• Laura Purkess

Newtonwood Lane, Nottinghamshire

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

Location: Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire

Nearest town: Mansfield

Peak: 205 metres above sea level

Rank: 39/48

Difficulty: ★

Date climbed: 11 July 2020


Geography


Forget Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham, this county's greatest rivalry stems from the quest to claim its highest point. Officially, the title belongs to Newtonwood Lane, an unremarkable country road a two-minute drive north of the village of Huthwaite. But all that marks this county high point are a row of pylons and an underground water treatment facility.



The original highest 'natural' point was long considered to be Strawberry Bank, a housing estate atop a hill on the edge of Huthwaite. This point is marked by a plaque that states it the 'highest natural point in Nottinghamshire' standing at 201 metres above sea level.


Its claim to high-point fame may be wrong, but Strawberry Bank is worth a visit for its panoramic views. Looking out west over the M1, there is a great view over the rolling hills of neighbouring county Derbyshire, while a view to the south overlooks the South Fulwood Industrial Estate - less picturesque, but still striking. Naturally, on the hunt for the county high points, we visited both of these summits.



But the rivalry doesn't end there! For a few years following the completion of landscaping work in 2005, a third location - an old coal mine spoil heap - claimed to be the highest point in the county, albeit not by natural formation. Topped with a purpose-built mound, Silverhill seems to be the most well-recognised and visited high point in the county with a commemorative statue at the top created as 'a tribute to the miners of the Nottinghamshire coalfields' and a sun dial pointing out landmarks in the distance.


Apparently, you can spot Lincoln Cathedral 32.2 miles away! There were a few distant blobs that it could have been, but you would need a good pair of binoculars to confirm. Closer by and more easily recognisable were the grand Elizabethan Hardwick Hall and Bolsover Castle. Meanwhile, out on the eastern horizon lay the unmistakable silhouettes of electricity generating stations marking out the Trent Valley. These cooling towers are part of the West Burton and Cottam (decommissioned) coal-fired power stations.



So, to sum up the controversy:


Silverhill was re-designated as the highest point in the county at 205 metres - although surveyors officially measured it at 204.4 metres. But its title was later disputed by geographers who suspected Strawberry Bank or Newtonwood Lane may be higher. In 2010-2011, a survey of the area confirmed Strawberry Bank to be 202 metres (one glorious metre higher than its plaque proclaims), while nearby Newtonwood Lane won the title by 0.6 metres, topping out at 205 metres precisely.


Amenities


Parking was easy at each point. You can park opposite the reservoir entrance on Newtonwood Lane where the lane widens slightly. For Strawberry Bank, you can park for free on the residential roads in the surrounding housing estate in Huthwaite. Silverhill recreational area has a number of free car parks at its base, and the walk up to the summit follows a path through an idyllic woodland.





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