The Lindsey Loop is a 96 mile walk through the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is organised into eight stages with an alternative route ending. The walk visits six small market towns, each of which has a part in Egland's history. The route also includes many obscure villages both undiscovered and unspoilt as well as a sixty foot wide Roman Road. There is a choice of two final sections; one takes you back to Louth from Donington on Bain, the other returns you to Market Rasen. In addition to exploring the various towns and villages the real raison d'tre of this walk is the lovely rolling countryside of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Day 1 - Market Rasen to Caistor (9.5 miles). The journey starts from the sleepy market town of Market Rasen, which takes its name from the River Rase. The central area of the town is quite attractive with two notable ecclesiastical buildings and some Georgian houses. The route from here passes through woodland, over arable fields, and along the base of an attractive ridge leading to an ancient hill fort of the early Britons that later became the Roman town of Caistor. This historic old town still retains some evidence of Roman occupation, including the well in the lovely old church and remnants of the town wall.
Day 2 - Caistor to East Ravendale (12 miles). From Caistor the route leads to the edge of Nettleton village and then along the bottom of the Nettleton valley, which is also a lovely section of the Viking Way. After climbing up to the Roman High Street the route descends into Rothwell village and then follows a little stream to the memorial bridge dedicated to Jim Cook, the originator of the Lindsey Loop. Cuxwold and Hatcliffe villages are skirted and then some road walking down an attractive valley leads to East Ravendale.
Day 3 - East Ravendale to Louth (12 miles). The route, which runs parallel to the ancient Barton Street highway passes through a series of 'lost' villages, Hawerby, Beesby, Cadeby, Wyham and Ackthorpe. Cadeby Hall, a large 18th century house long abandoned, has a number of ponds. There is a stiff climb up rolling fields near Fotherby Top to Fotherby Common from where there is a view of the superb spire of St James' church in Louth. One of Lincolnshire's most appealing towns, Louth also has a number of historic claims to fame, including being the origin of the Lincolnshire rising in 1536 against the dissolution of the monastries by Henry VIII and also of being the one time home of the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Day 4 - Louth to Alford (14.5 miles). One of the longer days walking, the route nevertheless rewards with some wonderful countryside. Swaby Valley is a delight and the Vine Inn at South Thoresby is well worth visiting. Little Cawthorpe is an attractive, unspoilt village and the brief waterside walk beside the infant River Eau is a gem. In the fields by Haugh, the sweep of the Middle March comes into view with a glimpse of the sea beyond. Alford is most famous for its working five sailed windmill, visible for miles around, which is well worth visiting; you can purchase bread and cakes in the town made from organic flour ground at the mill. Alford Manor House is claimed to be the largest thatched manor house in England.
Day 5 - Alford to Spilsby (9 miles). Another day passing through a splendid landscape, particularly around Well, with its beautifully sited small church resembling a Grecian temple, and Skendleby Psalter. There are many small villages with interesting houses and churches and ancient long barrows waiting to be discovered along this edge of the Wolds above the Middle Marsh. Spilsby is a hillside town at the end of the Wolds looking out over the Marsh. It has had a market since the 14th century and at one end of the market place stands an ancient cross.
Day 6 - Spilsby to Horncastle (12 miles). Another superb walk with some magnificent views across to the ridge followed by the former pre-historic track known today as the Bluestone Heath Road. After skirting Mavis Enderby village it crosses arable fields leading to Furze Hill Nature Reserve, Hagworthingham Ford, Snipedales Country Park and on to another nature reserve. It passes near the site of the Civil war battle of Winceby in 1643. Finally the route leads down a gentle slope into Horncastle town and its market place.
Day 7 - Horncastle to Donnington on Bain (14 miles). Two rivers are met during this section. First the River Waring in the pleasant valley below Fulletby and then the River Bain at Market Bridge after a beautifull walk along an un-surfaced Roman Road. The Bain is crossed again further upstream after leaving the tiny village of Market Stainton and heading for Donnington on Bain, a peaceful Wolds village on the Viking Way.
Day 8 - Donnington on Bain to Louth (13 miles). A truly delightful section of the Lindsey Loop that makes a superb day's walking and is a fitting end to the route should you not do the final Market Rasen section. There are some spectacular views and quiet solitude on unfrequented ways. Yet again part of the Viking Way is used, before leaving it to go north east to the abandoned medieval village site of Calcethorpe, one of a number in this vicinity. The final stretch through, or above the steep valley of Hubbard's Hills, either on the top path or along the valley floor, is a delight and then the route crosses the park meadow to St James' and the wonderful spire seen from afar.
The descriptive text of this route has been adapted from the Lindsey Loop guidebook which provides comprehensive information on every aspect of planning and walking this interesting long distance footpath.
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