Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Woodborough Local Trails - WI circular walk

Enjoy an easy walk through this historic village with an opportunity to see the flora and fauna in the surrounding countryside.

Start: Woodborough Village Hall Car Park, Lingwood Lane.
OS Map ref. SK 632476 
Distance:  6.5km (4 miles)

This walk owes its origins to the Woodborough WI but has been reworked and brought up-to-date by the Woodborough Local History Group. 

There are three heritage interpretation panels in the village plus the Lapwing Trail interpretation panel (the latter which is located on the side of the Village Hall) situated in various parts of the village, they were produced and erected in 2001 by Woodborough Local History Group as a Millennium project with funds awarded by the National Lottery. 



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802. Woodborough Nature Trail (Leaflet Woodborough WI)


At the Village Hall Car Park, Lingwood Lane, Woodborough.

The trail takes 2 hours to walk, but this can be shortened by turning left at Lowdham Lane and left again picking the trail up along Main Street (see map).

From the car park, go EAST along the left hand side of the sports field, turning right along the far hedge and stream to the footbridge, noting the fine line of willows in this ancient hedgerow.

Across the bridge, turn right to the corner of the field, and then turn up the hill alongside another hedgerow full of many interesting plants, trees and wild life. From the top of the rise, there is a fine view of Ploughman’s Wood to the south-east, and to the north a panoramic view of the whole village across to Epperstone Woods.

At the junction of the paths, turn left and follow the bridleway beside the hedge which contains many fine trees – sycamore, beech and maple, and the “Johnny Roe” plum, named after a local preacher and landowner.

Continue along the path noting the low wall on the left forming a ha-ha to the modern farmhouse, built on the site of the Old Manor described in Domesday as the home in Saxon times of the Thane Aluric. The path bears left from the farm driveway over a small field to pass between two dwellings to reach Lowdham Lane.

Turn right along the lane and continue for approximately 300 yards beyond the houses on the left, noting the ditches on both sides containing a wide variety of wild flowers according to the season, and a row of mature ash and sycamore trees.

Turn left at the footpath sign down a track beside an old hedge where grow dogwood, elder and hawthorn, and a profusion of wild flowers including the rare campanula (great bellflower) and cranesbill (wild geranium).

Follow the footpath waymarked over the cultivated fields and at the stile leading over the Epperstone by-pass (A6097) look across the road to the ancient Woodborough Mill and adjacent buildings situated on the Dover Beck. Looking back south towards Lowdham Lane, the original track to the Mill can be distinguished by a line of red flowered horse chestnut trees matching the one inside the entrance to the Mill grounds.

Turn back across the field in a westerly direction towards Fox Covert, an ancient wood now thinned with a private fishing lake in the centre.

At the left hand side of the wood follow a narrow path through trees and over the stream by the footbridge. Keep left alongside the banks of the Woodborough Beck, where there are many varieties of wild flowers and wild life – water voles, mallard, etc.

Continue alongside the bank to the old Pump House next to an oak tree, and follow the track to the right beside a mixed hedge of elder, hawthorn, blackthorn and blackberry brambles.

When the road is reached, notice opposite and to the right a splendid row of stockingers’ cottages and a view to Grimesmoor Farm.

Turn left along the lane bounded by mixed hedges including holly and passing some modern houses with a bank of heathers. Beside a group of modernised stockingers’ cottages on the right, notice an old yew tree.

Walk on down Shelt Hill, formerly known as Dark Lane, passing on your left the old stocking factory building and another group of old cottages at the junction with the village main street. One of the outstanding features of the whole length of Main Street is the number and variety of fine native and ornamental trees, including ash, silver birch, copper beech, willow, hazel, yew, horse chestnut, sycamore, lime, holly and wild hops. The Woodborough Beck which still runs through the village is culverted in many places, but several glimpses may be caught along the street. In summer, the village is a favourite haunt of swifts, swallows and house martins, and all year round, thanks to an abundance of suitable trees, shrubs and the Beck, a great variety of native birds including woodpeckers. At dusk, owls and bats can be seen and heard.

