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            Caistor, Lincolnshire, 17th February, 2019

'A' Walk -Distance -11.5 miles. Leader - Clive Hickman. Grade - moderate+.   Ascent.- 1043 ft.

The last occasion when HF Doncaster walked from this Georgian market town was in 2009, when walk descriptions were initially an innovative creation devised by Tony Marsh, who introduced the practice with a brief precis of all three walks on one sheet!  Quote the 2009 ‘C’ walk, ‘….the walk will embrace typical ‘Wolds’ villages’, whereas the ‘A’ walk featured ‘….slight ascents…but this is not the Peak District, hence nothing intrepid!’  A ‘Wold’ is high, open, uncultivated land; combining this with Tony’s words just about sums up today’s walk, on good paths and wide, solid bridleways amid the pleasant scenery of the wolds of Lincolnshire.  ‘Book Early to Avoid Disappointment’  were Tony’s final words of advice !!

 The most challenging aspect of the recce was finding our way out of Caistor via the Viking Way, a long distance trail in England running 147 miles between the Humber Bridge in North Lincolnshire and Oakham in Rutland. Threading our way south west through the town’s back streets, we eventually emerge onto open land after crossing the A46.  Our Viking trail now begins in earnest, passing through the village of Nettleton but turning south east to Nettleton Grange and then continuing uphill in our first Wolds valley by hugging Nettleton Beck for two miles with 350 ft. of ascent.

 At the brow we turn sharply east on firmer ground now, easier underfoot in the direction of a minor road, misnamed ‘High Street’.  Leaving the road a little further north, our way is now more north east first to Rothwell Top Farm, and then beyond on a wide solid bridleway to our second charming Wolds village of the day, Rothwell.

Lunch would be appropriate here with a bus shelter and bench, plusthe Blacksmith’s Arms, a smart hostelry with a less than welcoming atmosphere at the bar but several picnic benches outside.

We leave Caistor Road by following a right-angled route out of the village north and then west to emerge on the same road, but now named Rothwell Road.  Continuing west takes us along the road for a short distance before following the trail to cross High Street for the second time.  Now our path heads downhill with Nettleton nestled in the valley below as we first return to Nettleton Grange, before re-tracing our morning route north through the village back into Caistor, where the White Hart is about the only place of refreshment open on a Sunday.

 A pleasant walk, with no stiles, which lives up to Tony’s brief but pithy description of ten years ago.  Enjoy the day.  

'B' Walk - Distance - 8.5 miles. Leaders - Elaine, Jean & Isobel. Grade - easy. Ascent - 886 feet.

A few facts about Caistor:-

  • The historic market town of Caistor lies on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Population today is around 2,500.
  • There is evidence of an ancient British hill fort in the town, with a Roman camp occupying the same spot later. Additional evidence of the Roman 'presence' was found as recently as 2010 during the excavations for a new Co-op supermarket, when remains of a Roman cemetery were unearthed.
  • Renowned for its Georgian buildings which can be seen in the market square.
  • Surprisingly, no remaining evidence of the annual 'Sheep Fairs' for which the town was famous, when some 30,000 animals changed hands.

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We leave the town centre and make our way through the outskirts of town following the signs for the 'Viking Way' past Suddell House, as we head across several fields in the direction of Nettleton. After passing through the village we soon leave the Viking Way to take a quiet road which leads to the first ascent of the day, a steep, winding cross-field path which leads to Nettleton Top.

Our next target is the mast at Acre House which is the highest point on the walk at about 500 feet above sea level, where we will re-join the Viking Way. Good views from here even though we are not particularly high compared to some walks we have done. As we descend, look out for the disused workings and old tunnel entrances which are an indication of the mines which once produced iron ore for the steelworks in Scunthorpe.

We pass briefly through Nettleton for the second time to head north east across several fields - which may well be muddy in places - towards Whitegate Hill where we join a minor road. A short section along the road soon takes us to the outskirts of Caistor, where we will re-cross the busy A46 back into the town centre.         

Cafés tend to close early on a Sunday so you will need to use one of the pubs for refreshments. Try the White Hart.

This is an easy walk with limited climbing. Some muddy 'bits' but generally the paths and tracks are reasonable.

We hope you enjoy our walk.

'C' Walk - Distance - 5 miles. Leaders - Richard & Mavis.  Grade - easy.  Ascent - 535 feet.

 This Lincolnshire town has a rich Roman history formerly known as Ceaster(Roman camp or fortress) and has an entry in the Domesday Book as Castre. There are a few 4th century remains in the church of St Peter and St Paul where there is an Anglo-Saxon Tower. The Market Square contains some fine examples of Georgian / Victorian grade 2 listed buildings but the best buildings to look out for are the Grammar school (1633) and the Session House (1662)

 We start our walk from the Grammar School and head down to the Heritage Centre where a warm welcome awaits and all the usual delights will be on offer.

 After refreshments we head off in the direction of Nettleton along the Viking Way with a combination of street, road and field walking all of which were easy under foot and of a good quality. We cross the busy Caistor by-pass twice, so care must be taken before we head up Moortown Road and back across the fields. Unfortunately there was no suitable place to stop for lunch so it will be a case of eat and drink on the hoof as and when required.

 The area is very flat with plenty of farmers’ fields to look at until we reach Hundon Walk House where we encounter our only uphill gradient of the day which lasts for about 200 yards and the views of the valley are excellent. From here it is a steady walk back to Caistor where the White Hart pub will refresh you. However, the local cafés and shops all close at 2pm on a Sunday so if the pub is not for you sightseeing will be a good distraction.

 This walk has no stiles, only gates and a few steps but with handrails, so the walk should be ok for everyone.

 Forthcoming Walks

                      2019 ...     March 3rd - Glossop, Derbyshire

                                      March 17th - Buxton, Derbyshire

                                      March 31st - Ladybower, Derbyshire

                                      April 14th - Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire