Cotgrave Canal and Country Park
|Surface and gradients||mixed surface and no steep gradients|
|On bus routes||yes - plan a journey|
|Starting points||Corner of Church Lane, Cotgrave, outside All Saints Parish Church.|
|OS map number||260|
The roofed gateway into the graveyard on the corner of Scrimshaw Lane to the south east. Also a few yards up on the right of Scrimshaw Lane is an ancient wall that has scores of holes. These are the entrances into a hive of stingless bees. If they are flying around they will not hurt so don't dive out of the way into oncoming traffic!
- Walk down Church Lane to the footpath sign for Tollerton. Follow its direction right, through the hedge into a field and turn immediately left. Follow the path through a ancient strip- farmed field until it reaches the leafy alley. Turn right and follow this to the end, where it cutes through the hedge into a field. A path heads slightly left across the field corner, follow this.
- Go through the gap in the hedge and turn right onto a quiet, pot holed, lane with sewerage works on right.
- Follow this until to reach the (equestrian) farm. Pass through the gate keeping to the waymarked path along the side of a large field - keeping the hedge on your left. Continue on this line through to a lane with a field on the right (being fenced off as small holding with goats, geese, horses and rare breed fowl).
- Cross the tarmaced farm lane into next field again keeping hedge on left. Nice views of Cotgrave behind. Go through gap in the hedge and head almost directly ahead across the field. Thank whoever has clearly marked this path! To the left is Tollerton Airfield from where budding pilots learn how to annoy local residents by failing to fly above 1000 feet.
- At the other side of the field go through the gap in the hedge out onto the Nottingham Grantham canal towpath. (Turning left here would give you a one and a half mile walk to Morrisons at Gamston where you could get refreshments after negotiating four lanes of the busy A52).
- Turn right and through barrier along tow path. The canal has been partially restored and its ample reed beds harbour copious water fowl from ducks to swans. Plenty to keep the foxes happy! Follow the tow path past the Lock Keepers' Cottage, the lock being without gates now. Here you can cross and follow the other side if you wish.
- Continue past further disused lock to the busy Cotgrave/Radcliffe road. The missing bridge here and in several other places along the canal is why the canal is unlikely to be used again.
- Cross the road with care and continue along the towpath. As the canal turns gently to the right you can see the rail embankment on the other side joining from the left. You are entering Cotgrave Country Park. At the fully restored lock 6 cross over the bridge and follow the gravel path. If one of the lock gates has been opened by thoughtless people take a few seconds to gently shut it.
- At the lake turn right. (At this point you could elect to follow the left path all the way round the lake but be aware the other side is usually very boggy.) Follow the path with deep ditch and gallop to right. We imagine the close proximity of wooded rail embankment now on your right would be quite spooky for many horses. Go straight on at end of gallop. As the gravel path dog legs note the rails crossing to their destination of Cotgrave Pit. The pit, opened in the early 60's and closed in 1994, and was responsible for increasing the population of Cotgrave tenfold in that period! Now all remains of the pithead is the fenced off working you see to the left.
- At the staggered junction turn right, away from the pithead, and across the canal again. Another restored lock can be seen to the right. Continue 50 yards and turn left over ditch towards tall, rook nested trees. As you enter the trees the path turns right slightly up hill back towards Cotgrave. Follow this until you reach the houses, turn left and then right down the jitty and through a kissing gate.
- You're now on residential streets so follow the pavement to the end of the road, turn left, head past the garage and cross at the pedestrian island, back to your start point at Church Lane.