Guide House, Redhill
THE Old North Road is of immemorial antiquity. It joined the North and the South of England together, and crossing the Trent in the neighbourhood of the present Trent Bridge, it passed through Nottingham and so away by Rufford to Blyth and the North.
This road was of great importance all through the Middle Ages, and along it passed all manner of wayfarers, some good, many bad. The presence of the latter did not make for the popularity of roads, and so villages gradually developed a little off the road, just as Arnold lies back a trifle to the East of the Old North Road.
The roads were largely left to themselves, and for the most part led the anxious, thief-expecting wayfarer through remote and uninhabited districts.
Gradually it was found safer to take the more devious roads that passed from village to village, and so the great trunk roads became more and more lonely. Moreover, no provision was made for their upkeep, and in spite of laws and statutes they became choked with thorns and wild growth and more than ever foundrous and perplexing, so that finally guides became necessary to conduct travellers along them from place to place.
For thirty miles, from Nottingham to Blyth, the Old North Road passed through forest land whose intricacies made guides more necessary than ever.
The old farm house at the foot of Redhill was a post where such guides could be hired, and in later days it became a change house where fresh coach horses were obtainable before facing the deplorable ascent of Redhill.