Now turn right (west) along Main Street in front of another fine row of stockingers’ cottages, continuing past more old cottages and a farm house with yard and barn on the right. Further along is “The Homestead”, a well-kept old house, parts of which date back to the 16th century, possibly the oldest house in the village. “The Homestead” is believed to have been a home of the family of William Lee, the inventor of the stocking knitting machine.

Continue along Main Street and see on the left, the old pinfold, and in the farmyard of Gladstone House on the right, a listed dovecote on the top of one of the buildings. In this area there are several other old buildings including a former blacksmith’s shop.

Cross the road and take a detour round the churchyard, which boasts many varieties of wild flowers and is the habitat of mallards and other wildlife. The Beck skirts the south side of the churchyard. There are some fine yew trees in the churchyard and St Swithun’s church has features of Norman, 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries architecture in addition to the beautiful old stained glass windows.

Leave the churchyard by the west gate and cross the road into the Governors’ Field, an area of trees with the Beck on the south side where there is another habitat for wildlife and plants. The field itself is the territory of many moles. On the far side of the trees and Beck is the Old Vicarage, part of which was the original Woodborough Woods’ School, founded in 1736. It has an interesting bell tower on the western end which houses the Pancake Bell traditionally rung on Shrove Tuesday.

Return to Main Street, turning left in front of the Four Bells, passing the Manor Farm stables, listed Grade II, recently converted into dwellings. There is a fine row of mature lime trees on the left and the open Beck running alongside.

Behind the stream lie the grounds of Woodborough Hall, an Elizabethan Grade II listed building, once again the original site of one of the Saxon manors. There are many beautiful trees here, including maples, chestnuts, walnuts and hollies.

At the corner, turn left up Bank Hill, noticing the row of holly and lime trees along the edge of the former old cricket field. On the bend of the road is a group of stockingers’ cottages with traditional workshop windows on the upper storey.

At the bend, cross the road and take the footpath to the right of the farm buildings, up the hill, and over the stile observing the group of trees on the left forming Stanley Wood where there was a quarry which in the distant past supplied much of the stone for local buildings.

Continue along this path which bears left overillHi

 the hill, noticing on the way a large oak tree and more recent planting.

After the last stile turn left Lingwood Lane. The wide verges, ditches and hedgerows have a wealth of many varieties of wild flowers and plants at all times of the year, and many birds and wild animals have their habitat in this area, including skylarks, pheasants, rabbits, hares and foxes.

Follow the road back to the Village Hall, passing the second Woodborough Woods’ School built in 1878, on the right.

Woodborough to Epperstone and return (Number 3 pages 13-14)

Distance – approximately 4 miles.

Starting point – Nag’s Head Pub, Main Street, Woodborough.

Halfway point – Cross Keys Pub, Main Street, Epperstone.

Refreshments – available at either pub (both landlords welcome walkers, minus boots).

To start the walk – from the Nag’s Head pub go up Shelt Hill (notice the variety in age and style of properties along this road).

Follow the road until reaching a row of terraced cottages on the left and Hill Top Farm on the right.

Turn right along farm track to a small brick building (Severn Trent’s Woodborough water reclamation works).

Turn left over stile and follow stream to corner of Fox Covert Wood.

Follow right over stream and cross diagonally the open field.

Go over a stile to the road, by heading to the right of the large, white detached house.

Cross the busy road with care, continue right, past the Old Mill entrance to a stile.

Go over stile and head half right to follow a wooden fence (peacocks may be visible in private garden to the left).

Go over two concrete bridges to a gate.

Now go right to a brick bridge and over the stile.

Now walk half right to pass right hand corner of (former sports) field.

Continue straight on to go over stile and now head to a wooden gate with stile just to right.

Pass through and along pebbled road to tarmac lane on left.

Walk up this lane (Bland Lane) to T-junction.

Go left and across road to climb church steps. The church is worthy of a visit.

Now take path to the right side of the church and exit via a gate on to a lane.

Continue straight past the farm buildings and large pile of horseshoes on left.

At the last outbuilding go left along fence and over stile.

