Walk of the month: A hike along the river Trent is less a walk, more a meander

This waterway winds through some of England's industrial heartlands. But in parts it has a bucolic air. Mark Rowe plots a trail taking in cliffs, pastures and woodland

The River Trent is the third-longest in England, stretching for around 160 miles from its source in North Staffordshire to join the Humber Estuary at Trent Falls, south of Hull. Though a tiddler by international standards, the Trent's journey passes through some of England's industrial heartlands. Despite this, it has a bucolic air for much of its passage.

This walk begins in Shelford, just 15 minutes on foot from the river, at the 11th-century St Peter and St Paul's Church. During the Civil War, a group of soldiers loyal to the King were ejected from the church tower when the Parliamentarians set it alight.

With your back to the church, turn left along Church Road, past the village hall and straight over a crossroads. Follow the public footpath signpost by Waterlane Cottage. After 100 yards you reach a fork, where you turn sharp right over a stile to follow a narrow, fenced path with a barn to the left. Climb the stile into an arable field and walk with the hedge to your right. After 50 yards take the stile on your right it's slightly masked by overhanging trees. Continue through the small horse-paddock, with the hedge on your left. Cross another stile and then turn right on to Julian Lane to join Main Street.

Turn left along the pavement and at the war memorial turn sharp left into Pinfold Lane. At the end of the lane climb the stile into a horse-paddock and continue in the same direction to another stile and gate and an arable field.

The Midlands may be densely populated but the setting is intensely rural: with stretches of arable farmland, dotted with trees, on whose exposed branches large numbers of rooks gather to lend a Hitchcockian edge.

Carry on across the field and turn right by the yellow waymark post on to a clear track to the road. Turn right back towards Shelford for 400 yards and when the road bends to the right, turn left on the track by Ashdown Cottage. Follow this track to its end, ignoring two sharp right-hand turns, before passing through an arable field where you follow a clear but narrow track.

Eventually, this track meets the Trent Valley Way footpath and you turn left to start climbing Gibbet Hill. The paths quickly divide take the right-hand one, waymarked for the Trent Valley Way. The path climbs, with impressive views of the River Trent far down to your right. A weir comes into view, its modest drop giving the Trent an impressive momentum.

The path continues with the Trent on your right, through woodland. Just after you pass some steps down to your right, turn right along the paved path that arcs around above the shale cliffs.

After about 600 yards, take a gate on your left, pretty much opposite some steps to your right. The gate takes you into the rose garden of Rockley Memorial Park. The park was gifted to Radcliffe-on-Trent by Lisle Rockley in memory of his son, who fell at Ypres, and other local men who died in the First World War.

Follow the outer edge of the park and leave it via Park Road at the public toilets. When you reach Shelford Road, turn right and walk downhill into Radcliffe-on-Trent. Walk over the railway to the roundabout with the Co-op store on the corner.

Turn right, following the signpost for Nottingham, to reach St Mary's Church. The church dates from the 13th century and noteworthy features include a chantry chapel. Opposite the church, turn right down Wharf Lane. Then, just after this lane passes under the railway bridge, take the steps up to the right to re-enter the grounds of Rockley Memorial Park. After 600 yards you come to the set of steps opposite the gate you passed through earlier. This time, take the steps down to the water's edge and follow the clear track around the outer perimeter of the islets. The hedgerows here make a haven for small birds.

The trail eventually swings around to the weir before climbing up the side of the cliffs and rejoining the path, where you turn left to head back towards Gibbet Hill. Retrace your steps over the hill but at the bottom take the left-hand, waymarked path over the stile and along the grassy floodbank to follow the Trent downstream.

After half a mile the path picks up Stoke Ferry Lane, where you turn left. The Trent is an impressive sight, ploughing through the gorge-like cliffs of Gibbet Hill. Keep walking along the lane and in just under a mile you arrive back at the church in Shelford.

DISTANCE 7 miles

OS MAP OS Explorer Active Map 260 Nottingham, Vale of Belvoir

TIME Three hours

FURTHER INFORMATION Mark Rowe stayed at Woodside Farm (01476 870336; woodsidebandb.co.uk), near Redmile, which offers doubles for 60 per night. CrossCountry (crosscountrytrains.co.uk) runs frequent rail services to Nottingham. Trent Barton Buses (barton buses.co.uk) operates hourly services from Nottingham to Shelford, journey time 30 minutes.

Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Arts and Entertainment
Frank Sivero in Goodfellas; Simpsons' wise guy Louie

The sound of Goodfellas mafioso Frankie Carbone demanding $250m in “damages” would be chilling enough on film, let alone in real life.

News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
News
i100
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?