Work up an appetite with this scenic walk through the Wolds west of Louth.
Distance 6 miles (9.7km)
Minimum time 3hrs
Ascent/gradient 410ft (125m)
Level of difficulty Medium
Paths Bridleways and lanes, field paths, may be boggy, 17 stiles
Landscape Broad, rounded hills and shallow river valley
Suggested map aqua3 OS Explorer 282 Lincolnshire Wolds North
Start/finish TF 236829
Dog friendliness Some livestock, plenty of off-lead potential (note 17 stiles)
Parking Main Road, Donington on Bain
Public toilets None on route (nearest in Louth)
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1 Walk out of the village northwards, past the Norman church and the post office, on to Mill Road. At the first junction turn right, signposted 'Hallington and Louth', then in a few paces go left, over a stile. Walk along the bottom of successive fields, with the River Bain on your left and the lofty Belmont Transmitting Station dominating the skyline further west. After ¾ mile (1.2km), and having passed a fishing lake, you reach a footbridge.
2 Cross over to reach Biscathorpe's isolated little church, rebuilt in the mid-1800s in a medieval Gothic style. Walk around its perimeter wall and continue past a house and on across another footbridge ahead.
3 Now head half left across the bumpy outline of a deserted medieval village. The ditches, ridges and mounds give some indication of its layout, and there are more abandoned settlements to the north of the A157. Head towards the top of the pathless, low hill and go over a stile for a path through a small plantation. Turn right on to a lane and walk along this for 550yds (503m).
4 Go over a stile on the right for a signposted public footpath down the side of disused workings, then left across a wide field, aiming for the far corner down by the stream. Go over a footbridge and half left through two more fields to reach the lane at Gayton le Wold, with Gayton Manor beyond.
5 Turn right and walk the lane past Manor Farm's whitewashed buildings, and another miniature church, and out across the hilltop fields. In ½ mile (800m), where the lane bends right, go left on a broad track indicated 'public bridleway'. Veer right into the field at the top and follow this obvious and waymarked route alongside huge ploughed fields (can you tell what crop is growing?). There are delightful views down across the Bain Valley to your right, back towards Donington. Continue around and above the back of Glebe Farm, by a thick hedge, and go straight over a lane.
6 In just under ½ mile (800m) from the road crossing, turn right where a signpost points to a public footpath downhill behind a hedge. Follow this wide track gradually down via Horseshoe Plantations, then a hedge by fields of grazing horses from the stable near by. Turn right on to the road at the bottom to return to the the centre of Donington on Bain.
Lincolnshire is well-known as one of the foremost English counties for food production. The fertile soils of the Fens in the south support vast and seemingly endless fields of arable crops such as potatoes, onions, cabbages and sugar beet, PWalks 8 and 38. The county is the leading producer of cereals as well as asparagus and salad crops. And it's also the world's largest producer of daffodils.
A new initiative has been launched within the county to promote Lincolnshire produce. Called 'Tastes of Lincolnshire', its members include tea rooms, B&Bs, pubs and restaurants, as well as many of the local producers themselves. Where you see the stickers and leaflets you can be assured that many items for sale or on the menu have been locally sourced.
This walk starts and finishes near the Black Horse in Donington on Bain, and there's no better place to try the county's produce after a bracing ramble. In some of the larger villages and market towns like Louth, Horncastle, Boston and Spalding, a visit to the local baker will reveal yet another subtle variation of the famous Lincolnshire plumbread, delicious spread with butter and accompanied by a cup of strong tea. Also look out for Grantham gingerbread and Lincolnshire curd tart.
In the butchers you can admire the county's famous pork sausages. Fenwicks, based in the market hall in Louth, have even been awarded a Guinness Book of Records entry for the variety of sausages they produce (including kangaroo with red wine!). Other regional recipes include Lincolnshire Dripping Cake, traditionally eaten for lunch during harvest time. Lincolnshire's hand-made poacher cheese has long been famous, and recently sheep's milk products have been reintroduced, with herds of ewes now generating a growing supply of cheese, milk and yogurt. Another return to the county's pastures are Lincoln Reds, a traditional breed of beef cattle with a handsome deep-red coat.
The county is also well-known for haslet, a loaf of cooked, minced pig's offal eaten cold, and chine. Stuffed chine harks back to an 18th-century way of cooking ham, peculiar to Lincolnshire, whereby gashes in the ham are stuffed with parsley, mint, thyme and other herbs before boiling. It is traditionally served cold, sliced, with vinegar and a salad. Finally, don't forget about a drink with which to wash down all this decent food, and what better than Batemans 'good honest ales', brewed near the coast at Wainfleet.
Unless it's misty, you can't miss Belmont Transmitting Station. Built in 1964 by the Independent Television Authority, it was originally 1,265ft (385m) high, which at that time made it the second tallest communications mast in Europe. It then gained a further 7ft (2.1m) when meteorological equipment was added. Since it stands pencil-thin, only 9ft in diameter (2.7m), you feel that all it needs to round it off is a giant flag.
The Black Horse Inn at Donington on Bain is a member of the Tastes of Lincolnshire scheme. Meals are served every lunchtime and evening in the bar and restaurant. No dogs inside, but garden to rear. In Louth, visit Perkins' Pantry on Mercer Row, which serves 132 different varieties of home-made scones!