Head for the right hand end of the hedge in front of you and continue to a wooden gate.

Now follow driveway to the right onto road, follow right and notice bird house in high level garden opposite Meadow Cottage. Soon a flight of steps will be seen on the left.

Climb these steps and a stile and then cross the field to a footbridge over the Order Beck.

Cross the bridge and turn right to follow the Beck looking for a small brick bridge.

Go over this and through a gate into a grassy field which is the garden of the Cross Keys pub.

Continue through to the road. Note the dovecote opposite.

Now go right along the road past the former Post Office to crossroads.

Take Toad Lane on the left to the bottom.

Turn right and continue to gate and stile into field you met previously.

Now simply retrace your steps until you meet the A6097.

Turn right and carefully cross the road to the stile before, continue straight across field to stile, continue straight again to a gap in the hedge, pass alongside the adjacent outbuilding until a small dyke is crossed via boards.

Go left to road along a track, on reaching the road (Lowdham Lane) turn right to return to the start at the Nag’s Head.

Revised Lapwing Trail (Number 6 pages 19-24)

Distance – The Trail is about 6 miles long but shorter routes are possible over sections of the Trail. Look out for the Lapwing signs like the one above.

You will need approximately 2 hours to complete the full route which crosses mixed farming land and can be muddy. There are several stiles to cross.

Starting point – Woodborough

Car parking – Woodborough at the Village Hall, Lingwood Lane (off Main Street).

To start the walk – Walk down by the Village Hall and the tennis courts onto the playing fields.

STOP 1 – Look back and to your right, the brick building behind the Village Hall is the old village school. Woodborough’s first school was founded in 1736 by the Reverend Montague Wood and was housed in the Old Vicarage across the road, any village child who could learn the alphabet was taught “the three R’s”, something few children except the rich could expect at that time. The first Headmaster’s job was advertised with a salary of about £20 with a convenient house after the 1870 Education Act gave free education to all, this school was built and opened on 22nd August 1878, it cost £2025 14s 7d. The building has now been converted to a house.

Cross the playing field (avoiding the cricket square) to the footbridge opposite and lightly to the right. Cross the wooden bridge, turn right and follow the hedge. Stop after a few yards.

STOP 2 – In the hedge are several willow trees, some have been pollarded and coppiced. The difference is that the coppiced tree has been cut back nearly to its roots and has several shoots growing from ground level, whereas the pollards were cut back to heights of four to six feet and have an old trunk to that heights with new shoots above, this was an old way of providing wood for fuel and timber from single trees.

Walk to the corner of the field to junction of paths.

If you wish to return to Woodborough by the short route, turn left through gate and continue from 14th Stop.

To continue on the main trail pass into next field turning right and follow edge of field keeping hedge on your right, pass through gate and stop after a few yards.

STOP 3 – Along here you can see that much of the hedge has been cleared and new elder, oak and willow trees planted, many trees were lost from this ancient hedge line due to Dutch elm disease and the farmer is playing his part in preserving this landscape feature and wildlife habitat by replacing them. Look for the signs of many small animals in the hedge and dyke bank.

STOP 4 – Look at the shady area on the right where the stream curves. Areas like this have become left over between fields and form important havens for wildlife. They are often linked by hedgerows which the animals use as routes throughout the countryside. Go straight across the field to the gap in the hedge.

STOP 5 – This is one of the highest points (approximately 318 feet above sea level) between the two villages. They both developed along river valleys that were cleared of forest hundreds of years ago, the streams being important for water supply.

Woodborough’s name means either ‘A Fort in the Wood’ or ‘A Fort made of Wood’ and the village was probably first settled in Anglo-Saxon times. The church is dedicated to St Swithun and dates from the thirteenth century. Both Woodborough and Lambley were stocking knitting centres and some of the Luddite protests against poor pay and long hours were recorded as occurring in Lambley in the 1800’s.

Lambley’s name means ‘A Clearing in the Wood for grazing Lambs’ and both Lambley and Woodborough were recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Lambley’s church dates from AD 1111 and was partially re-built in 1454. Outside the chancel east window, it has a sculptured badge of Lord Cromwell, High Treasurer of England in 1433, who was born in the village.

