Woodland wonder

Jonathan Manning revels in Robin Hood’s forest on this gorgeous route through the trees at Clumber Park

Brace yourself for a tsunami of feel-good endorphins, dopamine and serotonin coursing through your veins after this ride through the magnificent woodland of the Clumber estate in Nottinghamshire. Scientific studies repeatedly find a cocktail of mood-lifting, immunity- boosting chemicals flood the brain after exercising in forests – far more than in the aftermath of a gym session. So, if you prefer birdsong to MTV and puddles to pools of sweat, saddle up for a fabulous route that leaves from the gates of Clumber Park Club Campsite. 

There are 3,800 acres to explore here, and countless opportunities to extend this ride by following an extra trail or fire road through the forest. Door-to-door this route stretches a modest 11 miles as it circumnavigates the National Trust’s estate, but it’s more than enough to calm busy minds and restore a sense of peace. 

Clumber was once part of Sherwood Forest, haunt of Robin Hood, but the only men in tights here today are runners and cyclists. A series of waymarked trails slice through the trees, although the numbering can be a tad confusing. This ride largely follows the red-arrowed Borders route, with the markers leaping about like a Reception class student trying to master counting... 1,2,3,9,10,6,7,11 and so on! If you fancy a kaleidoscope of colours, the enveloping silence of thousands of trees, and the dappled light cast by a leafy canopy, then it should definitely be on your radar. 

The trails range from twisty single track to long, straight forest roads, and only the briefest of spells on asphalt. The going is very good in all but a short, muddy section, and there’s barely an incline to speak of. There are even a couple of places where a swift diversion leads to a hot coffee or cold cola, depending on the time of year. 

The one thing that doesn’t change is the overwhelming sense of wellbeing, as the forest works its magic. 


1. From Clumber Park Club Campsite ride to the end of the drive, turn left and in 200m, turn left again at waymark 14. Follow the track ahead to waymark post 15 at a crossway of tracks.

2. 1.4km – Turn left at point 15, gradually descending, to reach a T-junction of paths at waymark post 16 in 500m. Turn right at point 16, and in 40m turn left signposted towards point 17. Continue to point 17. 

3. 2.4km – At point 17 turn right, following the arrow to 18, and at point 18 turn left. Continue to a road at point 19. 

4. 4km – Turn right at the road, and at the ticket kiosk turn left at point 20 to enjoy a long descent to a road at point 21. 

5. 6.9km – Cross straight over the road to the track opposite and follow this to another road and point 22. [A left then right detour here leads to the NT centre and café]. 

6. 7.6km – Turn right at point 22 along the road, cross a bridge over the lake, and turn right on the other side at point 3. Continue almost to a set of gates and pillars. 

7. 9km – Turn left before the gates at waymark 9, and in 100m turn left at the T-junction of tracks, signposted to Ollerton. Follow the track almost to a road. 

8. 11.4km – Just before the road turn left at waymark 10, continue straight ahead to reach a large stone gateway. Pass to the left of the gateway and cross straight over the road to the track diagonally opposite with a red waymark, and continue with a field now on the left. Keep going to a T-junction with a road. Turn left along the road, following the Borders waymark. In 500m look out for a road on the right. 

9. 12.4km – Turn right along the road, descending slightly, with Hardwick village visible ahead. Cross the ford. [If you fancy a coffee, turn left in the village to reach Lake Brew Café]. Stay on the road until a short line of houses appears on the left. 

10. 13.4km – Turn right at the houses, following the Borders and Northern signs through a gate, and then follow the track to reach the magnificent avenue of limes. Cross straight over here and follow the track to a road. 

11. 7.2km – Turn left at the road, waymark 13, and continue to reach the Club site on the right. 

You can download this route from our dedicated Strava page here.

About the route

  • Start/finish: Clumber Park Club Campsite, Limetree Ave, Clumber Park, Worksop S80 3AE.
  • Distance: 11.3m/18km. Time: 2.5 hrs. 
  • Level: Suitable for all cyclists and e-bikers – no hills and no tricky obstacles, but there are muddy sections.
  • Terrain: Hard track, mud and asphalt. Gravel or mountain bike would be fine.
  • Landscape: Beautiful woodland.
  • Refreshments: Café at NT centre and takeaway café at edge of lake at Hardwick. 

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Clumber Park Club Campsite

From £28.40 per night

Nestled within lush parkland, Clumber Park Club campsite is ideal for active families and fans of Robin Hood.

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