This route takes advantage of stretches of the Grantham Canal, opened in 1797, and the banks of the River Trent for the perfect winter escape from the city of Nottingham.
From the car park, head south to the Grantham Canal, cross the road and follow the towpath for about a mile. Then go left on to a track and, at the lane, continue ahead through Bassingfield, then turn right at a footpath sign. Keep beside the hedge, then go through it over a stile, half-right across the corner of a paddock and out over another stile.
Go left, then cross the A52 to a pavement. Go right and soon left at a footpath sign, on to a concrete track. At a waymark post, bear right and follow the path with the stream on your right. Eventually the path bears left, between two lakes, and where it goes sharp left continue ahead through a hedge gap on to a lane and go right.
1. TWO AND A HALF MILES
Soon bear left over a cattle grid into Holme Pierrepont’s parkland to visit St Edmund’s church. The exterior is mostly 1666, with a medieval tower and spire. The hall’s 16th-century range has been restored, but the other ranges of this former major country house await renovation.
Back at the lane, continue west for a little over a mile, passing various entrances to the National Water Sports Centre and the Skylarks Nature Reserve. Then go sharp right on to a lane, signed for the rugby club.
2. FOUR MILES
At a bend, you get a fine view along the famous mile-long rowing course, before the lane bears left to a car park. Cross this to the bank of the River Trent, then go left along its bank for 2 miles, with the skyline of the city and Sneinton windmill coming into view.
3. SIX AND A HALF MILES
Shortly after passing beneath the blue girdered Lady Bay Bridge (1870), a footbridge crosses the Grantham Canal where it meets the River Trent. Pass Nottingham Forest FC, the City Ground, and continue beneath Trent Bridge, with its fine 1871 cast-iron spans and ornate stone piers.
Continue along the riverbank past County Hall and the triumphal arched War Memorial on the opposite bank. Go left at the 1906 suspension bridge (closed for repair in 2009) to walk through West Bridgford, the built-up stretch of the route. At the main road, cross to Patrick Road and, at its end, go right into Epperstone Road, then left on to a footpath and into the churchyard of St Giles, West Bridgford.
4. SEVEN AND A HALF MILES
St Giles is partly medieval but but was enlarged around 1900, in its former style. Leave the churchyard via the gate with a lantern over it. Go left and left again at the T-junction.
At the main road, cross into Bridgford Park, formerly the grounds of 1770s Bridgford Hall. Leave through the east gate and continue ahead along Mabel Grove. Cross the main road to rejoin the Grantham Canal and go right along the pavement, soon going left on to the towpath. Follow this, leaving it briefly to cross the A6011, rejoining it under Gamston Bridge (number 4a). The path passes under the A52 to the end of the walk.
The route follows 2½ miles of the Grantham Canal towpath and the same distance along the south bank of the River Trent, as well as some inland footpaths (two stiles), quiet lanes and an urban stretch through the Victorian suburbs of West Bridgford.
HOW TO GET THERE
By car: Turn off the A52 Gamston eastern bypass (Gamston Lings Bar Road) on to Tollerton Road and the car park is round the bend on the right, before the canal bridge.
By public transport: From the city you can join the route at Trent Bridge. The Fosseway Flier bus (90, 90a) stops on the route north of Bassingfield on the A52, while there are many buses through the centre of West Bridgford.
None actually on the route, but if you exit at Trent Bridge there are plenty near the cricket ground.
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 260.
Grid ref: SK 608 367
The Nottingham Tourist Guide gives information on the city and its surroundings, including Holme Pierrepont and a link to the Great Central Railway website.
Tourist Information Centre
County Hall, West Bridgford NG2 7QP
☎ 0115 977 3558