Lincolnshire is often overlooked when people are looking for decent hiking, what with our seemingly flat and featureless countryside. But as I’ve mentioned before here on Splodz Blogz, Lincolnshire has some great footpaths and bridleways through some stunning countryside and beautiful villages – it is a great place to hike. And while the Fens may indeed be pretty flat, the Wolds are not; the green rolling hills help to keep things interesting. In the interests of burning off a few of the Christmas calories, we headed to Binbrook, near Louth in Lincolnshire, to walk a loop around that area.
The view from Stainton le Vale.
We planned our route ahead of time using the leaflet we found on the Lincolnshire Wolds website (download it here – takes you to a pdf) along with the OS Maps app, for which someone had already plotted the route so I could download it onto my phone. I’m a huge advocate of going prepared even for the simplest looking day hikes (read: tips for your day hike pack), and so we had a map and compass available should we have needed it, but the route description from the leaflet with the GPS tracking app (I downloaded the map so I didn’t need any phone data to use it) worked well for us and I didn’t need to open my pack other than to reach for my sandwiches.
An impression of the route via OS Maps.
Footpath sign as we headed back towards Binbrook.
We parked in Binbrook Market Place (on street parking), where there are some public toilets should you need a pit stop (you’ll need the key from the local shop, requiring a small deposit), and took the route in the suggested anti-clockwise direction.
Golden sunshine and a smile at the end of the walk.
The path you take from the village stumped us a little to begin with; the route suggested the path went between a bungalow and a house, and is marked on the other side of the road to suggest the same, but it really does feel like you are walking down someone’s drive and through a gate into their garden. While I’m mentioning gates; the styles mentioned in the route description have mostly been swapped over to gates now – some wide, some kissing – but the path is easy to follow and this shouldn’t make the route any harder to navigate for anyone, just assume you need a way to get through the fence and you’ll easily spot your heading.
A typical Lincolnshire footpath – field, hedge, field.
It’s hard to hike in Lincolnshire without needing to cross a farm, or several, and this walk was no exception. We walked through fields with leftover green stalks, chopped back corn, some newly sprouting miscellaneous vegetables (sorry, my green vegetable leaf identification skills are severely lacking); it’s what Lincolnshire does and does very well.
Hiking in Lincolnshire… ploughed footpaths.
But I have to admit that ploughed footpaths are one of my pet hates. I’m referring to footpaths across or around the edges of fields that have been churned up by the plough or other farm equipment. Rather than lifting the plough up and missing a small section, the farmer chooses to plough right over the right of way and then runs a tractor up the path to compress the mud a little and to show where the path goes. They are not doing anything wrong per se, just making the going very hard for walkers. You end up with thick mud that has just the right consistency to clump and stick to your boots so your feet weigh a tonne, but also be slippery enough to keep you slightly off balance the whole way, making the going very tough. I came across a ploughed footpath the other day that I know kids use to get to School – I pity their nice black school shoes! Today we walked along no fewer than four large ploughed fields. It’s a good job it’s not been wet recently and that we chose to wear good boots for our bimble.
Interested sheep. “Who you looking at?!”
A typical Lincolnshire Wolds scene.
Anyway, ploughed footpaths aside, the route we took was easy to follow and navigate, and provided some lovely views of the surrounding area. The start of the walk took us over the site of Orford Priory, a medieval nunnery alongside a settlement that was completely self-sufficient for all its food thanks to fish ponds and farms close by. We walked along a boardwalk across a marsh (we don’t see many of those in the UK), had a chat with some sheep, wandered through the village of Stainton le Vale, headed along a beautiful bridleway through a farm and up a short but steep muddy track through a little coppice, and then along some more ploughed footpaths before we got back to Binbrook.
The site of Orford Priory.
Boardwalk over marsh.
Stainton le Vale Village Hall.
This Binbrook loop, which is just over 5.5 miles long over undulating but not hard going terrain, took us 2.5 hours to complete including a short 10 minute stop to eat our sandwiches (where we were intrigued by the old Village Hall that had trees growing inside). We walked at a leisurely pace (apart from when it started to rain so we picked up the pace a little, but that soon blew over), took loads of photos, and chatted along the way. The distance and time taken makes this an ideal Sunday morning walk even for the non-seasoned hiker. Lace up those boots, grab a bottle of water and a snack, and go.
At the top of the one very steep section – at least it was short!
I definitely haven’t explored the Lincolnshire Wolds as much as I should have with it being on my doorstep, so I will be doing my best to rectify that this year. If you are local and fancy doing this walk I’d highly recommend it – just make sure you are prepared for those muddy fields! If you’d like some company drop me a line and I’ll happily come and walk it with you. And if you enjoyed this walk report please let me know and I’ll do some more!
Cultivation terraces and a Lincolnshire big sky.
Find the walk description on the Lincolnshire Wolds website (opens pdf).
If you fancy something a little longer in Lincolnshire, take a look at the Stephen Langton Trail, a 16-mile linear walk into Lincoln.