2014 Public Guided Walks Round Laxton, Nottinghamshire.
These walks are led by Stuart Rose, a farmer and lifelong resident of the village of Laxton, site of the last Open Field strip farming system in the country. Stuart holds the office of Clerk to the Gaits and Commons within the manorial "Court Leet" and is a member of the Jury.
All walks begin and end at The Laxton Visitor Centre in the car park of The Dovecote Inn, Laxton, Grid Ref: SK724671.
Walkers are recommended to wear stout footwear and to bring wind / waterproof clothing if the weather looks inclement as there is no shelter on the route round the open fields.
The 2014 programme is:
Sunday March 9th at 10.00am LAXTON AFTER WINTER Approx. 4 miles, 3 hours
The opening walk of the 2014 series with Stuart giving walkers the chance to see the fields after winter. The winter sown crops should be showing and starting to grow, while some of the second field crops will be making progress and others will still be newly sown. The third field will be in overwinter stubble and approaching the deadline date of 20th March by when it must have been broken up to provide a nesting habitat for ground nesting birds such as the skylark.
April at 10.30am MEDIEVAL LANDSCAPE AND VILLAGE
Approx. 3.6 miles, 3 hours
On this second walk in the series Stuart will introduce walkers to the medieval architecture and landscape of this 18th century village. He will explain how the open field farming system shaped the development of the village with its central farm buildings surrounded by fields. The walk will include a visit to the castle – known as the best preserved motte & bailey castle in the county, the open fields and other key features.
Thursday 1st May at 5.00am MAY DAY DAWN CHORUS WALK Approx. 5½ miles 3 hours walking, 5 hours total
The 3rd in the series gives early risers a unique opportunity to watch the sun rise over Laxton from the motte and bailey castle. The Rattlejag Morris Dancers from Retford dance in the May (the first day of summer) and invite spectators to share an outdoor breakfast. Those who wish to go on the walk round the three Open Fields then join an expert bird watcher to hear and identify the many species which sing over the boundaries, dykes and Open Fields. In each of the last two years over 30 species have been identified, including close up views of a lesser spotted woodpecker and a nuthatch. There are shortcuts for anyone who has to get back to go to work. The dancers request a small donation for the outdoor breakfast. Expect to be back to the start about 10am.
Thursday 15th May at 7.00pm LAXTON’S MEADOWS & SYKES, PLANTS & WILDLIFE Approx. 4 miles 2½ hours
On the 4th walk, Stuart is joined by a wild flower expert to guide walkers round South Field looking at the ancient grassland and studying the wildlife and plants. The sykes (pronounced "six") are unique areas within a unique farming system where modern practice preserves the wild heritage. These areas were traditionally either very wet land or where the plough was turned around – a practice which continues today. They were and are farmed but never sprayed or fertilised and wild flowers are abundant.
Expect to return to the village between 9.00pm and 9.30pm.
Saturday 20th September at 10.00am MEDIEVAL LANDSCAPE & VILLAGE Approx. 3.6 miles 3 hours
The 5th walk takes walkers back in time through this 18th century village, looking at life in medieval times in the motte and bailey castle, ancient fish ponds and Open Field strips. Learn how the medieval farming system influenced the landscape and architecture and how modern day practices preserve it.
Sunday 19th October at 10.00am LAXTON - ALL IS SAFELY GATHERED IN Approx. 5 miles 4 ½ hours
In the final walk in the 2014 series, Stuart gives a unique insight into the way the farming system influenced the development of the village and how it is preserved today by modern farming methods, the ancient manorial "Court Leet" and the Jury. See the 3 Open Fields after harvest, and visit the church. This walk begins with viewing a short introductory film in the Visitor Centre.
For more details call 07939 228353 or 01777 871702.