Southwell Trail

southwell trail

About the trail

  • a long history dating back to 1842 and a former railway line
  • an important route for wildlife, providing a habitat corridor through the landscape
  • forms part of the Central Linear Route – a multi-user route for people to enjoy on foot, cycle and horseback
  • a number of free public car parks at Kirklington, Farnsfield and Bilsthorpe
  • dogs welcome on a lead or under close control.

The Trail supports a wide range of habitats, because it crosses two distinct geological areas. These are the Sherwood Sandstone to the north around Bilsthorpe and Farnsfield and the Mercia Mudstone further south from Kirklington towards Southwell.

The Sherwood sandstone is acidic and supports soils low in nutrients yielding relatively few species. Typical habitats on this part of the Trail include scrub and acid grassland.

The Mercia Mudstone is entirely different, being characterised by species rich meadows and woodlands. Species to look out for among these habitats include the common lizard (in the open areas around Farnsfield), various birds of prey including sparrow hawks and many butterflies, for example, the speckled wood.

Trail booklet

The trail is 7.5 miles and built on the former railway line of the Midland Railway. It stretches from Southwell to Bilsthorpe and passes the villages of Farnsfield, Kirklington and Maythorne. You can walk, cycle or horse ride along the trail and there are a number of free car parks to allow access. The Trail is most easily accessible by all at Farnsfield, elswhere barriers have been raised to assist wheelchair access.

The booklet includes:

  • four circular walks starting on the trail at Farnsfield, Kirklington, Bilsthorpe and Southwell
  • a map of the trail
  • history of the trail including railway heritage
  • wildlife that can be seen on the trail
  • information about the Friends of Southwell Trail

It is an important route for wildlife and provides a green corridor through the landscape. Species to look out for include the common lizard, various birds of prey including sparrow hawks and many butterflies. Visitors can spot the diverse bird population including yellowhammer, spotted flycatcher, goldfinch, green woodpecker, willow tit and common whitethroat. The Friends of Southwell Trail lead bird, wildflower and tree identification walks throughout the year.


Nearest Town/Village: Southwell, Edingley, Kirklington, Farnsfield & Bilsthorpe

Access points and grid References: SK 707 545 to SK 651 605
Southwell Car Park: SK706543 | NG25 0GL
Kirklington Car Park: SK 675566 | NG22 8NJ
Farnsfield Car Park: SK 643572 | NG22 8LB
Bilsthorpe Forest Link Access Point: SK649601 | NG22 8UH 

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