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Horsley, Horsley Castle and Brackley Gate

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Horsley
4.50 Miles (7.20 Km)
Explorer 259  1:25000
Derby, Ashbourne and Cheadle
St Clement's, Horsley
DE21 5BR  (SK 3758 4449)
 
 
318 feet   (97 meters)
216 feet   (66 meters)
462 feet   (141 meters)
 
 
None
Road Side
Aug 24th 2018  Duration 2h 15m
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A relatively easy circular walk starting at the Church of St Clement in Horsley and taking in the site of Horsley Castle once a stopping off point for King John on his travels between Burton Abbey and Nottingham. Although once a substantial structure there is now little to see due to quarrying in previous centuries and what little does remain is rather overgrown. The route of walk passes through open fields, woodland and a golf course giving a variety of habitats for both flora and fauna. Near the start and end of the walk look out for Sophia, Blanche and Rosamund the three fountains of the village as well as the unique stone pillar box on the corner of French Lane.

Getting There:

Horsley is situated six miles to the north of Derby and around four miles to the south of Ripley. Horsley has a regular bus service "Amberline" which stops near to the start of this walk making this walk easily accessible from Derby, Heanor, Hucknall and Eastwood. The current times for this service are available from both Derby Bus Info and Trent Barton Buses websites. Access by road to Horsley is best from the A38 to the north of Derby. Leave the A38 at the exit for Kilburn B6179, follow the signs for Kilburn and Ripley, at the traffic lights turn right onto the A609. Follow the road past a small painted traffic island into the outskirts of Kilburn. After a short distance the A609 swings sharp left, here take the side road that appears to go straight ahead on the crown of the bend.
Church Of St Clement and St James, Horsley, Derbyshire

Church Of St Clement, Horsley

This road is quite narrow and parked cars often reduce this section to single file traffic. Follow the road into Horsley and to the Church of St Clement and St James, parking for this walk is road side only. It is also worth noting that St Clement's is a well attended church and on Sundays when services are held you may find that you need to park a little further away from the start point of this walk than at other times.
Stile beside the Church Of St Clement and St James, Horsley, Derbyshire

The Walk Starts Here!

Path across field, Horsley, Derbyshire

The First Field

Site Of Horeston now Horsley Castle, Derbyshire

Site Of Horeston (Horsley) Castle

The Walk:

From the point where you have parked you car walk towards the church of St Clement and St James, known locally as St Clement's, which is the start point of the walk. At the gates of the church yard the footpath that starts this walk is on the left between the wall of the house on the left and the church gates, this footpath is signed Coxbench. Pass through the squeeze stile between the house and the edge of the church yard then follow the path between the old boundary wall and the church yard for the past the private garden and beside a paddock to a second squeeze stile. Once through the second stile the path splits, take the route to the left diagonally across the field heading in the general direction of an electricity pylon that is visible ahead.

Once across the first field exit through a gap the hedge in the that allows farm vehicle access between fields, continue in the same general direction as the pylons to a metal farm gate with a wooden squeeze stile to the right, go through this stile and look the short distance across the next field for a wooden stile with a yellow arrow way marker. Pass through the second stile and keeping the hedge to your left walk down the field to a stone squeeze stile and down some stone steps to exit onto Coxbench Lane. Turn right and walk along the footpath to the junction, cross the junction then walk on the grass verge as there is no longer a foot path, on the opposite side of the road roughly level with the telegraph pole to the right is a footpath marker post. Take care when crossing the road as it is quite busy and also a bus route.

This next section is potentially the muddiest part of the walk, mostly due to the passage of cattle. Having safely crossed the road descend some stone steps to a wooden stile, cross the stile the via a few more steps enter a small enclosed area of paddock, turn right and follow the well worn path alongside Park Brook. After a short distance the path crosses the brook over a pipe culvert the continues in the same direction as before. The track soon leave the brook 's side and begins to climb across the hillside, continue along the uneven and often muddy cattle track as it becomes less well used and less muddy until it arrives at a wooden step stile.

Cross the stile ahead now between the trees should be a house, roughly 90º to the right should be visible the spire of St Clement's in Horsley. Walk in the general direction of the house with the A38 beyond until the fence line on the left rejoins the path at the edge of some woodland. A few yards (meters) further on there is a yellow arrow way marked stile in the fence, cross this stile into the woodland. Keeping the chain link fencing to your right follow the path up the hill into the woodland. Continue up the hill always keeping the fence to the right as the path curves right along its ascent. After a wile the path meets a sunken lane to the left, it is easy to imagine a cavalcade of noblemen passing along this lane to the castle. Do not take the lane instead continue directly ahead, almost immediately the path leaves the wire link fence and swings left, to the left in the woods is the sandstone spur on which the castle once stood, some of the keep walls remain although they are difficult to spot. To the right is a view down across farmland towards Breadsall and Derby, this view makes it easy to understand why this pace was chosen for the location of a Castle.

