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Sally Outram Walks

Walk 7. Laxton. Circular Walk.

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.
 |  Sally Outram  |  Walks

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 schoolroom 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, four other crew lost their lives. 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 unique day out.

 

The Basics

Distance: 2.3/4 miles
Severity: Easy to moderate.

Directions

  1. We begin this super walk at the village Visitor Centre. Walk from the car park downhill, until you reach the road. Bear slightly right, crossing the road junction, and by the beautiful old tree in the central island, cross and continue to walk uphill, noticing the farm buildings on the right of you, and the iconic Grade II listed telephone box on the left.

     

  2. Walk along uphill; the impressive Grade 1 listed Church of St. Michael the Archangel is to your left; here you can take a moment or two to explore, look out for the old millstone in the church yard and admire the early 13th century architecture. The church yard is a haven for wildlife, flora, and fauna too.

     

  3. After exploring the church, re trace your steps, returning to the route and back onto High Street. It is at this point you have the option to cross over the road to the farm lane opposite the church gate; I would recommend this extra diversion as it takes you to the Motte and Bailey Castle site, continue along this lane for a short distance until you reach its end. The site is directly ahead, you will see the information board, a super spot to view from. Access to the site is restricted and accessible by Permissive Rights only, so gained by prior arrangement with the Farmer. After viewing the site, turn around, walking back to the village High Street. Turn right at the information board and proceed up and along the High Street. The farm buildings are just wonderful; passing School Farm, Ivy House Farm, Smithy Farm and Lilac Farm; you can almost feel the history, a real sense of days gone by. Many of the farm buildings were restored, remodelled in the 1700s, and would originally have had thatched roofs. A truly quintessential sight!

     

  4. Passing Holme View Farm on your right, continue along and bear right when you reach the fork in the road, Top Farm will be on your left, continue along the surfaced road, Town End Farm is to the right, this then becomes a track, (notice the information board). Walk along the lane for approximately 110 meters, until you see a raised earth banked path to your left. The path/track is locally known as ‘Raddle Turn,’ a place where sheep and Rams would have been penned, whilst being marked or ‘raddled.’ Continue along the track until you reach a road, cross over the road, and continue along the track, noticing the farming strips as you walk along.

     

  5. After a short walk, around 6 minutes, you will reach a path on your left. The far-reaching views are super, a perfect spot to stop and admire! Take the path to the left and continue along, there is a slight descent, passing a wooded area, down towards the road. Here you will reach a gate. Pass through the gate and onto the Road. Notice the farm buildings around.

     

  6. Turn left along the road, be mindful of farm traffic and proceed with care. Continue to walk back up through the village along the main Kneesall Road to your starting point at the Visitor Centre and the Dovecote Inn. As you make your way, notice the enclosure, or Pinfold, to the right. Once used to retain stray livestock, it is now an outside classroom area for visiting schools and groups.