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Bestwood Country Park Circular

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Bestwood Country Park Circular
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 18 Jan 2015 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Nottinghamshire, Nottingham
Walk Type: Garden or park
Bestwood Country Park Circular
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 3 mile circular walk around Bestwood Country Park in Nottinghamshire. The walk explores the many habitats within the park including heath, woodland, grassland, wetland and gardens and also takes in the park’s iconic landmark, the surviving headstock and winding house which has been retained to commemorate the time when the site was home to Bestwood Colliery. Popular with families and dog walkers, the park offers plenty of interest with industrial heritage, plenty of wildlife and spectacular views.

Bestwood Country Park is open daily from 10am to 4pm or 5pm. The walk has several long and fairly steep climbs and descents throughout. The majority of the paths are surfaced with stone, but some unmade stretches over the grassland and woodland can be quite muddy after rain and in winter. There are no stiles to negotiate, just a squeeze gap and some kissing gates and single gates. Dogs are welcome in the park and bins are provided for dog waste. There are public toilets near Alexandra Lodge, about halfway round. If you wish to tour the former colliery buildings, check opening times before setting out as they are very limited. Approximate time 1 to 1.5 hours.

Bestwood village is located just north of Nottingham. The walk starts and finishes from the free country park car park accessed from Park Road and marked with a brown sign. There is a height restriction barrier at the car park entrance. Approximate post code NG6 8TQ.

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Walk Sections

Start to Sleeper Bridge
Start to Sleeper Bridge

Start point: 53.0225 lat, -1.1726 long
End point: 53.0174 lat, -1.1785 long

From the car park, pass through the black metal kissing gate to enter the country park. Keep right at the first fork and this path swings right to lead you past the impressive Winding Engine House on the left. It is worth pausing a moment here to appreciate the scale of the buildings and to understand the history of the site.

Today Bestwood Country Park is a peaceful rural retreat, but from the 1870s to the late 1960s this was a sprawling industrial site. Bestwood Colliery was one of the most productive coal mines in Britain which, in its heyday, employed more than 2,000 miners. You may have noticed the rows of miners’ cottages along Park Road as you approached. The steam winding engine lowered miners and equipment down into the pit and winched coal up to the surface. The 1876 vertical twin-cylindered winding engine is the only one of its kind left in England and still in its original location. The colliery closed in 1967 and the only remaining parts can be seen here – the Winding Engine House, the Headstocks and the Dynamo House (a former electrical substation). The buildings now house a cafe and visitor centre and have open mornings for the public on Saturdays and Bank Holidays from Easter to October (although you can enjoy the building exteriors at any time!).

Beyond the engine house, continue on the obvious surfaced path which leads you into open parkland. At the fork (just before the path begins to swing hard right), keep left onto the narrow stone path which swings left and leads you uphill, through a narrow gateway and to a T-junction with a wider stone track. Turn right along this. Soon, the views across Bestwood village open up to the right, including the striking brick former town hall with its clock tower.

You will come to a fork in the path. Keep right, signed for Mill Lakes. Stay on this main path (ignoring the smaller path signed to Mill Lakes off to the right) and follow it as it swings left, left, right then right again. A few paces later, look out for a small sleeper bridge across the ditch to the left. Turn left to cross this.

Sleeper Bridge to Woodland T junction
Sleeper Bridge to Woodland T junction

Start point: 53.0174 lat, -1.1785 long
End point: 53.0158 lat, -1.1639 long

Follow this path steadily uphill between fences. At the T-junction turn right and then follow the path through two gates and continuing uphill. At the top of the slope, stay on the main path as it swings right and then, further along, swings left at Vincent’s View (with a handy bench to pause and enjoy this view point).

The bench here was installed in 2008 to commemorate the retirement of civil engineer David Vincent, who was responsible for much of the restoration of Bestwood Colliery to form the park. The sweeping panoramic view at this point is considered to be one of the best in Nottingham, taking in the Rolls Royce Aerodrome, a glimpse of Wollaton Hall and stretching as far as the cooling towers of Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station (11 miles to the south) and well beyond.

Stay on the main surfaced path which winds ahead and eventually leads you down a slope to a junction of paths just before an exit gate into a residential road. Do NOT go through the gate, instead turn sharp left onto the first left-hand path, a surfaced track signed as a permissive bridleway. The track climbs steadily with a hedgerow on the right.

Ignore the first path off to the right (which is immediately after the hedgerow ends), instead take the second path on the right (being careful not to take the third!), a sometimes muddy grass track which runs along the top of the hill, parallel with the hedge across to the right. Enjoy the views across the valley to the left and stay on the grass track which eventually leads you down to a T-junction within a section of woodland.

Woodland T junction to Alexandra Lodge
Woodland T junction to Alexandra Lodge

Start point: 53.0158 lat, -1.1639 long
End point: 53.0214 lat, -1.1584 long

Turn left at this T-junction and follow the obvious path ahead, with houses running parallel through the trees on the right. At the crossroads, keep straight ahead passing a waymarker for Alexandra Lodge (our next destination). At the first two forks you can take either branch – the paths soon merge once again.

After passing the fencing for school playing fields on the right you will come to the third fork. Keep right here and then keep right again a few yards later. You will come to a crossroads with a waymarker post, keep straight ahead signed for Alexandra Lodge. Follow this stone track which heads fairly steeply downhill.

At the bottom of the slope you will come to a crossroads with a major vehicle track. Turn left along this level track and it will soon lead you directly through the arch of Alexandra Lodge. This pair of lodges has a date plaque of 1877 and was built for the 10th Duke of St. Albans in the gothic revival style. Today, the lodge houses the rangers’ office for the country park.

Alexandra Lodge to End
Alexandra Lodge to End

Start point: 53.0214 lat, -1.1584 long
End point: 53.0226 lat, -1.1726 long

Keep ahead along the main drive passing the field studies and classroom building on the left. Immediately afterwards, turn left onto Woodman’s Path which leads you uphill past the public toilets on the left.

Take a moment to glance to the right here and you will see an ornate carved wooden arch marking the entrance for Khalsa Wood. This woodland was founded by the local Sikh community as a way to express the values of reverence for nature and the tradition of sewa, a duty of altruism and volunteering. Take time to explore this woodland should you wish.

Continue up the hill and at the top of the slope follow the main path as it swings left with fenced open horse paddocks now on the right. You may be able to see the top of the winding engine peering out from the valley below. Continue past the adventure playground on the left and then follow the main path as it swings left away from the paddocks.

Take the next main path on the right, signed for Winding House. This track winds fairly steeply downhill. At the bottom, keep right to merge with another track coming in from the left. Keep straight ahead on this sandy track which leads you back towards the winding engine house. At the fork, keep right and follow the path under the power lines and ahead into the car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2015 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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3 images to "Bestwood Country Park Circular"

3957_0Richard1421594115 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Don't know what year this was taken. Looks like the mine is not in use so after 1967.
3957_1Richard1421594116 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Taken in Jan 2015 on a lovely winter's day.
3957_2Richard1421594116 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK Image by: Richard
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
Such an iconic piece of industrial archeology. So different today from when the mine employed 2,000 people and there was a railway taking the coal away.

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