Exploring the Lincolnshire Wolds June 2021
Updated: Jul 12
We left Derbyshire and headed for another area that was completely new to us, The Lincolnshire Wolds. This rarely features in travel write ups, so we hoped it would be fairly quiet. Food supplies were getting low, and Newark was on the way, so we found a conveniently situated Waitrose, with long spaces for Buzzbee our campervan, and free parking for 2 hours. We parked, did a quick shop, and wandered around the interesting town centre with quaint streets and some nice independent shops, as well as a large ruined castle. Newark’s history is firmly linked with the English Civil War. There is a museum here which has excellent reviews, but was closed on our visiting day, but there is a heritage trail around the town.
Leaving Newark we were soon in Lincolnshire, and stopped at 2 gardens. Firstly, Goltho gardens, family run with a plant nursery attached. We used our Gardeners World 2 for 1 cards here, so admission was just £4. It is a small garden but very richly planted. The roses and peonies were fabulous, the vegetable garden was inspiring, and there were many unusual plants too. Small café as well, but Chris wouldn’t let me buy any plants as we’d have to keep them alive in the van for another 9 days!
Next was the Walled garden at Baumber, near Horncastle. Bought by a photographer and designer as a derelict ruin in 2006, they have restored the garden and created some interesting features within. There are a number of excellent small craft and retail units within the garden, plus plant sales, so the admission is free. Well worth a stop and a wander!
Our site for the next 4 nights was Furze Hill House farm, a small Camping and Caravanning Club certificated site. Debbie was the very friendly and helpful owner. Slightly sloping, but lovely views, EHU and 2 very nice toilets and showers were all we needed, and at £18 per night it was excellent value. Glad we didn’t want a bath though!
Some great walks directly from the site, and central for touring the area. Our first night was sunny, but then grey cloud overtook us, which lasted for most of our stay, so the photos aren’t great! We didn’t visit Lincoln city on this trip as we have been before, but found it an interesting city, especially the Cathedral and Museum. North of Lincoln, Gainsborough Old Hall (English Heritage), was brilliant. Instead, we visited Horncastle using the local bus. An old market town it has some interesting history and lots of antique shops! The Church of St Mary was built in the early 13th century It has a 17th century reredos of the 10 Commandments, and beautiful gilded angels on the roof bosses. The town itself has connections with many people. Alfred, Lord Tennyson and his brother Charles married 2 girls from the town and were frequent visitors. John Betjeman, former Poet laureate, loved Lincolnshire, was a frequent visitor, and wrote various famous poems about it.
Sir Joseph Banks was an esteemed botanist, scientist and explorer. He sailed with Captain Cook to Tahiti, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, and brought over 30,000 plants and scientific specimens back to the UK. Over 1400 were newly discovered, and 80 are named after him, like Banksia, but he also introduced the western world to Fuchsias, Bougainvillea, Mimosa, Acacia, Eucalyptus and many others. In Horncastle, the Joseph Banks Society have an excellent small museum about him and his work.
We also learned about the Horncastle horse fairs, which started in 1229. By 1306, Lincolnshire was the leading horse breeding district in England, and by 1813 the Horse fair was the largest ‘in the British Dominions’, lasting up to 2 weeks. The best horses could fetch £600 even then! 35 inns could stable over 1,000 horses. It is said that the inns were often centres for skullduggery, and were frequented by ‘Pavement Nymphs’, a rather dainty term for prostitutes!
Later that day we walked from the site to Snipe Dales country Park. It was a lovely 4 mile walk through fields, into wooded valleys, and by streams, but we got caught out by the weather, and for the first time this trip we really tested the waterproofs in a torrential downpour. Luckily they held firm, but trying to dry them in the campervan resulted in an inadvertent Sauna for us both! During the walk we found this lovely piece of artwork... created by bugs under the bark of a fallen tree!
