of two fields. Having crossed the fields, pass over another stile and turn left to follow the path through a thickly wooded area known as the Lambley Dumbles. After approximately a quarter of a mile, the path leaves the Dumbles and continues for about another quarter of a mile through fields, before leading to the main road into Lambley village. Turn left onto the main road and follow it into the village, passing the Lambley Village Kitchen pub on your left. At the other end of the village you will pass the Robin Hood Inn on your right.
Dumble is a local term for a small wooded dell through which streams have carved out twisting and steep-sided gullies, and the main one in this area of Nottinghamshire is simply called Lambley Dumble. From a distance, the snaking line of trees and bushes looks like a narrow copse or old field boundary, and deep channels are not immediately visible. Lambley is tucked away at the bottom of a small valley surrounded by a rolling patchwork quilt of fields and clumps of woodland. ‘Lambley’ derives from Lambs’ Lea – an enclosure for the grazing of sheep, although much of the surrounding land is now given over to arable production. Lambley was once well-known because of its wild flowers, and to this day its symbol remains the cowslip. The first Sunday of May was traditionally known as Cowslip Sunday, when crowds would come to the dumbles around Lambley to gather cowslips for wine making. Over the years, Cowslip Sunday grew to become a huge annual event, often attracting thousands of people from the working-class areas of Nottingham. Stalls of food and drink were set up in the main street, and the festivities lasted all day.
3.Leaving the village, two hundred yards past the Robin Hood Inn there is a footpath signposted to the right. Turn right here up a short track that leads to a footpath that climbs steeply up through a field. Walk to the top of the field where the path joins a farm track which soon leads to Bridle Lane. Walk all the way down Bridle Lane, for just under half a mile, to join Lambley Lane on the outskirts of Burton Joyce. Follow Lambley Lane for a further quarter of a mile as it crosses over Main Street and leads into Church Street in Burton Joyce. Crossing over Church Street, bear right until you reach Station Road on your left. Turn into Station road and walk across the level crossing over the railway line past Burton Joyce station. After the station, and with the River Trent on your left, follow the road for approximately three quarters of a mile until you reach the Ferry Boat Inn on your right.
Burton Joyce was originally the site of a substantial Iron Age hillfort, alternatively known as a bertune, eventually being pronounced as ‘Burton’. Later the settlement once played host to Norman nobility, who established St Helen’s Church. In the early 14th century, Robert de Jorz was the Lord of the Manor, eventually becoming the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1331. Taking ownership of the then Burton settlement, Robert added his surname to the village’s title, becoming Burton Jorz, which was eventually anglicised as Burton Joyce. From a small agricultural community before the mid-18th century, Burton Joyce’s population greatly increased in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, earning a reputation for manufacturing quality textile products up until the 1920s. The village saw further infrastructural progress in the 20th century, with construction and transport sharing the most noticeable developments.
4. A hundred yards past the Ferry Boat Inn, bear left onto the tarmac path that leads directly alongside the river. Follow the river path for just under two miles until you reach an industrial estate, in Colwick, on your right. As you walk along the river you will pass Stoke Lock, the Netherfield Lagoons, the railway viaduct across the river and, just past the viaduct, are the remains of a substantial concrete river-side wharf. As you walk past the industrial estate, the river path will come to an end with a sharp right turn into a narrow path that leads to a main road into the industrial estate. Turn left onto the main road, cross to the other side, and after approximately three hundred yards turn right and follow the road up to the main Colwick Loop Road. Cross over to the other side of the Colwick Loop Road and turn left, walking down the road for approximately two hundred yards until you reach another road junction where you will turn right. After another two hundred yards, bear right into Chaworth Road where, on the right, there is bus stop for buses into Nottingham City centre.
The Netherfield Lagoons nature reserve consists roughly of three areas, the Lagoon, the Deep Pit and the two Gravel Pits. The Slurry Lagoon was where the slurry pumped from Gedling pit arrived and was spread out to settle and allow the water to drain off. The dark grey slurry is slowly being covered as plants, including reeds, gain a hold. Other parts of the slurry surface have been colonised by Southern Marsh, Spotted and Bee Orchids. The southwest end of the slurry has a permanent shallow water body, which attracts waders, gulls and ducks and has a good population of Black-tailed Skimmers. A good selection of rare birds have been seen at the Netherfield Lagoons and have included American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Bittern, Common Crane (twice), Gannet, Dotterel, Stonecurlew, Purple, Buff-breasted and Broad-billed Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Grey Phalarope, Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, White-winged Black Tern, Little Swift, Dusky warbler, Great Reed Warbler and Marsh Warbler.