Thursday 9th September 2021
Ramblers Car Park, Nettleton Grange, Nettleton Beck, Mount Pleasant, Rothwell Top Farm, Rothwell, (Blacksmith’s Arms) Rothwell Stackgarth, Rothwell Road, Point 144, Nettleton Grange, Ramblers Car Park (10.5 miles).
Members; Paul and Keith
A trip into Lincolnshire was the order of the day, our first since May 2019. Quite a few absentees today leaving just Keith & Paul to fly the FAC flag. The BBC Weather department had assured us that any rain would have left our shores by the early hours leaving us with a cloudy but warm day. Back in the real world what actually transpired is that it started to rain as we left Hull and by the time we were parked up in the Ramblers Car Park just south of Nettleton it was bouncing down.
We’d arrived at 8.30 but chose to wait in the car until the rain cleared. Thankfully it did and a little before nine o’clock we were splashing our way down the lane towards Nettleton Grange and the Viking Way footpath. We’d spied a footpath leading out of the car park and we surmised it maybe ran adjacent to the lane. It did for a short distance but then it veered off in the wrong direction (for us) and where it joined a farm track, we walked the short distance back to our planned route along the quiet lane leading to Nettleton village. We discovered later that this path, not marked on the O.S. Map, was a permissive path which led to a nature reserve on Nettleton Hill.
Although the rain had stopped, we decided it prudent to break out the wet weather gear as a precaution. It certainly came into its own as we traversed the Viking Way footpath alongside Nettleton Beck. There was plenty of dripping wet greenery to plough through and without the aforementioned over trousers we’d have definitely got a soaking.
Further along the path we came to a wooded area with much evidence of former ironstone mining which included numerous tunnel entrances now bricked up. The mine opened in 1928 finally closing in 1968. From this point our route began gradually climbing until we got to Mount Pleasant, a smallholding alongside the B1225 Caistor road. Just prior to this we’d stopped for a brew, a butty and a breather taking in the magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. By now the sun was beating down, significantly pushing the temperature up which more or less stayed that way for the rest of the day. So, the BBC got it wrong again, in this case thankfully.
From Mount Pleasant we had a short trek alongside the main road before striking off north easterly passing Rothwell Top Farm. It’s a large farm but we didn’t see a soul anywhere. It had an air of abandonment about it and seems to be used for storage, a shame really as it contained some nice old farm buildings. From the farm we dropped down into a lovely valley which took us into the village of Rothwell.
We were heading to the Blacksmith’s Arms in the village, a pub we’ve only ever visited on a couple of occasions over the years. It’s a grand pub with an extensive beer garden at the rear of the premises. We ordered our drinks at the bar with beer connoisseur Keith plumping for a pint of Old Peculiar and lager lout Paul ordering a pint of Amstel. There was an old fella sat at the bar reading his paper and as Paul ordered his Amstel he looked up and said “What was that, a pint of Absinth?”. Fortunately, the barman’s hearing was much better or Paul could have ended up with a pint of green liquid with up to 70% alcohol content. Back in the day Jacko used to claim Absinth was the favoured tipple of the Pope, although how he knew this was never explained.
We sat under a silver birch tree shaded from the direct sun enjoying our drinks and apart from the draymen clanking beer barrels at the other side of the hedge it was a perfect place to relax and enjoy the warm and sunny afternoon. But we couldn’t sit here all day enjoying ourselves, there was walking to be done. There was a gate at the far end of the garden which led out into a lane and our footpath was opposite the gate. So, with a hop and a skip, or more like a creak and a groan, we were heading off on the second part of our walk.
The path itself was quite steep, just what you need after lounging about drinking beer, but we quickly gained height and eventually the path levelled out. It turned out to be a walk of contrasting halves with the morning one mostly along valleys, rolling hills and open countryside with the second half largely consisting of footpaths along field headlands.
We only had one “off route” experience. As we crossed Rothwell Road, we took the farm road to Rothwell Grange Farm instead of the footpath alongside the hedge towards Nettleton Grange. Even as we walked along this concreted roadway, oblivious to the fact we were going in the wrong direction, we were passed by a tractor with the driver even giving us a wave. By rights he should have stopped to give us the “are you lost?” spiel but he probably just thought “bloody walkers”. When we got to the farm, we realised our mistake and backtracked the short distance back to the footpath we should have been on.
Our route soon began to drop down towards Nettleton joining the footpath we’d been on earlier in the day at Nettleton Grange. We’d not had a stop during the afternoon with Keith warily eyeing the threatening rain clouds beginning to bubble up over on the western horizon. But at our location the weather remained warm and sunny and with one last pull up the hill back to the car park we were done for the day.
A great day out on the Lincolnshire Wolds with almost perfect weather throughout.