Living history

Jonathan Manning pedals back in time on this historical ride through the Nottinghamshire countryside

History abounds on this picturesque ride through the rural scenery surrounding Newark. From the 12th-century church of St Laurence in Norwell to the remains of the motte and bailey castle in Laxton, to the National Holocaust Centre and Museum, there is a sense of the past throughout the route. 

This past continues to the present in Laxton, the only village in England that continues to operate an ‘open-field’ farming system from medieval times. Three fields surrounding the village remain divided into strips and fall under the jurisdiction of a Court Leet and Jury. 

Whereas most land in England started to be enclosed (fenced or hedged into large fields) from the 17th century onwards, Laxton maintained its strips (a 1635 survey counted 

2,280 strips of land), which served as a way to share better and poorer land between farmers. The land between the strips is grassed and known as sykes and, untouched by fertilisers and chemicals, it transforms into a carpet of wildflowers in late spring and summer, which makes for excellent hay. 

The Court Leet ensures the farmers maintain a three-year crop rotation system and also polices the boundaries of the strips. 

A little farther on, at the midpoint of the ride, is the National Holocaust Centre and Museum which traces the origins of antisemitism and lays bare the horrors suffered by Jews in Europe following the rise of Hitler. The personal testimonies 

of survivors relayed via videos, allied to photographs and films of the era are desperately moving, their individual accounts having an impact as profound as the mind-boggling figures associated with the atrocities of the Holocaust. 


1. From Milestone Caravan Park (Affiliated Site) turn right into Cromwell and in 400m turn right again, signposted to Norwell. Continue for 3km into Norwell and look for a turn on the right after a church.

2. 3.1km – Turn right, signposted to Carlton-on-Trent and turn left, almost immediately, to Ossington. Continue for 3km to a T-junction.

3. 6.3km – Turn left at the junction, signposted to Ossington. Continue into the village.

4. 7.4km – Turn right at the war memorial, towards Moorhouse and Egmanton. Continue for 2km into Moorhouse.

5. 9.6km – In Moorhouse turn left along Green Lane to Laxton and Ollerton. Continue for 3km to reach a T-junction in Laxton.

6. 12.7km – Turn right at the junction to Tuxford and Ollerton. Follow the road around to the left and continue for 2.8km to the National Holocaust Centre and Museum.

7. 15.5km – From the Holocaust Centre turn right retracing the route back to Laxton. This time follow the road around to the right in the village to Kneesall and Newark. Continue to a crossroads.

8. 20.8km – Go straight over the crossroads to Kersall, and in 600m turn left to Norwell Woodhouse. Continue to a crossroads.

9. 22.4km – Turn left at the crossroads along Norwell Lane and follow the road all the way back to a T-junction in Cromwell. Turn left at the junction to return to Milestone Caravan Park.

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

About the route

  • Start/finish: Milestone Caravan Park Affiliated Site, Great North Road, Cromwell, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG23 6JE.
  • Distance:  19.3 miles/30.4km.
  • Time: 2½ hours (plus time to visit the Holocaust Centre).
  • Level: Suitable for all cyclists and e-bikers – gentle hills and quiet lanes.
  • Terrain: Asphalt all the way.
  • Landscape: Rural farmland, pretty villages and pockets of woodland.
  • Refreshments: The Dovecote Inn, Laxton; The Plough, Norwell; café at National Holocaust Centre.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club make no warranties concerning the accuracy or completeness of the routes published, which to the best of our knowledge were correct at the time of publication. Your use of the routes is at your own risk and we accept no responsibility for the suitability or safety of any routes published. Routes may be out of date or affected by changes to the physical environment and, to the extent permitted by law, we accept no responsibility for personal injury or property damage caused by your use of the routes. 

About the author

Family of three outside their caravan on a sunny day

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