Both villages have been declared conservation areas to preserve and enhance their architectural and historical qualities.

At this point, for a shorter walk, turn left and walk along the ridge path to Stop 12 and re-join the trail. To follow the main trail turn right and walk to the edge of the field, follow hedge to the left around the field bogs.

STOP 6 – On the other side of the hedge can be seen ‘The Blasted Oak’ across the other side of the road. This is the very old trunk of an oak tree; it probably dates back to the time when much of the surrounding area was part of Sherwood Forest. It appears to have been struck by lightning and is called ‘The Blasted Oak’.

At the end of the field, go over the stile near the hangar, pass in front of the house on the left and take narrow path on left through hedges, past bungalow gardens, go over stile and follow path past the rear of houses. Go over former stile.

STOP 7 – This is called ‘Milling Field’. The grassy mound in the middle of the field is called Round Hill and maybe the remains of a medieval mill. In medieval times this field would have been farmed in strips by individual villagers working by hand, which must have been hard work as the red clay (Keuper Marl) is very heavy. Traditionally Lambley and Woodborough have been market garden centres for Nottingham and there are several nurseries in the area growing fruit and vegetables.

Carry on down the field to reach a stile. At this point, if you wish to avoid passing through gardens, turn left and follow the edge of the field to the bottom. Alternatively, you can go across the stile and pass through the gardens to the bottom of the field turning left and passing by nurseries and across a paddock.

From here, in front of you can be seen Lambley Church on the other side of the road. At this point, to the right is a narrow styled pathway leading into Lambley village. The trail continues over the stile turning right to pass through gate and turning right to follow hedge at bottom of field.

If you are starting from Lambley, walk along the small footpath at the side of 10 Church Street to reach gate turning right to follow field edge keeping hedge on right. Continue along edge of field until you reach a stile on the left.

STOP 8 – Over stile to the left is a large pond; this is believed to occupy the site of a ‘Stew Pond’ dating from 1400 where the owner of Lambley Manor House kept live fish, such as trout for eating. Prior to 1974 it was a damp depression which resisted initial attempts to flood it, then a six foot trench was dug around its southern side and lined with polythene which created the pond. Subsequent mining subsidence then enlarged the pond. The pond now forms a very good place to see water birds, especially moorhen, mallard and Muscovy duck. The Manor House was demolished in 1600 and the profit from selling the building stone is said to have helped pay for building Wollaton Hall in Nottingham.

The lapwings like damp fields but their numbers have declined enormously in recent years. They gather in flocks but soon fly off when disturbed.

Return to original path and walk beside the hedge and further on beside Cocker Beck. Follow the bend around to the right and then without crossing the bridge, turn left alongside the Beck (you may see some squirrels in the trees here). On reaching the hedge, turn left and follow the edge of the field with the hedge on your right. When you reach the large gap in the hedge turn right and follow the field’s edge until you reach the house.

STOP 9 – The white house here is Bateman House and though much altered, it is believed to date from Tudor times. The roof tiles on the outbuildings are called pantiles and along with the dark red brick they are typical of old Nottinghamshire architecture.

Continue on past the house until you come to the next field boundary where you turn left up the hill keeping hedge to your right.

STOP 10 – As you walk up beside the hedge, you may notice at certain times of the year, many wild flowers growing, but please remember that it is illegal to remove them. As with all wild plants you should leave them for other to enjoy. At the top of the field you can look back and see the landscape setting of Lambley. The underlying rocks are mainly Keuper Marl, a type of clay and it contains thin layers of sandstone called skerries. The result is that the land does not drain as easily as it might and on the opposite side of Lambley the fields are noticeably small, although this is partly due to the type of farming practised in the past.

Continue up the hill until the hedge on your right is replaced by a fence with Parish boundary markers. Carry on to the corner of the field.