Stay on this path as it passes between the site of the castle and the drop to the right, in places the path gets fairly near the edge so take care if walking with children or pets. The path continues to curve left away from the edge of the sandstone spur,

Castle Of Horeston (Horsley)

The Castle of Horston was one of only a handful in Derbyshire to make the transition from wooden fortress to a fully fledged stone Castle and Keep. Due to quarrying very little remains of the Castle that once stood on this sandstone spur. Horeleston was originally built by Ralph de Buron in the 12th century and passed to King John in 1198 who had it rebuilt between the years of 1200 and 1203. King John visited this castle twice during his turbulent reign in both cases using it as an overnight stop to break his journey between Burton Abbey and Nottingham.

passing along the way a rather active wood ant nest based on a piece of fallen silver birch. These ants are quite quick and get everywhere, so pass quickly or observe from a distance. Eventually the path meets a broader farm type track, here turn right and follow the track for around a third of a mile until it meets Sandy Lane. Turn right and walk up Sandy Lane for half amile to the bungalows at Brackley Gate.
Wood Ant nest Castle Wood, Horsley, Derbyshire

Very Active Wood Ant Nest

Fiew from Castle Wood, Horsley, Derbyshire

Castle Wood

Sandy Lane is a main route between Horsley, Coxbench and Brackley Gate, as a result you will no doubt encounter traffic. There are no footpaths so be careful on this stretch, especially near the two 90º sharp bends on the approach to Brackley Gate, as the visibility is very restricted. At Brackley Gate turn left, and look for a wooden farm gate with a footpath post on the left, cross the stone step stile on the far side of the gate and walk toward the farm buildings. Look to the right for a stone squeeze stile next to a metal farm gate, go through this stile, in front of an animal shelter then forwards towards the far end of the field. Look for another squeeze stile in the stone wall with a yellow arrow way marker and pass into the next field, the next exit is next to a lone Hawthorne with a cracked cast iron bell shaped object to one side. Walk between the bell like object and the fence post then continue across the field to a gate and footbridge over a ditch on the opposite side of the field. Negotiate the gate and footbridge to enter the final field of this leg of the route, keeping to the left hand side of the field walk down the length of the field to a stock gate in the hedge, go through the gate and exit onto Smalley Mill Road.
Lone Hawthorn field exit, Brackley Gate, Derbyshire

Lone Hawthorne Exit

Smalley Mill Road is a busy road along which traffic travels quite quickly, not only is it the main link between Horsley and the A609, it is also the feeder road to Horsley Lodge Golf Club, keeping this in mind take extra care when crossing the road to the other side. Once over the road go through the metal kissing gate to the left of the driveway, then through a wooden stock-gate visible on the far side of the small paddock. Cross a second paddock to another stock-gate then over the footbridge across Park Brook to exit into a field. Walk up the the length of the filed keeping path near the right hand side of the field, at the far end of the filed pass over a two plank footbridge over a ditch into another field, after a short distance the path splits, continue forward towards the two houses visible ahead on the skyline. At the far end of the field is another stock gate, this one does not open very far due or a large post positioned to limit it's opening, once through the gate go through a second clearly visible a short distance ahead beside a five bar gate. Cross Wood Lane to the pavement on the other side, then turn left and walk away from the public house towards Horsley Woodhouse.
Walk up Wood Lane for a little under a quarter of a mile, then look for a low wooden step stile and footpath marker on the left, roughly opposite a small 40mph speed limit sign. The next section of the walk crosses fields often populated with sheep, so please keep any dogs under control. Cross the stile and follow the path across the top of the field keeping the hedgerow to the left, on the far side of the field in the corner is a metal stock gate and a well work plank ove a muddy ditch. This gate is not immediately obvious as it is shielded by overhanging branches, go through the gate then look across the next field about 45º right for a second metal gate in the hedgerow opposite. Walk across the field and through the second metal gate over a plank across another ditch then follow the obvious path ahead across the middle of a third wider field to a wooden kissing gate and a third plank footbridge. Once over the bridge follow the somewhat over grown path between the hedge (right) and a fence (left) until it reaches a wooded step stile and exits into an open field.

Turn left and keeping the hedge to the left walk to a large gap on the boundary on the other side of the field. Once at the gap enter the next field and look right down the field for a narrow gap in the hedge row. Walk down the field to this gap then over a stile and another footbridge that crosses Gypsy Brook. To the left here is Horsley Lodge Golf Club, looking at the hedge across the field to the left there is a gap in the hedge just to the right of a clump of trees, this is the next way point of the walk. This will take us along the boundary of the golf course rather than across it. Pass through the hedge and head across to a metal kissing gate visible on the far side of the next field. Now with a hedge to the left once more walk along the edge of the next field to a squeeze stile formed by two stone pillars. Squeeze through or go around this stile then long the path beside the hedge to another metal kissing gate. Carry on along the path to a point where it splits just before another metal kissing gate, take the path to the right.

Horsley Lodge Golf Club

Founded in 1988 when Bill White suggested to land owner John Salt that his land would make a good site for a golf course. In 1999 the greens were redesigned by World Champion, Peter McEvoy and it became the first USGA specification 18 hole course in The Midlands.

The Rosamund Fountain, Hosley, Derbyshire

Rosamund As Seen From The Walk
If you end up at the tee of the 15th "Bill's Revenge" 340 yards Par 4, then you are off course; backtrack through the last metal kissing gate and go left!

Walk up the paddock again with a hedge to the left to another metal kissing gate, once through there should be clearly visible ahead houses and Horsley Telephone Exchange. Follow the path across this final grassy area to a metal garden type gate and exit out into a lane between the houses. Turn left and walk a short distance up to Lady Lea Road. Once again turn left and walk past the Coach and Horses Public House into back into Horsley. Just past the Coach and Horses on the right is a small triangle of grass in the middle of a road junction. This grass triangle contains one of the three fountains donated to Horsley by the Sacheverell Sitwell in 1864, this one Rosamund is quite easily missed. Continue through the village along Church Street back towards St Clement's and the start of the walk, along the way look out for the stone pillar box and the Blanche fountain on the corner of French Lane (opposite the primary school), and the more ornate Sophia fountain on the village green as you approach the church.

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