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Sally Outram Walks

Daneshill Lakes & The Millennium Path Way

This charming short walk is perfect in all seasons and encapsulates nature at its best. By travel writer and photojournalist Sally Outram.
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Once a gravel pit, Daneshill Lakes was reformed into this wonderful nature reserve in the 1980s and is managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

The reserve is habitat to an abundance of birdlife; swans, Canada geese and coots are a regular sight. The summer months bring the whitethroat and willow warbler and during the winter you might be lucky enough to see a goldcrest or a siskin. The habitat supports a host of other wildlife, dragonflies, damselflies, and an impressive variety of butterflies which include the gatekeeper, meadow brown and common blue. Look out for toads and newts too in the wetland areas.

The wildflowers are many, and during the spring and summer months gives a splash of colour with dainty violets evoking a sense of nostalgia and providing a source of nectar for those early bees and other insects.

Autumn months see an array or fungi, there are some fabulous examples of the bright red fly agaric, extremely poisonous but wonderful to encounter.

The lakes have a variety of uses; birdwatching all year round for the enthusiast, fishing and the local sailing club meet on a regular basis. The summer months are busy with walkers and the lakeside is the perfect spot for a picnic. As the paths and tracks are mostly surfaced, walking all year round is possible and ideal for wheelchair users and pushchairs if you stick to the main lakeside path.

Daneshill also partly stands on the site of the former Ranskill Royal Ordnance Factory. It was built to manufacture cordite; a low explosive which was used in rifle cartridges in World War I, and tank guns, artillery, and naval guns during World War II. Production of the cordite at the factory stopped in 1945 but the site continued for another 30 years. In 1975 the site was broken up, demolished, and now landscaped with very few buildings remaining. You can see the site from the main lakeside path, it is marked by an information board.

Across from the main car park, you can follow the pretty woodland tracks along the Millennium Path Way. The circular trail is easy to follow and a delightful way to immerse yourself in nature, surrounded by the serene beauty of trees, birdsong, and dappled sunlight on a summer day. It is a favourite with dog walkers and perfect for those moments of quiet contemplation.

The neighbouring village of Lound is also worth a visit, you can either drive, or if you are feeling energetic, walk the extra mile or so. It is such a pretty village, with an unusual layout. The dwellings run endways on to the street on either side of the main street, Town Street. These houses are the oldest in the village and are known as ‘Tofts’ or homesteads, owing to the village’s Danish origins. The earliest documented mention of Lound and the surrounding area was in 986!

On the east side of the village lies the Wetland Wildfowl Reserve, which is immensely popular with birdwatchers and walkers alike. The area extends to other reserves which are also managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.

The area certainly has so much to offer and makes for a wonderful family fun day out.

So, lace-up your walking shoes, follow the waymarkers, and absorb the beauty of the North Nottinghamshire countryside.

Happy ramblings!

 

The basics

Distance: 4 miles/6.4km.
Severity: Easy.
Gradient: Flat/no steep gradients.
Approx time: 2 hours – allow extra time for exploring or a picnic!
Stiles/Gates: None.
Maps: OS Explorer 279.
Path: Surfaced paths and grass tracks.
Start Point: Daneshill Lake car park off the A638 – clearly signposted.
Parking: Daneshill Lake car park.
Dog friendly: Yes; on the lead as there are wildfowl on and around the lakeside.
Public toilets: None at the lakes, but there are public houses in nearby villages of Ranskill and Lound.

Directions

  1. Start at the main car park, walk through the green metal main entrance gate and along on the wide gravel track until you reach the end where the path splits.
    Veer to the right and onto the lakeside path, you will see the sailing club hut to your right alongside the lake.
  2. Continue along the path, you will pass a small wooden jetty to your left. A perfect spot for some wonderful views over the lake. Walk along for approximately ¼ of a mile until you reach the railway.
  3. You will see a large sign ‘Edinburgh 250 miles’, by the edge of the railway. You can either continue along the lakeside path or walk straight towards the railway and take the left-hand path which runs next to the railway.
  4. Walk for about 300 meters and re-join the lakeside path if you have taken the second option. You will see a smaller lake to your right, and the area around is quite marshy.
  5. Continue along the lakeside path until you reach the fence at the bottom, you will see open fields. Here, bear left and continue for about 250 metres. You will see a narrow grass track leading into the woods to the right. Follow the track through the trees, you will see a small pond, continue along until you reach the end and turn right, then right again after a short distance, back to the car park.
  6. Walk along the small, signposted path which goes through the trees, which can be found to the left-hand side of the main entrance, then cross over the main road, taking care as the road can get busy during busy periods.
  7. You will see a waymarked gate on the opposite side, go through the gate then turn left on to a wide tree lined forest lane which is signposted 'Easy Access'. Do NOT use the path to the right.
  8. Walk along the lane bearing left until you arrive at a small wooden bridge. Cross over the bridge, turn right and continue to walk along until to reach a sign at a pond. Continue to follow the clear path and keep the stream to your right. Continue back up along the main path which takes you around the whole Nature Reserve.
  9. After approximately 1 mile you will return to the wooden bridge. Turn right here, cross over the bridge, following the track to the main road ahead. Cross over the road and return to the car park.