18 June 2013

Getting lost in and around Barnby Moor

Spending months away from home is part of the life of the Consultant for Hire and since March I have been spending a lot of time at two coal-fired power stations on the Trent in Nottinghamshire.

That means spending two to four nights a week in a hotel and with not many to choose from I find myself encamped in Ye Olde Bell in Barnby Moor, jut outside of Retford.

The hotel is charming and to a high standard, it caters for the events market, e.g. weddings, as much as it does us corporate regulars.

The big down-side is the location. Barnby Moor is just a hamlet and there is nothing there apart from Ye Olde Bell. There is another pub but that looks a mess from outside so I have not been tempted in.

I have managed to get out for a few early evening walks, rain permitting, and these have all have a familiar theme. West Barnby is bounded by the A1 on one side and the main East Coast railway line on the other. This severely restricts the walking options, but I have managed to find some.

On my usual route the railway line has to be crossed twice and there are not many places to do this. I was hoping for a footbridge, or even a foot level-crossing, but I have to settle for the two traffic crossings that are a couple of miles apart.

Once off the roads and away from the railway I am plunged in to rural walks like this.

And this is exactly what I am looking for in a rural walk. The path is well defined so there is little risk of being stuck in the corner of a field looking for a way out (it happens), there is no physical construction in sight and no people either.

One route takes me in to the Daneshill Lakes built from old gravel pits.

Here I have got lost but only because you cannot head in your preferred direction when there is a lake in the way.

The views can be quite spectacular and I do not mind walking around in circles to see them.

The lakes are good but the fields are better. Which is just as well as I spend most of my time in fields following the yellow arrows and wondering if some of the other unmarked paths might be other ways back.

Not that long ago these fields were bare and ugly, now a touch of Spring and a hint of Summer have teased the crops in to healthy colourful growth.

The reward is obvious. The solitude and the absence of buildings are still there only now they are complimented by the beauty of flowing grasses and bright red poppies.

I always walk late in the day, the target return time is usually 7;30 and I usually miss it, so the shadows are another important part of the experience. I like contrasts and the natural world is full of them.

Perhaps I should be a little bit more honest and explain that these walks start with a 2km yomp up the Great North Road which is busy, straight, boring and has a "pavement" that is so overgrown in places that I prefer to walk on the road towards the speeding traffic.

Barnby Moor may not be the best place to be stationed for a few months but it is not without its merits and I intend to do more walking there to see if I can find some more.

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