The Lincolnshire Wolds are probably the most unsung of our Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but they are exquisite. Last weekend I went to the Walkers Are Welcome towns annual get-together, hosted by the three Lincolnshire Wolds WAW towns of Caistor, Horncastle and Market Rasen.
On the Saturday morning there was a choice of walks and I opted for the wolds one, led by Gary Beighton. We met in the square at Market Rasen where Gary told us something about the walk and introduced Colin Lingard, the back marker.
We crossed a field and entered Willingham Woods. Market Rasen Walkers Are Welcome have published a leaflet about walking in the woods because not many people know about them, and it is easy to get lost there. The woods belong to the Forestry Commission and are dedicated to access under section 16 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act. There are two public footpaths and numerous tracks, and a medieval hermitage in the centre with no recorded routes to or from it. That needs rectification, it is highly unlikely that there are no historic public highways leading to this site.
Once out of the woods we had a lovely view of the Wolds in pale autumn sunshine.
We climbed to the Ramblers’ church with its window depicting walkers and cyclists.
Pevsner says the mediaeval church has been ‘very tactfully restored’ and it is simple and uncluttered. We followed the Jubilee Way past the oak tree planted in memory of stalwart Grimsby rambler Nev Cole.
Then we followed the Jubilee Way along the ridge of the wolds, with some steep undulations.
Soon we met the Risby flock of Lincolnshire Longwool sheep, now a rare breed.
There is a hut which is open to the public, full of leaflets and information about the sheep. The Lincoln Longwool Sheep Breeders’ Association was founded in 1892. You can buy cards and wool there. The view from there is good, but it was too misty to see the spires of Lincoln cathedral.
We continued on the downs a bit further and then descended to Tealby.
We stopped for lunch by the fine, ironstone church, on a steep hill.
I peeled off to visit the point where the Jubilee Way crosses the River Rase on the south-east corner of the village.
Standing on the bridge, 31 years ago in August 1985, I made a little speech. The Ramblers organised a walk around Great Britain to mark its fiftieth jubilee, and this took in part of the Viking Way. As a committee member, I was invited to join the stretch from Tealby and to address the gathering at the start. As explained in an earlier blog I used the opportunity to relate why the Ramblers would no longer follow the country code.
The walk home involved a long trek across the middle of large fields, but the farmer had at least run a tractor along the path.
Back in Market Rasen the Walkers are Welcome towns had organised tea where I met David Rodger and Nick Jarvis, both project officers with the AONB. They had a stand with many attractive leaflets of short walks. It may be a small, little-known AONB but it is doing a great job to celebrate Lincolnshire’s special countryside.