Next day was dry and we did one of the excellent Wolds walks, from well produced leaflets found in the local Tourist Information office or website. Ours was ‘In the footsteps of Roman Legions’, a 7.9 mile circular through 4 charming villages in the heart of the Wolds, starting at Fulletby. It was delightful, and well signposted. A few miles from the end was the super Blue Bell pub in Bletchford. We had just eaten our packed lunch or we would have been tempted by the excellent menu. The Wolds scenery is lovely for waking and cycling. Rolling hills, farmland and woodland plus streams, and we hardly saw another person!
Then a quick visit to Louth, parking our 6m camper easily in the car park behind the Co-op. Louth has some super Georgian architecture, and the Greenwich Meridian runs through the town, so Chris is standing half in the eastern hemisphere, and half in the west!
We also discovered that the first ever branch of Curry's was here...as a bicycle shop! Sadly the church and Museum were closed.
Sunday saw us visiting Gunby Hall (National Trust). Absolutely gorgeous walled gardens, and a short but interesting house tour. Owned by the Massingberd family and built in 1700 it is a beautifully symmetrical red brick house..with an extra wing! The family were very musical, and the lovely Bluthner Grand piano was especially made to be taken apart and shipped to India, and later it returned to the UK. It probably needed a bit of retuning! The original delft tiles are 300 years old, and were rescued from ships ballast by the first owners of the hall and used in the fireplaces.
We loved this flower arrangement which is in an old globe table, which was damaged and repurposed!
Add to this the fact that the lovely gardens are haunted by the ghost of a murdered servant, and you have a lovely place that is really worth visiting!
From here we headed to Gibraltar Point Nature reserve, a peaceful haven compared to nearby Skegness! Lovely walks around pools and saltmarsh, with good numbers of birds even in summer.
Then we drove north through the playground that is Skegness and past all the Caravan Parks to the Northern beaches. Anderby Creek looked very nice but there was a height barrier on the car park, and the few spaces outside the barrier were taken. We drove on, but every beach had a barrier, until we reached Huttoft Car terrace which had no barrier and lots of parking. Daytime only though. The beach is huge!
We drove back through the pretty village of Alford, but the interesting looking museum was closed.
Leaving Lincolnshire the next day we made 2 final stops. Firstly at the town of Boston. The town has many fine buildings, including the Guildhall, and Fydell House, which looked very interesting but were closed on Monday!
St Botolph’s church dominates the town. One of the largest parish churches in England, it was started in 1309 and finished in 1390. Much work was done at the time to stabilise the foundations in the wet ground and were very successful. The tower was built in 1450 and is 266 feet tall. It can be seen for miles around across the flat fenland and was used as a beacon for ships. It is known as Boston Stump. The interior has interesting misericords, and a library, located above the porch, possibly to protect the precious books from flooding. It includes a 12th century manuscript, and a 1542 edition of the works of Geoffrey Chaucer.
Boston has great links with the USA. Some Puritan townsfolk sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, and others on the Arbella in1630, landing in Salem. The 2 groups eventually joined forces, and named the fledgling city of Boston in America in honour of their hometown.
Outside the church is a Pilgrim Path commemorating some of the pilgrims who were escaping the Catholic regime in England at the time.
We parked our motorhome easily in Buoy Yard car park for £1 for 2 hours, just a short walk from the centre.
Lastly, we stopped at RSPB Frampton Marsh, a wild reserve of pools and salt marsh with an excellent range of birds, even in summer. Lots of campervans on the car park! No overnighting though! We saw Spoonbill, Avocet with chicks, Ruff, Knot, Godwit, Marsh Harrier and Barnacle Geese among others.
Grey skies were threatening rain as we left to head into Norfolk.
Based on a previous visit, we can also heartily recommend a visit to the Lincolnshire Heritage Air Museum at East Kirby. Excellent exhibitions about the role of the airfield in WW2, a recreated Naafi, a Lancaster bomber and an exhibition about the Dam Busters. Nearby, at Coningsby, is the Battle of Britain Flight centre, but you must book well in advance.
Thank you Lincolnshire, we really enjoyed our time visiting!