A number of fascinating heritage trails are available, providing a self-guided tour of the historically significant areas in and around Southwell:
The John Becher Heritage Trail, 2.25 miles (3.6km)
John Thomas Becher was a clergyman, botanist and close friend to young Lord Byron. He moved to Southwell in 1792 and became famous nationally, as well as in the local area, as a champion of social reform.
This trail through Southwell takes in many buildings and sites associated with Becher and his family, including the Minster (where he was a clergyman), Hill House (his family home), and the Workhouse (the scene of one of his many social reform projects).
The King Charles I Heritage Trail, 6 miles (9.7km)
By May 1646, the position of King Charles I and his Royalist Army was desperate. They had suffered a series of setbacks in 1644-5, culminating in the decisive defeat at Naseby on 14 June 1645. Charles journeyed to Southwell to meet with a French diplomat (Montreuil) whom he had employed to negotiate with the Scottish Army that was laying siege to Royalist Newark. The King arrived at the King’s Head (now The Saracen’s Head), to find Montreuil absent and continued to negotiate with the Scottish Commissioners.
This trail through Southwell and across pleasant, hilly countryside allows walkers to follow in the footsteps of King Charles I.
The Charles Caudwell Heritage Trail, 2.5 miles (4km)
Charles Caudwell purchased the mill that stands by the River Greet in Southwell in 1851 and his family milled flour there for four generations. Since that time, the Caudwell family has made substantial contributions to the town.
This trail journeys past the Caudwell Mill and the River Greet on to Maythorne Mill and Southwell Paddy. Along the way, walkers can explore the rich industrial heritage along the river as well as enjoy the wealth of wildlife ranging from unspoilt grassland and hedgerows to dragonflies and birds of prey. They might even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an endangered water vole as it ‘plops’ into the water from its burrow along the riverbank.
The Easthorpe Heritage Trail, 2.5 miles (4km)
Today Easthorpe is part of Southwell but, for centuries, it was a village in its own right. In the 19th Century, its main street had a number of farms and trade workshops centred on agriculture, along with other local industries such as malting and framework knitting.
This trail gives a fascinating insight into Easthorpe’s heritage. Points of interest along the route include the intriguing history of families and businesses that made it their home, from butchers to taxidermists, and its variety of architecture, from beautiful three-storey Georgian houses to the Old Coach House, and evidence of the Southwell Roman Villa. Easthorpe is rightly proud of one particular tree – the original Bramley Apple, which was planted more than 200 years ago. Walkers can also enjoy the abundant wildlife at Potwell Dyke and Shady Lane Pasture as they make their way along the trail.
The Westhorpe Dumble Trail, 2.5 mile (4km)
This delightful trail is centred in the peaceful hamlet of Westhorpe, which, until the early 20th Century, was a lively working village. Today, Westhorpe is a conservation area with its unique cottages and farmsteads, long brick walls, mature trees and attractive surroundings. Arguably the most distinctive feature of the village is the Westhorpe Dumble – a dumble being a stream which has formed a deep wide channel in the clay that is out of proportion to the amount of water normally carried.
Along this trail, walkers can step back in time to gain an insight into what it was like to live in a working village, enjoy the range of architecture, as well as enjoy the Dumble itself. With many fine trees, including oak, beech and ash along its course, and violets and primrose in its shade, visitors will charmed by this stunning location.
The Edward Cludd Civil War Trail, 3 miles (4.8km)
This intriguing walk focuses on Southwell during the English Civil War, on aspects of the town’s rich religious heritage and on Norwood Park, one of the Archbishop of York’s medieval deer parks.
The trail is named after Edward Cludd who was born into gentry in 1603, with his parents owning property in the nearby town of Arnold. According to accounts, he was a firm and very influential supporter of Parliament during the Civil War period and yet a source of ‘moderation’ in many discussions.
Over this trail, walkers can visit the three places where his moderating influence had a clear impact on local events.
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