Enjoy a pleasant rural stretch of Nottinghamshire's premier river.
Distance 5.5 miles (8.8km)
Minimum time 3hrs
Ascent/gradient 722ft (220m)
Level of difficulty Medium
Paths Field tracks and riverside meadow, may be flooded after heavy rain, 10 stiles
Landscape Wide river plain backed by steep banks
Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 260 Nottingham
Start/finish SK 691431
Dog friendliness On lead near livestock, fine elsewhere (note 10 stiles)
Parking Kerbside in centre of East Bridgford (Main Street or Kneeton Road)
Public toilets None on route (except for pub customers)
1 From the centre of East Bridgford, by the crossroads below the church, walk along Kneeton Road out of the village past the Reindeer Inn. Just past Lammas Farm, with the stump of an old brick windmill (built in 1841) ahead, turn left on to a wide, semi-surfaced lane indicated 'public bridleway'. Ignore a footpath turning on the right and continue down this track, bending right in ¼ mile (400m) where an open gate and track invites you to go straight on.
2 Beyond Old Hill, with its communications mast, the track becomes a narrowing path and drops downhill. Before it bends sharply left, towards the bottom, go across a stile on your right for a clearly indicated path steeply uphill by a line of hawthorn trees. At the far side of the field continue along the level edge of another, then at a junction of routes by a high cross-hedge turn left on to a footpath signposted 'Kneeton'. Go along the edge of successive fields, switching to the adjacent (left) field approaching the village and, via the metal gate at the end, for a lane to reach the simple but beautiful Church of St Helen.
3 Turn left beyond the church (you'll notice that the churchyard is in fact almost circular) for a shady, sunken lane that drops down to the floodplain. Go over the stile at the bottom and out across Trent Meadows with the wide river to your right. There is a vaguely discernible track across the grass, but just aim for the stile and gate in the middle of the cross-fence almost ½ mile (800m) ahead, then go through the second wide field, keeping to the left of a line of trees. Where the pasture ends, at the very far side, go over a stile ahead (not the one uphill to the left) and turn right for a narrow, thistly path around the bottom of a small, fenced-off plantation. The river flows languidly past to your right.
In only 100yds (91m) you climb a low bank and, when you reach the far end of the plantation, known as Watson's Piece, go over the stile on the left (by a 'conservation walks' waymark and map) into the enclosure and up a steep track among the young trees and shrubs. At the top it swings right and finally emerges in the corner of an open field.
4 Turn right and walk along the bottom of a succession of large fields for over a mile (1.6km), keeping parallel with the river now some way below on your right. You have to follow the field-edge away from the river to skirt several large wooded gullies (like walking a coast path and having to veer inland around coves and inlets). The first and third require you to descend and then climb some steps among the trees, and the second needs quite a diversion away from the Trent and back (here ignore the inviting stile down to the river). All the time stick to the side of the field and follow the waymarking arrows.
5 About ¼ mile (400m) beyond the second series of steps a public footpath is indicated to the right. This drops sharply down steps through the trees to the river bank, where you can turn left to follow a public footpath beside the water along to the weir.
6 Alternatively continue along the field edge to the far end, then go through a gate, around a paddock, and down the driveway of a small mobile-home park. To inspect the river at first hand - you will have heard and glimpsed its mighty weir thundering away for some time - turn right at the bottom for the short track past the marina. This is where the bankside path comes out.
7 Cross over the road near the marina and mobile-home entrance and go left, through a kissing gate (not the public footpath straight on). A notice board explains about the motte and bailey castle located near by. Follow this obvious and easy route up alongside the road
The early part of this walk follows an airy, undulating route, which offers fantastic views over the Trent Valley. In the sky you might see light aircraft and gliders from the nearby airfield at Syerston. Later there are meadows with tantalising glimpses of the River Trent until eventually there's the option of a riverside section leading to a thundering weir. It offers a different perspective on the river, but the vegetation can be quite high in the summer and the route is liable to winter flooding.
The Reindeer Inn, on the Kneeton Road out of East Bridgford, serves food daily and has outside seating. Just over the Trent bridge (off the A6097), the Unicorn Hotel and the Anchor Inn are family pubs serving meals daily.
The River Trent rises in Staffordshire and flows through Stoke, Burton, Nottingham and Newark before joining the Ouse to form the Humber. You'll see plenty of fishermen along its banks, and the chap from Nottingham Anglers' Association told me that bream, barbel, roach and chub were all biting. Or so he hoped.
Near East Bridgford you'll see a waymark for the Trent Valley Way. This 84-mile (135km) walking route traces the course of the River Trent through most of Nottinghamshire, and offers plenty of scope for short circular walks. A booklet map and guide is available from local tourist information centres.