STOP 11 – The small Parish boundary – the approximately 12 inch high concrete posts with ‘P.C.’ - a number had a bench mark on them to show the border between Lambley and Lowdham and over to your right is what was Lowdham Borstal, which when it opened in 1930 was the first institution of its kind in the world. It has now been closed down. The trees include Sloe, Oak and Hawthorn. Larger copses than this were first planted to provide cover for game birds like pheasants as well as wood for building fences and for fuel. Now they form refuges for wildlife like the one at STOP 4.

If you started from Lambley and wish to return by a shorter route, turn left and, keeping the hedge on your right, walk along the top of the field to pick up the trail again at STOP 5.

The main trail now goes through a gap in the corner and on towards Woodborough, keep the fence on your right and walk along the edge of the field to the wood.

STOP 12 – This is Ploughman Wood, it is private and is an ancient Ash and Oak wood surviving from the days of Sherwood Forest. The wood is on the parish boundary between Woodborough and Lowdham and was left over as forest was cleared outwards from the two villages to farmland in the Middle Ages.

Walk along to the corner where there is a gate and a Scot’s pine at the edge of the wood. Go through the gate and close it.

STOP 13 – From here you can see the landscape setting of Woodborough. The underlying rocks are waterstones which drain well and the fields are noticeably larger than those around Lambley, also, there are few skerries (see STOP 10) and the hills are more rounded and the slopes more gentle.

Turn right along the wood and then left down the hill by the fence. At the bottom, turn right and go through the gate (closing it behind you) with the hedge on your left, continue for about 80 yards and stop.

STOP 14 – At the point you will reach a very old section of hedgerow containing many trees, the first one is a crab-apple and there are hawthorn, buckthorn, sloe, damson and field maple. Pace out a section of approximately 32 yards and count the number of different trees or shrubs, multiply your answer by 100 and this will give you the approximate age of the hedge.

STOP 15 – A little further along you will see over the hedge a small market garden growing vegetables for local sale. Like Lambley, it is the good farm land close to the village and the presence of the large nearby market of Nottingham which makes this type of farming viable.

Follow the path through the gates and on to the hard drive with the new bungalow on your left.

STOP 16 – The bungalow is called ‘Old Manor Farm’ but the original building has long since gone. However, the ditch and wall form a boundary that was first used in the 1700’s and is known as a ‘ha-ha’. It was designed to keep grazing animals out of the garden yet remain invisible from the house, thereby improving the view. The trees at the top of the field opposite also look as though they were planted to improve the view.

After passing the bungalow, fork left off the drive, through the gate and go straight across the field to a stile, go over the stile and pass the house to the main road, turn left and follow the road past the Nag’s Head and through the village. After passing Pinfold Close, look out for the brick pinfold enclosure on your left.

STOP 17 – This is the village ‘pinfold’ which was used to hold stray animals and was built around 1800. The village ‘pinder’ would collect strays and charge a fee from the owner when the animals were collected. The plaque tells you when it was re-built.

Continue on and turn left after St Swithun’s Church, up Lingwood Lane, past the new school and into the village hall car park on your left to the trail’s end and a well-earned rest, or continue the trail (if you started from Lambley) by reading from the beginning of this leaflet.

Cycle routes

No. 2 – The Woodborough Rounds: Taking the Rough with the Smooth.

Distance: 8 miles for the bridleway version; about a mile longer for all-road alternative.

Terrain: decidedly hilly – but rewarded by fine views. The mix on the bridleway version is about 1½ miles of B-road, which can be quite busy at times on weekdays, 4 miles of minor road and 2½ miles of bridleway. The bridleway surfaces are reasonable for most of the time but with a definite tendency to muddiness in wet weather. They would be best tackled on a mountain bike or by experienced riders on touring bikes – definitely not for smooth, narrow racing tyres. Despite the short distance, we wouldn’t recommend the bridleway route for absolute beginners. However, we checked it when it was frozen hard and it was fine.

Refreshment opportunities – Brookfields Garden Centre, Mapperley Plains.

Start – At the western end of Woodborough (GR 624 478). You could also start from Lambley or Dorket Head.

