- 0.00 Miles
- 2-3 hours
A fascinating walk around this once flourishing medieval port, birthplace of William Patten, a truly remarkable man.
- Circular walk - 5.25 miles.
- Maps: OS Landranger 122 and OS Explorer 274.
- Parking: In Wainfleet Market Place (Grid Ref: TF 498 589).
- Terrain: Along footpaths which can be muddy at times. Some roadside walking. Generally level.
- Refreshments: Tearooms, restaurants, pubs and shops in Wainfleet. Also, The Barkham Arms on Wainfleet Bank.
- Toilets: Public toilets in Brook’s Walk, off Wainfleet Market Place, next to the Red Lion Hotel Garage.
- Stiles: A few. Some are stock proof and therefore may be difficult for some dogs.
- Let's set off!
From the Market Place, walk south along High Street, passing the Red Lion Hotel on your right. This hostelry dates from before 1667 when the then landlord, John Racee, issued his own tokens. Look out for the late eighteenth century graffiti on the front door of The Angel, once the home of the Barkham family whose links with Wainfleet go back to 1597. Continue ahead, carefully crossing the Boston-Skegness railway line and entrance to Barton Road. Then, almost opposite All Saints’ Parish Church, turn right onto the signposted footpath.
Follow this path across a shaded wooden footbridge, continuing straight over a stone track to another footbridge. Notice the different crops as you walk. This is prime agricultural land capable of supporting many different vegetable and fruit crops. With the rise of the Lincolnshire Wolds now visible ahead, carry on, hedge to your left, across another footbridge onto Mat Pitts Lane.
There, turn left, before quickly turning right onto another signposted footpath passing alongside small fields and to the rear of cottage gardens to another road. Listen for the wren’s remarkably loud and determined song as it flits through the undergrowth.
Turn right to carefully walk along Mill Lane towards Crow’s Bridge. Beneath the bank to your left flows the Steeping River on its way to the sea at Gibraltar Point.
After crossing Crow’s Bridge, continue ahead, walking to the right of the Old Haven past the Riverside Caravan Park. Pause awhile at the old churchyard, the site of the medieval church of All Saints. See the ornate black railings marking the place where Richard Patten, father of William of Waynflete, was laid to rest.
Continue ahead along the road, looking out for a sparrowhawk dashing low over the fields in search of prey. Notice the red brick church-like building, with a tower, across the fields to your right. This was St Luke’s National School.
At the crossroads with Culvert Road, turn left and then left again in front of The Barkham Arms, starting back along the road towards Wainfleet.
Then, turn right, to follow the next signposted footpath over a stile and across old pasture, to a double stile and footbridge at the next boundary. Make out the distinct ‘humps and bumps’ in the grassland, revealing the site of the medieval town of Wainfleet. Continue ahead towards the impressive tower of St Mary’s Parish Church, with the hedge first to your left, then on your right.
Enter the churchyard over the footbridge, continuing straight ahead, before joining the main yew-lined path leading from the Church. Marvel at the symphony of birdsong in this quiet place, before leaving the churchyard through the lychgate, beautifully inscribed – “a resting place for the weary, the sorrowful, and those that sleep”.
Cross the road to follow the signposted footpath almost directly opposite. Follow this attractive green lane as it bends first left, then right, continuing as a wide grassy track beside several fields, before finally emerging as a tarmac lane (Hall Gate). Look out for the dandelion-like yellow flowers of coltsfoot on the banksides in early spring.
At the lane end, turn left to carefully walk along Low Road into Wainfleet, passing Parkfresh Veg. Ltd on your left and St Michael’s Lane to your right. Notice the white cap of the early nineteenth century brick windmill off to your right, with a modern wind turbine close by.
Almost opposite the fenced Anglian Water compound, immediately after Halfpenny Hill Cottage, turn left over a stile to follow the signposted footpath between fences and across a ‘dry’ footbridge. Continue ahead through the gap between hedges, passing to the rear of bungalow gardens, then between a tall hedge and fence line, to emerge onto Vicarage Lane.
There, turn first right to walk to the lane’s end, then left towards Wainfleet All Saints. Notice the hexagonal brick pinfold, originally built as a pound to house stray livestock. Carry on to the next T-junction, keeping a look out for the electric blue flash of a kingfisher flying low over the Steeping River.
Turn left over Salem Bridge, pausing to admire the imposing brick tower mill and ‘beer bottle’ weathervane of Batemans Brewery. Then, quickly turning right, carefully cross the road to walk along Haven Side, with the Steeping River now on your right. Follow the lane as it bends away from the river to emerge as Church Lane, past All Saints’ Parish Church.
There, turn right onto Station Road to retrace your steps across the railway line and along High Street back to the Market Place, your starting point. It was here, on the limestone steps of the medieval Butter Cross that John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, preached in 1780.
- You made it! Well done.