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Ten of our favourite places to go in Nottinghamshire

Fancy a stroll in the beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside?

There are plenty of places to appreciate the great outdoors in Nottinghamshire. Places where you can be tranquil, appreciate history, see wildlife and wonder at landscapes. We’ve got ten lined up to start with, but keep checking our website as we’ll continue to add more!

1. Attenborough Nature Reserve

Attenborough Nature Reserve | Photo: A J, via Flickr. CC-BY-NC-2.0.

Attenborough Nature Reserve at Attenborough located 4.3 mi (7 km) southwest of Nottingham city centre is owned and managed by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, following the completion of purchase from Cemex UK in December 2020. The site was used as gravel pits between 1929 and 1967 and was latterly still owned by CEMEX. There are large lakes formed by the flooded pits, plus drier areas of scrub and grassland. There are also areas of native willow and woodland.

Find out more by visiting the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website here.

2. Creswell Crags

Creswell Crags | Photo: Respect AKP, via Flickr. CC-BY-NC-2.0.

Creswell Crags is an enclosed limestone gorge on the border between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, near the villages of Creswell and Whitwell. The cliffs in the ravine contain several caves that were occupied during the last ice age, between around 43,000 and 10,000 years ago. Its caves contain the northernmost cave art in Europe.

The site is open to the public and has a visitor centre with a small museum of objects associated with the caves, including a stuffed cave hyena.

As a result of its unique features, Creswell Crags has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It has also been put forward as a potential World Heritage Site.

Find out more about this gorge here.

3. East Markham

Path to East Markham

The picturesque village of East Markham is located near Tuxford and Retford. A strange characteristic here is that the Parish Church of St John the Baptist is on the southern edge of East Markham and not surrounded by it. The explanation for this is that the entire village was shifted during medieval times because of plague. As the village is nestled in a conservation area, East Markham has some of Nottinghamshire’s most pleasing countryside, a patchwork of orchards, vegetable and cereal farms crossed by remote country lanes, footpaths, and bridleways.

Find out more about East Markham here and here.

4. Idle Valley Nature Reserve

River Idle

The Idle Valley Nature Reserve is a wetland Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) situated north-west of Retford. The nature reserve is situated along the western bank of the River Idle and east of the villages of Sutton cum Lound and Lound. The site contains a rich number of breeding wetland birds and a nationally important population of wintering gadwall.

Find out more about the reserve on the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust website here.

5. Laxton

Laxton Fields

Laxton has a three-field farming system which survived the Enclosures Act of 1845 and can still be seen today, although on a smaller scale than at its height. The Laxton Estate is owned by the Crown Estate and the agricultural land and associated farmhouses are leased to 14 tenant farmers. There are also 4 smallholdings in the village with strips associated.

The boundaries of the strips and roadways and the common land in the fields is maintained through the ancient manorial court, known as the Court Leet. The village visitor and heritage centre can be found in the grounds of the village pub, The Dovecote. It has displays showing the history of the open fields system, aerial shots of the village, a description of how the system is operated and suggestions as to why it still exists in Laxton.

The village has the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle (Laxton Castle) and is also the site of the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre.

Find out more about this curious landscape here.

6. Naturescape Wildflower Farm, Langar

Naturescape Wildflower Farm | Photo: Jennifer Jones via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

This is a commercial venture engaged in producing wildflower seeds, plants, native trees, and shrubs. Free admission to the 40-acre site and a visitor centre also makes it a tourist attraction.

Find out more about the wildflower farm here.

7. Newstead Abbey

Newstead Abbey | Photo: Leach84, via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

From Romantic poet Lord Byron through Medieval, Victorian and Gothic Revival, Newstead Abbey is a treasure trove of the rare, beautiful, and historically significant. Boasting 300 acres of parkland, explore the gardens, lake, and beautiful estate.

Find out more about Newstead Abbey here.

8. Nottingham Arboretum

Nottingham Arboretum | Photo: Karen Dore, via Flickr. CC-BY-NC-2.0.

Opened around 170 years ago, the beautiful Arboretum is Nottingham’s oldest park and easily accessible from the city centre on foot or by tram. Botanist Samuel Curtis designed it originally and it has seen little change since then, so is an excellent example of Victorian landscaping. There are over 800 trees in the park and many species of flowering plants that ensure the park always has a fine display. It also has an interesting collection of buildings.

You can find out more about this beautiful space in the centre of Nottingham here.

9. Rufford Abbey

Rufford Abbey | Photo: Kevin T, via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Rufford Abbey is a country estate in Rufford, 2 miles (4 km) south of Ollerton. Originally a Cistercian abbey, it was converted to a country house in the 16th century after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Part of the house was demolished in the 20th century, but the remains, standing in 150 acres of park and woodland, are open to the public as Rufford Country Park. Part of the park is a Local Nature Reserve

Find out more about Rufford Abbey here.

10. Sherwood Forest

Sherwood Forest | Photo: John Sargent, via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Sherwood Forest is a royal forest in Nottinghamshire, England, famous by its historic association with the legend of Robin Hood. Today, Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve encompasses 423.2 hectares, surrounding the village of Edwinstowe, the site of Thoresby Hall. It is a remnant of an older, much larger, royal hunting forest, which derived its name from its status as the shire wood of Nottinghamshire, which extended into several neighbouring counties

Find out more about Sherwood Forest here.

Rufford Abbey Photo: Kevin T, via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0