Recce for part of a possible longer walk. Grey, but dry and good conditions underfoot. Just over 4 miles.
Braceborough Spa, rising in the grounds of Spa House, was popular in the Victorian era for its natural spring waters. A bath house was built in 1841, and Doctor Willis treated George III here for his 'madness'. His royal patient stayed in a wing of Shillingthorpe Hall nearby, now demolished; there is a tablet in Greatford Church commemorating his stay.Shillingthorpe Hall was built in 1796, possibly as an extension of the asylum at Greatford Hall run by Dr Willis.
The walk was taken from an article by Will Hetherington in Rutland Active magazine.
I parked near the church and I extended the walk a little at the start, by taking the footpath east which joins the farm track, instead of the path directly across the field heading southeast. They both join the Macmillan Way, though it's not brilliantly signposted. This takes you to the road into Greatford. If you wish to visit the church you will need to make a short detour from this route. See pictures from this previous walk. (That route is not possible, since the footpath over the railway has been closed.)
In Greatford, turn right into Greatford Gardens and walk along to the end, where the gates and boundary of Greatford Hall are protected with some vicious looking razor wire. Follow the footpath to your right, and then left through the trees. Turn right at the end of the woods. This is where I saw a few fallow deer on the field nearby. I've seen them around here before.
You follow the edge of the field for a short distance before turning left and across fields to the path through Shillingthorpe Park. I met a group of walkers using the same footpath - this doesn't often happen round here.
The house, where George III is said to have stayed, and which was used as a convalescence home during the Second World War was demolished after the war, and the parkland is mainly used for cattle. The track runs uphill through the woods and on to open fields with views to the east.
Tractors have been busy ploughing recently, but only one of these paths was across a field, and that one dry.
I also had a brief chat with a beekeeper, who unfortunately had no honey with him to sell, but was moving bees.
Map and details