Welbeck Estate and Belph
Twenty-one walkers assembled at the meeting point; several went off to avail themselves of the facilities, worryingly by 10 o’clock they had not returned; it was a long walk!
All present, introductions and formalities complete, we set off, heading north to pick up the Robin Hood Way east, (our route for the first three miles). The path skirts the Welbeck Abbey/House, which in the main is masked by greenery; we were given snippets of information about the eccentric 5th Duke of Portland and a brief history of the abbey/house. Open fields and oak/beech woodland are the main features of the area but what can go unnoticed, along a straight section, is a raised ridge running parallel to the path. A submerged gas lit tunnel, wide enough for two carriages to pass one another, begins at the house and emerges after 1.5 miles, above ground, through a set of doors at the South Lodge.
Continuing east along Drinking Pit Lane we arrived at the Busaco Ridge, a fine example of a ‘Holloway’ carved through Nottinghamshire sandstone. Returning to South Lodge for a coffee stop there were reminders of how Hucknall had benefitted from contributions made by the 6th Duke.
Refreshed, the walk continued NW along Broad Lane before turning west towards the hamlet of Belph. After a lunch stop, we continued south, returning to the start. A very pleasant walk. 6.8 miles for most, 7+ miles for some! Many retired to the Greendale Oak in Cuckney, others were tempted by the garden centre.
Our thanks go to Dave Kay and Ian Raynor for leading the walk.