Thu, 2015 Oct 29 9:53 AM BST
With Gordon and Maureen. Grey and threatening to drizzle, but we were dry until the last section. Muddy underfoot in places. Around 9 miles (without my last 1.5 miles to retrieve my map!)
We decided to risk the forecast poor weather, and in fact we were lucky. A little rain early on, then the odd spot of drizzle. Underfoot was fine apart from a few ploughed fields, but at least these were flat, though a little sticky. Towards the end the path crossed some fields of wet plants, so my feet were a bit soggy.
In Carlby we walked along High Street north west. Soon after the road bends to the left is the footpath, off to the right. It's the second footpath sign, and not very obvious, so we overshot and had to return. Once found, it was fairly easy to follow, as it hugs the field edges for a while, then heads slightly east of north.
There were a couple of recently ploughed fields to cross - a seasonal hazard which makes boots heavy and legs tired.
|Boot scraping in progress|
We arrived at Witham on the Hill after about two miles. We had a brief pause to don wet weather gear, then it stopped raining . . .
|Ready for anything?|
Train up a child in the way he should go
When he is old, he will not depart from it.
It emerged in Toft just before the village sign, and a bridge, which should cross the East Glen River, though this appeared to be dry. I was impressed by this sloe bush.
Shortly after the bridge we crossed the road to take the footpath which goes through Toft golf course, heading south towards Manthorpe.
There are marker poles, but they were not easy to follow. Luckily the golfers seemed quite happy to redirect us when we wandered! Plenty of them there on a damp Thursday morning too.
Manthorpe has a stone engraver and a farm shop where I bought a jar of honey, but no handy benches. I was amused to see a "Beware of the Dog" sign, and then down the farm drive, a little pottery dog. However the barking from inside the house reinforced the warning.
We needed a break, so perched on the wall next to the stile at the start of the next footpath, towards Bowthorpe Park Farm. We feared we might have to cross a forbidding-looking ploughed field, but our route veered left away from it. Phew.
At first the sheep ran away, then turned back and came towards us, then followed us as we walked through the field along the path.
We crossed a footbridge and went uphill to Bowthorpe Park Farm. This is the site of the Bowthorpe Oak. We paid our £2.50, which the owner gives to the Air Ambulance, and went to see this massive tree. It is said to be over 1000 years old, and may have been planted when William the Conqueror was alive.
|Although the trunk is split, the tree has plenty of leaves.|
I'm not sure how it compares with Sherwood Forest's Major Oak.
We went back to the footpath, which passes to the east of the farm buildings, and followed it south to join the track to Spa Lodge near Braceborough. We passed the old Station House, with its decorated garage doors, and walked into Braceborough.
Just after we turned right at the end of Spa Road, the footpath goes off to the right, past a large garden. We took the right hand fork when the path split, and walked over a field, then west past Braceborough Lodge, through Braceborough Little Wood and followed the markers towards Carlby. Rain tempted us into a shelter for another snack. The rain stopped and then it was a short mile back to Carlby, across fields and the dismantled railway line.
|A Lincolnshire cairn|
|Steps up from the old railway line|