I had planned to visit the cinema yesterday to watch "The Revenant" but with bright blue skies and wintry sunshine confidently predicted, I decided to forego that pleasure. Instead, I sought somewhere I had never walked before. My alter ego whispered, "Go east young man" and soon I was driving down to Chesterfield, then east on the A617 towards Mansfield. Through Mansfield then out on the Newark road. After three or four miles I turned left down Eakring Lane.
|Old shed by Eakring Lane|
|St Bartholomew's in Kneesall|
I parked by the village church at Eakring and then set off on a very pleasant circular walk that took in three other villages - Kneesall, Kersall and Maplebeck. In between was gently undulating farmland and some stretches of the route I had planned took me across winter corn and beet fields. Then the walking became a little arduous as my purchase upon the ground was troubled by slightly icy muddiness underfoot.
|The disused telephone kiosk in Kersall|
|Signposts on Hare Hill|
To walk in unfamiliar territory is delightful. New vistas. A different history. In that part of Nottinghamshire, the field boundaries are marked by hedgerows - not ancient drystone walls and the favoured building material of bygone days was brick - not stone. There are few quarries in the region but our ancestors still managed to build their churches from stone which must have been imported with massive effort from elsewhere.
|The church in Maplebeck|
One of only five churches in England dedicated to St Radegund
Being mid-January, the bright winter sun was on its way to America by 3.45pm so a military march was required to get back to Eakring before nightfall. I had seen an undiscovered fragment of England - chosen randomly but I was not disappointed. It would have been easy to linger thereabouts for a few days - drinking and eating in the pubs, learning more about the area's history and perhaps visiting the oil well museum in the splendidly named Pudding Poke Wood!
|New footbridge east of Eakring|