Walking near Alford and Spilsby
OS Maps: Explorer 274 Skegness, Alford and Spilsby
Alford - The pleasant small town of Alford lies in tranquil countryside with the Lincolnshire Wolds not far to the west. The area is rich fertile pastureland; the hinterland of the flat coastline of sand dunes and marshland about 10 miles away to the east. This is an unspoilt peaceful area in which to walk and, to the south of the town, there are many pleasant lanes and paths between Claxby, Skendleby and the pretty village of Ulceby and the Well Vale woods.
Alford is the start of the Three Towns Rural Challenge Walk (details below) and is a good base to explore the surrounding area. It also has much of interest including one of Lincolnshire's best windmills, a five sail six storey landmark, built in 1837 and recently refurbished to full working order. In fact you can tuck into bread and cakes made with freshly milled flour in the tea room, not a bad idea after a good walk. Alford has also gained a reputation as an art and craft centre and holds regular craft markets during the summer. Other attractions include a fine thatched manor house in the town centre housing a folk museum and the handsome medieval church of St. Wilfred.
Walk from Alford [TF 455763] This pleasant five mile walk north
of Alford has views to the western edge of the Wolds. Thr route visits
the ancient moated site of Saleby Manor. The church of St. Margaret
in the centre of Saleby village, consecrated in 1850 was built on the
site of an earlier one. The route returns to Alford through small fields
of old pasture.
Spilsby - A pleasant little market town on the edge of the Wolds about 8 miles south of Alford. To the east and the North Sea coast the town overlooks an expanse of marsh and fenland. Due to its scenic location, Spilsby makes an ideal base from which to explore the area on foot. The ridges and valleys to the west of Spilsby form part of the sandstone Wolds, where the River Lymm, Tennyson's Brook, tumbles through the New England valley. One of its tributary streams flows through the attractive pastoral landscape of the Snipe Dales Country Park.
The town has historical associations with the influential Willoughby d'Eresby family and it was Sir William de Willoughby who obtained the town's market charter in the 14th century. The interesting St James' Church, with its green sandstone tower, contains many memorials to the family. However, the towns most famous son is the arctic explorer and navigator Sir John Franklin, who so tragically perished during his famous voyage to find the Northwest Passage in 1847. There is a commemorative statue of Sir John in the mediaeval market square, where there is also the original 14th century market cross. The Franklin Way is a 2 mile published walk around Spilsby opened in 1986 as part of the bi-centenary celebrations of the birth of Sir John Franklin. copies of the leaflet are available from Spilsby TIC.
Walk from Spilsby [TF 401660] This pleasant four mile walk, which
includes part of the Franklin Way, passes through the site of an old
settlement, has attractive rural views and important connections with
Tennyson. The route passes through Partney, an attractive village once
famous for its sheep fairs. On both the outward and return journeys
the path crosses the little River Lymn which rises in the Wolds not
far from Somersby where Alfred Lord Tennyson was born in 1809. The river,
which still twists and turns through hill and dale, is thought to be
the inspiration for 'The Brook'.
The Three Towns Rural Challenge Walks These walks have been created and published by East Lindsey District Council as a partnership project. This series of varied walks has been designed to link the three market towns of Alford, Spilsby and Wainfleet. The routes also link the popular walking areas of the Wolds to the attractive marshland countryside and some quiet areas of the coast. Birds, butterflies and wild flowers abound on these routes. Though much of the land crossed is modern arable land where ploughing regularly disrupts the route of the path for a time, there is still a considerable amount of ancient pasture land, often indicating some old settlement, possibly even the presence of a deserted medieval village (DMV).
The full circuit of the three towns is about 58km (36 miles) and is a three day LDP, although a more leisurely pace could easily be planned. However, the Three Towns route is also envisaged as linking a wider network of shorter walks in the area, utilising routes recently re-opened by a Parish Paths Partnership Scheme which has opened up a huge network of public rights of way. Thr routes are waymarked with a green triangular Three Towns Walks symbol.
The main circular route linking the three towns is described in three fold-out guides. There is an additional guide describing a route linking Alford to the coast at Wolla Bank. There are also three supplementary guides, each describing a local walk around one of the three towns (see above). The whole series of seven guides have OS Landranger mapping with the route clearly marked in yellow highlight, excellent route directions and a wealth of background and practical information. They are very well designed. You can obtain a set of these guides by contacting Louth TIC, The New Market Hall, Off Cornmarket, Louth, Lincolnshire, LN11 9PY. Telephone (01507) 609289. There is currently no charge for the guides.
Acknowledgements: Photographs courtesy of East Lindsey District Council. Some text adapted from East Lindsey District Council publications.
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The following guidebooks include a walk from Alford