This is a very refreshing walk, passing over undulating countryside with splendid open views. The scenery is quite mixed, which adds to the interest of the walk.
After crossing lovely Alfreton Park and the local golf course, Derbyshire Wildlife Trustís Oakerthorpe Nature Reserve, created out of a former coal mine, is entered. Shortly after leaving the Nature Reserve and ascending Davidís Hill and walking through a wood, the outskirts of South Wingfield are reached.
Sitting on a hilltop are the ruins of Wingfield Manor, built in the reign of King Henry VI, where Mary, Queen of Scots, was once a captive. It is now in the hands of English Heritage and well worth extending your walk to make a visit.
All Saints' Church at South Wingfield dates mainly from the 13th century, and is situated a surprising distance from the main part of the village. The Midland Railway Line runs nearby. The former railway station house, designed by Francis Thompson, was once described as Ďthe most perfect of all station houses.í Queen Victoria reputedly visited the station.
The final section of the walk takes you back through Alfreton Park, past St Martinís Church to Alfreton Town Centre.
Length: 5 miles.
Start/Finish: Any convenient car park in the centre of the town. Allow at least 2/3 hours for the walk.
Location: Off the A61 in the centre of Alfreton. There are several signed car parks in the centre of the town.
Terrain: Easy walking, but some muddy patches.
1. 1. From the centre of Alfreton make your way towards the A61, the road on the western side of the main shopping area. Look for the traffic lights at the corner of High Street and King Street, cross the road and walk down Church Street.
2. Pass in front of the church along a stone slab path. Leave the churchyard by a stile and turn immediately left, to walk down a farm track for about half a mile.
3. After going over a stile by a metal gate, continue straight on across a field, guided by a marker post, to cross another stile.
4. Continue in the same direction down the next field, keeping close to the hedge on your right.
5. After crossing a further stile, turn sharp left and walk down the side of the field to reach the A615.
6. Turn right along the footpath and after 50 yards cross the road and follow the signed path to the left. Keep close to the side of the field, before taking a stile on the right 25 yards from the bottom of the field.
7. Alfreton Golf Course is soon reached after you emerge from the trees, where the white marker posts are followed across the fairway.
8. On the other side of the course, the path descends through the trees and continues straight on at an intersection of tracks, to cross a stile by a cottage.
9. Cross the field in front of you, and turn right down a fenced path leading to the B6013. Go over the road (the Anchor public house is on your right) and turn left for 25 yards before taking the footpath on the right.
10. Go through Hollowbank House car Park, crossing a stile in the corner and turning left along the well-worn path as it winds its way up Davidís Hill.
11. At the top of the field, go round an electricity pylon and turn right to walk along the edge of a wood Ė after 300 yards a stile leads into the wood where a stepped path is descended.
12. Leave the wood by a stile into a field, and turn right to follow the boundary round to a stile in the bottom corner.
13. The path passes to the rear of some farm buildings and then bends to the left to the B5035, where you turn left and walk towards South Wingfield.
14. On arriving at All Saints' Church, follow the path through the churchyard. Keep to the right of the church, through a gate stile into a field.
15. Go straight across the first field; turn right up the next field to cross a railway bridge.
16. Then immediately turn left, keeping close to the railway line, to cross a field. A clearly marked path now takes you round a disused quarry and onto the A615.
17. Turn right and walk up the wide grass verge to cross a busy road junction at the top of the hill, to a stile directly in font of you.
18. Continue across fields along an obvious route angling slightly to the right, which finally reaches the right hand corner of the fourth field.
19. Cross the next two fields, keeping close to the hedge.
20. Turn right when you reach the top of the second field along a farm track for 70 yards and then take the stile on the left. From this point, you will be able to retrace your steps back to the start of the walk.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN THE LOCALITY
Midland Railway Centre, (Tel. 01773 570140) fine heritage railway offering a seven-mile trip through Amber Valley countryside. The Railway Museum containing a unique collection of restored locomotives and rolling stock: the Golden Valley Light Railway, miniature and model railways form only part of the many attractions. Telephone for details.
Wingfield Manor (Tel. 01773 832060) impressive ruins of a huge country mansion, where Mary, Queen of Scots was once imprisoned. It is now under the care of English Heritage. For further information website: www.english-heritage.org.uk
Crich Tramway Village, (Tel.0870 75 87267) a village setting of restored buildings, home to a large collection of vintage trams, exhibitions and memorabilia. Open daily in the summer. Reduced winter opening.
Anchor Inn, Oakerthorpe, (Tel. 01773 833575) is an attractive roadside inn, open for bar snacks at lunchtime and in the evening during the week and all day at the weekends. Outside seating.
Alfreton Leisure Centre Cafe, (Tel. 01773 834817) is a pleasant spacious cafe open every day from 10am to late evening. Light snacks and hot meals available all day. Licensed.
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According to legend, Alfreton takes its name from Alfred the Great, who drove the Danes from their settlements in this part of the country and repaired much of the damage done. However, there is evidence that a settlement existed here in Saxon times.
Originally, agriculture dominated the settlement. This was supplemented later by brown earthenware and stocking manufacture as the main trades. The real growth came when coal was discovered and mining commenced in earnest. Most men of working age worked were employed down the mines until the industry went into decline and the last colliery in the area closed in March 1969.
Apart from the 2,500 redundant miners in the area, the situation was made worse by the closure of the British Steel Plant, at nearby Riddings. Strenuous efforts had to be made to attract other industries to the area and helped by a good transport network the town is now thriving again.
All details on this page were correct at the time of publication, but changes may be made without notification.