Sherwood Forest, the River Trent, Clumber Park: scenic beauty in the East Midlands county of Nottinghamshire isn't hard to come by. Discover the best of this landlocked county with our round-up of favourite Nottinghamshire walks.
Best walks in Nottinghamshire
Attenborough Nature Reserve
3.8 miles/5.6km | 2 hours| easy
Attenborough Nature Reserve lies between Derby and Nottingham beside the River Trent and is easily accessed by train, car and bike from both cities. Made up of nine flooded gravel pits, broken up by islands and spits, the reserve is awash with resident and overwintering birds. Cattle, little and great egrets have all been spotted at Attenborough, while last winter the attractive Slovenian grebe caused much excitement.
Arrive at the reserve a couple of hours before dusk to walk or cycle the Kingfisher Route for an opportunity to see the full cast of wildlife.
1.5 miles/2.4km | 45 mins | easy
The heaths and glades of Sherwood Forest are the remnants of a significantly larger royal hunting forest that stood 1,000 years ago. Here, that mercurial cove Robin Hood led the Sherriff of Nottingham a merry dance, poaching deer and becoming a folk hero for the oppressed ever since.
Whether he ever existed in the deepest greenwood is a matter of conjecture; the rebel in Lincoln green is an intangible, fanciful link to the England of yore. Sherwood Forest’s majestic Major Oak, on the other hand, is very much the real thing.
This is the tree where, according to folklore, Robin plotted, feasted and hid. It’s over 900 years old and remains one of England’s biggest oaks, but the Major’s seen better days. Its immense hollow trunk throws out vast boughs to all points of the compass, but requires a girdle of poles and stays to support the leafy limbs that would otherwise fracture and fail. The famous tree, nowadays fenced-off for conservation’s sake, is easily reached on accessible paths from the new RSPB Visitor Centre (and café) at Edwinstowe.
6 miles/9.6km | 4 hours | moderate
Gotham village is famous for the legendary Merry Tales of the Mad Men of Gotham, first published in 1540, in later editions sanitised to Wise Men. One story tells how the Wise Men acted as madmen to dissuade King John from passing through the village and taxing them, madness then being thought contagious.
These numerous tales of simple-minded logic include raking the moon out of a pond, trying to drown eels and a rider carrying a corn sack on his shoulders to take the weight off his old horse. Many of the tales date from the 12th century, but it is a mystery how the hapless villagers acquired their reputation.
Explore the home of the legendary Wise Men of Gotham on this butterfly and wildflower-rich walk in the River Trent valley.
1.5 miles (2.4 km) | 1 hour | easy
Four ducal seats, collectively known as the Dukeries, run through the coalfields of Nottinghamshire south of Worksop.
This area, rich in aristocratic heritage, holds abbeys, stately homes (ruined and whole), estate park, wood and heathland, as well as lakes and meadows edged with lodge cottages of decorative chimney stacks, leaded windows and bargeboards.
Take time exploring Clumber Lake, the Greek and Roman Garden temples and the interior of the Chapel of St Mary the Virgin. It oozes Gothic atmosphere with its Charles Eamer Kempe stained-glass windows and highly ornate woodwork in the chancel, filled with finely-detailed angels and saints.