With the sun shining and the prospect of temperatures of 20+, spirits were high and the legs were out! Question: ‘Where are the nettles on the walk?’ Answer: ’at the beginning, in the middle and at the end!’ And so our group of 28 set off from The Magna Charta Pub in Lowdham – the ‘h’ was debated!
After a steady climb along an overgrown path we emerged to views of the Trent valley on our right. Undeterred by stampeding cows, we descended to Cliff Mill, a late C18 cotton water mill, the first of three mills to be seen along the Dover Beck, on the walk. (In 1799, 7 year old Robert Blincoe along with 80 other waifs from a London workhouse was promised ‘roast beef, plum pudding, silver watches and plenty of cash in their pockets to come and work in the mill’. What they actually experienced was 15 hour days, thrashings, unguarded machinery and starvation for the next 14 years.
On from the mill we crossed fields of inquisitive cows and nonchalant sheep before arriving at Hoveringham Mill (a corn mill). After circling the fishing lake we crossed the railway line, progress halted only by the passing of an East Midlands train and a disgruntled cyclist. The coffee stop was at the C13 St Laurence church in the tranquil village of Gonalston. Next, the busy A612 before returning to arable land and a steady climb up towards the highest point of the walk, affording views of Thurgarton and the surrounding countryside.
The lunch stop (well earned) was at Hagg Cottage. Then it was all downhill, with views of Epperstone to our right, finally arriving at Lowdham Mill (corn again), and the Main Street with its’ Gold postbox and plaque to Harold Cottham.
7.8 miles, a little over 4 hours, and no mud! Our reward – a cold drink in the pub and the knowledge of having experienced the, ‘English countryside at its best’. The Gonalston circular aka ‘The nettles walk!’
This was a great walk – thank you to Dave Kay and Ian Raynor.
Our next walk will be to: Kelstedge in Derbyshire on Monday 18th June, 2018.
And our Treasure Hunt Walk and BBQ: Thursday 21st June at 5 pm (37 people are booked in)
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