This is a beautiful and interesting walk, which begins in the heart of Southwell; a small market town in Nottinghamshire, which rivals many, with its idyllic setting and its historical past, can only be described as a true cultural gem.
Centre stage has to be Southwell Minister, one of the most magnificent examples of Gothic architecture in the county, it also boasts one of the finest Norman naves in Europe. The twin ‘Pepper Pot’ towers are striking and inside there are even more hidden treasures. This delightful space is not just for quiet contemplation, it is the heart of the community, attracting visitors from far and wide.
As you stroll through the town, notice The Saracens Head Hotel, it has a long and rich history dating back to the Norman Conquest of 1066. Kings, nobility, legendary writers, and poets, including Charles Dickens, and Lord Byron frequented the inn; It is said, that King Charles spent his last night of freedom in the King Charles Suite, before surrendering himself to the Scottish Commissioners at Newark Castle the very next day.
Southwell is also home to the iconic Bramley Apple. The original tree is in a cottage garden on Church Street and is the source of the variety as we know it today. Loved all over the world, the Bramley Apple is celebrated by an annual festival which has been held at the Minster every October. Performers and musicians entertain you as you walk through the streets, it is very much a community and global event with visitors from around the world taking part in this wonderful celebration of the humble Bramley apple.
You can enjoy a walk along part of a disused railway, which is known as the Southwell Trail. The line opened in 1871, servicing goods trains until it finally closed in 1968. Since then it has become a natures paradise, for all to enjoy. Close by is The Final Whistle; the perfect quirky pit-stop! A traditional pub which serves a variety of fine ales and is famous for its pork pies! The beer garden is definitely worth a look as it replicates a 1920’s style platform, with original track from the disbanded Southwell line.
This walk just keeps giving, with interesting mill buildings, historic houses, pretty streets, and walkways, and the beautifully tranquil River Greet, is an absolute haven for wildlife, with plenty of places to stop and admire all that nature has to offer. (Look out for the exquisite flashes of blue and green of the Kingfisher, which can be seen darting and dipping along the river).
You could easily turn a day visit into an overnight stay, or even longer as there is so much to see and do in the region, and I can highly recommend the delightfully unique, Lavender Cottage, which is situated in the heart of this beautiful town. Dating back to the late 1700s the cottage offers an utterly charming courtyard location, with beautiful accommodation and within easy reach of all the main places of interest.
One of the best ways to discover and explore this pretty market town of Southwell is definitely by foot! So, put on your walking shoes and enjoy!