Exploring The Wolds: My Top Choices by Jim De’Ath (Valley & Peak)
There’s something truly captivating about the Lincolnshire Wolds. An unspoiled, underappreciated area that the world really needs to wake up to.
If you’re from Lincolnshire and haven’t explored the miles and miles of quiet, but dramatic landscape on offer on our doorsteps, then isn’t it time you got out there?
For those from outside of the county, Lincolnshire might have a reputation for being flat and while that might well be true for much of the county, the Wolds offer something of a revelation. Sure, the south of the county might have those huge skies we always hear about and the beauty of the fenlands towards the coast cannot be denied, but the Wolds offer something different.
Whether it’s huge views to the sea, rolling hills and historic landmarks, there’s a reason that the area was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Wolds are vast, the whole area spans 216 square miles and includes not only sections of the Viking Way, a challenge thousands of hikers try per year, but also has some of the most idyllic surroundings you can experience in the area.
As a person who lives and breathes adventure as part of my daily life, I’m all for escapism and the Wolds offer this in a way that other, more popular areas of the country simply do not. Strap on a backpack, sort out a route and you may well be alone with your thoughts and never come across another walker at all. It’s a truly unsung gem of a place.
Want to explore? Here are a few of my favourite places to walk and escape to:
Tealby to Caistor on the Viking Way
The village of Tealby is a beautiful, chocolate box painting wonder of a village, blink and you could swear you are in the Yorkshire Dales or the Cotswolds. A babbling ford in the village kicks off most of my walks there but the route to Caistor is one that I would recommend. Taking in the sweeping hills that mark the start of the Lincolnshire Wolds, Tealby rises up to the surrounding undulations of the countryside with ease and the surrounding deer farms, abandoned churches and views across the green and pleasant area are something to behold. On your way to Caistor you’ll experience beautiful established woods, valleys and some of the most stunning wildlife the area has to offer. Caistor at the end is a thriving town that has a character all of its own.
Lincs Wolds Way
The Lincolnshire Wolds Way is an absolute must when exploring. It was designed by a local hiker named Tony from Louth, a keen local walker who has plotted the route to take in the best of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
It’s designed to keep you on the high ground whenever possible. For those who want to walk it in stages, it’s also helpfully broken down into five stages with lots of villages all around the route.
The walk starts and ends in Louth and visits some of my favourite spots, including Legbourne, Somersby, Belchford, Goulceby, Ludford, Tealby, Walesby, Normanby le Wold and the sites of Beesby village and Cadeby village.
This is the perfect ‘tour’ of the Wolds and if you’ve got a few days spare, it’s one to embark on all at once.
Louth - South Elkington - Hallington - Raithby Loop
Louth is one of the best towns in the UK, but don’t spoil the secret. From unique and independent shops, to stunning public parks such as Hubbard’s Hills, the town is fiercely independent, but also offers a base for some truly lovely walks. Head out of Hubbard’s Hills at the edge of town and you’ll come across the truly hilly route that takes you out to South Elkington, Hallington and Raithby for a sizable walk that will astonish as well as challenge you.
If you’re after a real challenge, then the Belmont 30 is the one for you. This is one that takes in some of the most arresting views you’ll be able to experience in the Wolds. A circular route to the west and south of Louth, it passes through many small hamlets and villages.
The name of the walk can be a little misleading, as the distance is actually 33 miles, but you can shave it down to around 30 by taking some alternative paths.
From the start in historic Tetford, the walk loops its way through the villages of Belchford, Scamblesby, Goulceby, Market Stainton, Donington on Bain and Biscathorpe. It also takes in the site of the Medieval village of Biscathorpe before touching on Burgh on Bain, Wykeham Park, the site of the Medieval village of Calcethorpe, Welton le Wold, South Elkington, west Louth and Raithby.
It then allows you to visit the site of the Medieval village of Maltby before hitting Tathwell, Orgarth Hill, Maidenwell, Farforth, Ruckland and Worlaby before returning to Tetford for a well-earned rest! Best tackled over a two day period, it’s one that really gives you a taste of this part of the country and I would urge everyone to do it at least once!
Jim De’Ath is part of Valley & Peak, a Wolds-based company that sells a range of outdoor adventuring gear, specialising in ultralight backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and other essentials for exploring the world on foot and on two wheels.