Sunday, September 04, 2011

The King's Great Way.

The King's Great Way was a very important highway in medieval times, linking London, Nottingham, and York. Yet, for all it's historic importance, very little of it remains today. There are no signposts to tell you where it is, and seemingly no maps. And, it has to be admitted, there is much speculation as to the path it took in different centuries.

But one thing is certain: The King's Great Way was the route taken by aristocracy, merchants, and tax collectors, when they had business in the distant cities. It would also have been rather congested at times by Nottinghamshire's local pedestrian traders, travelling shorter distances between the villages and towns. For example, a similarly broad public footpath still exists linking Blidworth to this highway. One can imagine how it's soil and stones surface became difficult to negotiate in the wet months, especially for carts and coaches.

That part of the King's Great Way which linked Nottingham to Papplewick was known as Walton Gate, and is mentioned in the earliest ballads about Robin Hood. On this site, Little John, Much and Will Scarlet, are said to have stood and "looked South towards Brimsdale" (a.k.a. Byrunsdale, now Old Basford). This places the outlaws unequivocally in Sherwood Forest, and in the region where Robin Hood recruited his key men. (Little John, from near Blidworth; Friar Tuck from Lynhurst; Alan a Dale from Papplewick, all places within a short walk from here).
Above: That part of the King's Great Way which passes through Thieves Wood will be of most interest to Robin Hood fans, and one can see it in this video plus a second video on THIS LINK.

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