DESCRIPTION - LAXTON CIRCULAR
The picturesque conservation village of Laxton, in North Nottinghamshire is bursting with history, and is uniquely known for having the last remaining medieval open field system in England, which is still in use to this day. This beautiful village has a labyrinth of paths, alleyways, and tracks, which take you deep into the heart of this fascinating example of living history.
The ‘Open Field System’ was agriculturally widespread during the Middle Ages, where each village had two or three large fields, which were divided into narrow strips. Each strip of land was nurtured and tenanted by individuals or farming families. Today, Laxton has three open fields remaining, South Field, Mill Field and West Field, which can be seen as you walk through, and around the village. Clusters of barns and farms nestle along the streets, each displaying the name of the farmstead.
You cannot help but notice the church; its stature dominates, quite magnificent, and is a fine example of Romanesque architecture, with the oldest parts of the church dating back to around 1190. Seeing many changes over the centuries, it was once renowned as being one of the largest and most superb churches in Nottinghamshire, and even served as a school room towards the end of the 1800s. The graveyard is a haven for wildlife, especially during the summer months, you can see it bursting into life! Look out for the old Millstone and the remains of a medieval stepped cross, and the War Memorial to the North of the church, in commemoration to the men who served in the Great War 1914-1919. There is a further memorial in the Church dedicated to the second World War.
Across from the church, you can follow the track to the location of Nottinghamshire’s finest example of a Medieval Motte and Bailey earthworks. Thought to have been constructed around the time of the Norman Invasion; its castle mound and ditches are clearly visible. Nobility and Royals would have most likely stayed at the castle, as the guardians of the Royal Forests of Nottinghamshire, managed and maintained the forest laws of Sherwood Forest from Laxton Castle. Access to this site is restricted but can be viewed from the gate.
If you take a short walk out of Laxton Village, along Moorhouse Road, towards Moorhouse and Ossington, you will find a memorial stone on the right-hand side of the road, which overlooks the site of which a Wellington Bomber LP84 of 82 O.T.U (Royal Canadian Air Force) crashed, shortly after take-off from RAF Ossington on the 5th of January 1945. The aircraft hit an electric pole and plummeted into the South Field at Laxton, breaking off the tail section and bursting into flames. The rear gunner managed to escape, but tragically 4 other crew lost their life. The names of all crew can be seen on a further monument in the village church.
This treasure of a village is most definitely worth a visit and exploring the area by foot is the best way to experience all it has to offer. With a super pub and visitor centre, it makes for a totally unique day out.
The ‘Pinfold’ was a feature in most medieval villages and was used to hold stray or lost livestock until they were claimed. Any animals left unclaimed were sold at the markets and the money raised was used for the upkeep of the animal shelter.
Distance: 2 ¾ Miles (4.4K=km)
Severity: Easy to moderate
Gradient: Mostly flat, some slight ascent and descent
Approx time: 1 ½ hours (Allow extra for stops and exploring)
Stiles: None- Gates
Maps: OS Explorer 271 – Newark on Trent, Retford and Saxilby
Path info: Paths/pavement, tracks, lanes, field edge tracks
Start Point: Dovecote Inn/Laxton visitor centre NG22 0SX
Dog friendly: Yes, on lead.
Public toilets: Dovecote Inn- support the local and enjoy a tasty pint whilst you are there!
Refreshments: Dovecote Inn - super menu (home cooked) great selection of drinks. NG22 0SX
LAXTON CIRCULAR DIRECTIONS
Thorpe Salvin is a pretty village which lies between Worksop and Harthill in South Yorkshire. The village is steeped in history and takes its name from Knight Ralph Salvin, who owned the village in 1284. Earlier mentions of the settlement in the Domesday book were referred to as Rynkenild Thorp, and remains of a Roman road were found to the West of the village, which is now known as Packman Lane, and by 1339 the village was known as Thorp Salvain.
The village boasts the spectacular ruins of Thorpe Hall, which was constructed in 1570 by the English architect Robert Smythson, who designed many notable houses during the Elizabethan era, including Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, Doddington Hall, in Lincolnshire and Worksop Manor Lodge in North Nottinghamshire. He was also instrumental in the design and surveying of Wollaton Hall in Nottingham. Built on the site of an earlier Manor, the hall was said to be the inspiration for ‘Torquilstone’ castle from Sir Walter Scott’s romantic historical novel ‘Ivanhoe’. Over the years the house fell into decline and was partially demolished in the 1820s, leaving the remains as we see them to this day. The hall is privately owned and can be clearly seen from the village, the church, and for miles around. It is a real treat!
St. Peters Church is such an Interesting little building which dates back to 1130. The wonderful Tudor porch shields the stunning ancient doorway, which is adorned with intricate stonework ‘tympanum’, the semi-circular decoration above the door. Inside there is magnificent Norman font with incredible carving in the stonework representing the seasons, extraordinary craftsmanship, beyond the usual stone masonry found on other fronts. There is also a chained bible which dates back to 1621, and for some reason is known as ‘Bills Bible’. Look out for the medieval windows on the north wall, as they originally came from Worksop Priory, after the dissolution of the priory in 1539. The windows were restored in around 1840. The church yard is a haven for wildlife, and many of the stones bear unusual carvings with mysterious sculpted faces. There is a great view of the ruined hall from here too!
This walk is blessed with wonderful viewpoints, including the tranquil beauty of the Chesterfield canal as it meanders through the charming countryside, which is guaranteed to offer the chance of some peaceful contemplation. Waterways are a great place to unwind and get back to nature, and are bursting with wildlife, flora, and fauna. This stretch has an impressive number of locks too; Top Treble Lock is a staircase of three locks, if you are lucky you may get to see this incredible piece of engineering in action! It really is a lovely spot and would be a great location for a picnic.
Bordering Thorpe Salvin is Netherthorpe airfield, which is now operated by Sheffield Aero Club. The airfield began by offering facilities for private pilots in the 1930s, using their own aircraft. In 1940 the RAF arrived on the site and many secret missions were carried out from this base during the second world war. The flying club today offers a variety of airborne experiences, from pilot training to acrobatics and has a bar and restaurant on site, which is open to the general public.
The perfect end to this great little walk is a visit to the local village pub, The Parish Oven. It has a wonderful outdoor area for those warm summer days, it is family friendly and accept well behaved dogs too!
DID YOU KNOW?
Thorpe Salvin is also famous for its garden trails and for previously winning Britain in Bloom, so before you leave it is worth having a walk around this wonderful village to admire the stunning displays and blooms.
Distance: 3.2 miles
Gradient: Mostly flat
Approximate time to walk: 2 hours at a leisurely pace
Maps: OS Explorer 279 Doncaster
Path description: Towpath, tracks, woodland, footpath
Start Point: Parish Oven pub
Refreshments: Parish Oven pub
Walk back up the steps and retrace your route back to the pub.