These two short circuits – one an all-weather version, the other with some fine weather off-road sections, have one main attraction; the views across the tumbling hills just to the north-east of the city. The intricate interlocking of the spurs of the hills and the changing light and colour make this a pleasant diversion well worth a visit at any season. This is by no means the highest part of the county but four of Nottinghamshire’s very few steeper than one in seven gradients are on these roads, marked on the OS map by a black arrow. The on-road version of the route touches the large ex-mining village of Calverton, whose pit has long ceased to be active. However, industry has been even longer; at the foot of Bonner Hill is a row of restored frame knitters’ cottages, with their characteristic long windows to let in the light the workers needed in those pre-electricity days.

The rough – or fair-weather-version: Leave Woodborough towards Calverton on Foxwood Lane, signed Calverton. This climbs away from the village and at the crest of the hill, just after Foxwood Lodge and just before the road drops steeply into Calverton, turn left onto a public bridleway signed to George’s Hill and Arnold. Follow this rather variably-surfaced bridleway for about 1½ miles until you reach a tarred road at a bend in the road. Turn left on the road from the bridleway to climb gently to a crossroads junction with the B684 at Dorket Head; turn left on the B684, signed Mapperley 3. Continue for about 1½ miles, ignoring the first turning on the left to Woodborough, but taking the second, Catfoot Lane, just after the Traveller’s Rest, signed Lambley. (About 200 yards further along the B684 is a tea shop at Brookfields Garden Centre on Mapperley Plains. Follow Catfoot Lane for about 2 miles gently downhill through a pleasant valley, becoming steeper at the end into Lambley. At the ‘T’ junction by “The Lambley” in Lambley, turn left, signed Lowdham. After about 500 yards, just after going by the old Lambley Post Office on the right, take the first turning left, Church Street, signed Woodborough. About 300 yards farther on, the road bears round to the right and begins to go steeply uphill, becoming Green Lane. After about three quarters of a mile, the road becomes Lingwood Lane and bears round to the right to go steeply downhill into Woodborough. Do not go down the hill but continue straight ahead on a wide unsurfaced track, a bridleway with a weathered and unreadable finger post. After about 100 yards go round a metal gate, then after about three quarters of a mile, just after the hedge on the right of the track stops, and just before a seemingly rather purposeless five-barred gate into an open field, also on the right, there is a sign on the left reading ‘Private Road ahead: turn right for the bridleway’. The bridleway runs between hedges and is signed with a blue bridleway arrow. After about 450 yards it emerges onto a tarred road. This is Bank Hill (not signed at this point): turn right downhill into Woodborough.

The smooth all-road version: Leave Woodborough westwards towards Calverton on Foxwood Lane, signed Calverton. This climbs away from the village and then drops steeply down Bonner Hill to its ‘T’ junction with Bonner Lane, Calverton. Turn left along Bonner Lane which becomes Main Street and after about three quarters of a mile, opposite Martin’s Garage, turn left into George’s Lane signed Arnold 3, to go up George’s Hill. This is quite a tough climb for the first part but with the reward of fine views at the top to the left. The upper part of the climb is more gentle and brings you to a crossroads junction with the B684 at Dorket Head; turn left on the B684, signed Mapperley 3. Continue for about 1½ miles, ignoring the first turning on the left to Woodborough, but taking the second, Catfoot Lane, just after the Traveller’s Rest, signed Lambley. (About 200 yards further along the B684 is a tea shop at Brookfields Garden Centre on Mapperley Plains). Follow Catfoot Lane for about 2 miles gently downhill through a pleasant valley, becoming steeper at the end into Lambley. At the ‘T’ junction by “The Lambley” in Lambley, [currently closed 2014] turn left, signed Lowdham. After about 500 yards, just after passing the old Lambley Post Office on the right, take the first turning on the left, Church Street, signed Woodborough. About 300 yards farther on the road bears round to the right and begins to go steeply uphill, becoming Green Lane. After about three quarters of a mile, the road becomes Lingwood Lane and bears round to the right to go steeply downhill into Woodborough. Turn left by the church on Main Street to complete the circuit.

Ordnance Survey map: Landranger Sheet 129, Nottingham and Loughborough.


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