On Top of the Wolds

A Louth walk posted on 17/07/19 by Lincolnshire Wolds. Update : 23/08/19

This is a delightful 5.5 miles walk taking you high into the Wolds. There are fine views to the coast and back to Louth with St James's Church spire visible for miles. Walking along tracks and paths, this really does give a flavour of hilly Lincolnshire.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h35[?]
Distance Distance : 5.21mi
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 308ft
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 302ft
Highest point Highest point : 348ft
Lowest point Lowest point : 92ft
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Louth
Starting point Starting point : N 53.366853° / W 0.008186°
Download :


(D/A) From St James’s Church, walk along Bridge Street.

Have a look at the sculpture of a man trying to make sense of the words on a line, depicting the Greenwich Meridian line. This is part of the Louth Art Trail. As you cross the bridge over the River Lud lookout for the marker high on the building adjacent to the bridge. This marks the height of the water during Louth flood in 1920.

(1) Continue up the hill, Grimsby Road, until you reach Fanthorpe Lane, just before a petrol station. Turn left into Fanthorpe Lane. When you reach the bypass, cross with extreme care. Continue on the metalled track, then grass track and across fields until you reach a road.

The tiny hamlet of Acthorpe was once a much larger place. Its name implies that it once was a farm either specialising in or using, oak trees. The oak provides both home and food for the greatest variety of insects of all our trees. If you look carefully at the twigs or leaves, you may see some strange growths called galls. These are not harmful to the tree but are home to a small insect. An insect lays its eggs inside the leaf or twig and as the larvae develop the gall is formed. Look out for oak cherry gall or the oak spangle gall on the underside of the leaves.

(2) At the road, turn left and continue past Acthorpe Farm. As you go past Linford Wood, you are at the highest point of the walk at 340 feet. Follow the road until you reach South Elkington village.

(3) Turn left at the road and follow the tarmac footpath towards Louth.

(4) Turn left at the public footpath and follow it uphill across a field into Cow Pasture Wood. Once through the woodland, follow the path over the grassland, keeping the trees and hedge on your left, passing Pasture Farm to the bypass.

The true Scots pine is perhaps the most ancient of all British trees. It has grown here for the last 1-2 million years, disappearing only during the most severe glacial periods and returning when conditions improved. It is distinctive from other pines with its red bark, visible at the top of the trunk.

(5) Carefully cross the bypass, then go over the stile into the field. Cross the field with the hedge on your left and past the old buildings. Follow the track right down the drive and turn left at the road.

(6) Ignore the next road on the left and follow Westgate over the bridge and back to St James's Church, your starting point.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0 - St James Church
1 : mi 0.59 - alt. mi 0.59 - Towards Grimsby Road
2 : mi 1.55 - alt. mi 1.55 - Acthorpe Farm
3 : mi 3.07 - alt. mi 3.07 - Footpath towards Louth
4 : mi 3.78 - alt. mi 3.78 - Public footpath towards Cow Pasture Wood
5 : mi 4.7 - alt. mi 4.7 - Bypass
6 : mi 4.87 - alt. mi 4.87 - Westgate
D/A : mi 5.21 - alt. mi 5.21 - St James Church

Useful Information

Maps: OS Landranger 122
OS Explorer 282

Parking: Numerous car parks throughout the town – please check for parking tariffs.

Terrain: Mainly on good tracks and paths. Some sections may be muddy. Some roadside walking and
crossing Louth bypass

Refreshments: Cafes and pubs in Louth, shop in South Elkington.

Toilets: Public toilets on Eastgate, behind the New Market Hall and at the Bus Station on Church Street.

Stiles: A few. Many are stock proof and therefore maybe difficult for some dogs.

The Lincolnshire Wolds is a nationally important and cherished landscape. Most of it was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1973. Covering an area of 558 square kilometres or 216 square miles, the AONB contains the highest ground in eastern England between Yorkshire and Kent, rising to over 150m along its western edge. Rolling chalk hills and areas of sandstone and clay underlie this attractive landscape.

The Lincolnshire Wolds has been inhabited since prehistoric times and the appearance of the countryside today has been greatly influenced by past and present agricultural practices.

A Countryside Service helps to protect and enhance the landscape through partnership projects with local landowners, farmers, parish councils, businesses and residents of the Wolds.

Office Address :
Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service
Navigation Warehouse
Riverhead Road
Lincs LN11 0DA

Phone: 01522 555780 Twitter: @LincsWoldsAONB

Website : https://www.lincswolds.org.uk

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around


The town has always been and still is, an important centre in the area. In 792 the Abbot from the Monastery became the Archbishop of Canterbury and one of the largest Cistercian houses in the country was founded in 1139. At its peak, there were 66 monks and 150 lay brothers there, kept busy with the production of wool, which was exported to Europe from Saltfleet. Henry VIII closed the abbey in 1536.

The River Lud gives the town its name. In the past, it was a valuable resource for powering local industry. Louth Canal opened in 1770, linking the town to the sea. Trade through the canal was brisk and there were regular sailings to London and Hull and other ports. In 1848 the railways opened running north-south through the town. Over the next 30 years, more rail routes linking east-west helped the town prosper. The increasing popularity of trains, together with a tragic event in 1920 meant the canal went out of use in 1924.

1920 flood
Saturday 29th May 1920 started a bright clear day. By early afternoon there was a torrential downpour. Trenches were ploughed in roads, and soil and water blocked the railway line.

Over 4½ inches - about 12 million tons - of water fell west of Louth in 3 hours. This was to lead to disaster for the town. Late afternoon, a wall of water burst through a dam, causing a 14 foot high wave to sweep to the town. The river Lud rose 15 foot in just 20 minutes. The strength of the water was so great it demolished bridges and houses, swept away cars and wagons. Tree trunks from the sawmill were swept away and crashed into houses. Sadly 23 people lost their lives from this event, and many families were made homeless.

Going high
Adorning the Louth skyline is the parish church of St James. With its 295 foot tower standing high above the town, it is the most famous landmark in the immediate area. The spire is the tallest on a Parish Church in England. The current church was built in the 15th century, on the site of 2 previous churches. The tower was built separately, before being added to the church. In 1537 Thomas Kendell, Vicar of Louth was executed at Tyburn for his part in the Lincolnshire Rising – a riot in protest to monasteries being closed and church wealth being confiscated.

Lumpy fields?
There are many fields with ‘lumps and bumps’ in – this is often evidence of a medieval settlement. During the 14th century, the Black Death affected many villages. Over the next 2 centuries, many villagers have driven away as landowners enclosed their land depriving peasants of their homes and livelihood.

Often near-deserted settlements are remains of ‘ridge and furrow’. These look like long shallow trenches and banks across a field and were formed through regular ploughing.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.