Exploring in the Vale of Belvoir

After our walk to Grantham yesterday we are keen to explore a bit more of the countryside so easily accessible from Casthorpe House Farm CL. It is always a pleasure to be able to walk directly from a site and not use the car. With the Grantham Canal so close and a network of paths and tracks it is not too difficult to plan a circular walk. Plan is a loose term, because our walking route is always subject to change in direction and length.

The start of our walk is the same as yesterday. We leave Casthorpe House Farm CL, turning right up the lane and left at the T-junction to follow the road to the footpath leading to the canal just before Casthorpe Bridge. At the canal towpath we turn left towards Grantham.

A towpath is a great place to stop and observe nature, today there are a number of Dragonflies, all too quick for us to capture on camera, but a wonderful spectacle. Then a heron seeking sustenance is perched in the reeds, but it is equally reluctant to be photographed.

After about two miles on the towpath we reach Harlaxton Bridge (no 66), here we leave the canal.

After crossing the bridge we make a brief detour to wander down to Harlaxton Wharf and then return to walk up the road (The Drift), this is the old drove which links the canal to the village. A bull in a field on our left watches us carefully as we pass his territory.

After crossing the main A607, close to the village pub, the Gregory Arms, we walk into the village. Harlaxton was once a village dominated by the local Manor to the East. Until the early 1900’s the estate was the main employer of local labour. The original manor was built in the 14th century; reportedly it was used as a hunting lodge by John of Gaunt. In 1857 it was demolished having stood empty for almost eighty years, a grand new manor had already been built further from the village on the Estate. The stone from the old manor was used to build many of the houses in the village. There is no shortage of fine old houses here with thirty-six being Grade II listed buildings.

After passing the village store we reach what is known as the obelisk. According to the Parish Council website, it is thought this is an old market cross.

Next to the obelisk the old public telephone box has been turned into an information centre. I think it is wonderful how these have been saved by communities and put to good use. On our travels we have come across several used as information points, others have displayed local arts and crafts and we have seen a few used as local libraries for book exchanges. In our home village the old phone box now houses a defribulator. We love the sense of humour evident in this box where someone has put a toy telephone on the shelf.

This village appears to be a tranquil, rural community, we are therefore alarmed to see there is a need to padlock the bench on the small green. From here we head up Rectory Lane pausing to look at more fine houses.

By the side of the lane on the edge of a garden is a fine sculpture of an Owl, I have read that when the old manor was demolished a number of the statues and sculptures were saved and now adorn gardens within the village.

We take a short diversion to visit the impressive church of St Mary and St Peter, parts of which date back to the 14th century.

We pause for a while in the graveyard reading some of the headstones, this is often a good place to discover social history. Here there are references on a few of the headstones to the service that individuals provided to the grateful Lord and Lady of the Manor.  Resuming our walk we continue along Rectory Lane, soon passing the old gates of the Manor House.

On reaching the A607 we cross and take a footpath that follows a farm driveway down Peashill Lane. After passing some stables the track continues to reach fields and we continue north walking along the edge of fields to reach a junction of paths close to the Grantham Canal. Here we turn left following the way-marked path to Denton Reservoir.

We turn left to walk besides the reservoir; this was built to capture the water from local springs and streams to provide water to the nearby canal. It has a capacity of 61 million gallons of water.  There is an option to do a circular walk around the reservoir, but we choose to keep straight on and follow the footpath through a couple of fields towards Denton. On reaching Casthorpe Lane we turn left to enter the village and then take the next right to head towards the village church.

The village pub, the Welby Arms, is closed for business and is seeking new owners. It would appear that this was once a popular pub, but clearly not popular enough. Let’s hope it opens again before too long, such places are needed to keep communities together. We head out of the village on the Belvoir Road, our original plan was to follow this road for about half a mile and then join a footpath. But the traffic, although infrequent is moving at pace, so we opt to turn left and take the Harston Road.

Whilst this adds distance it is a much quieter lane and we are in no rush. To our left is Denton Manor and we soon pass a set of old, ornate iron gates, clearly this entrance is no longer used.

On reaching Sewstern Lane, a track that crosses the road we are on, we turn right passing cottages and then on reaching the disused railway line turn right. This railway line ran from the nearby Woolsthorpe Quarries to join the main Grantham and Nottingham line at Muston.

Our route is easy, for the next two miles we remain on this clear track as it winds its way through the Vale of Belvoir, along the way going under the Belvoir Road.

As we near the canal we leave the track taking a footpath on the right to cross a field and then follow the path besides the canal to Casthorpe Bridge. This path is on the opposite side to the towpath and whilst easy to follow it is slightly overgrown in parts.  At Casthorpe Bridge we turn left across the canal and take the short walk back up the road to Casthorpe House Farm CL. We have covered ten miles on our wander and it has been fascinating seeing some of the local history. We conclude that we much prefer exploring the countryside to towns!

To view this walk in OS Maps Click Here

To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Explorer Map 247 – Grantham


18th September 2017

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2017)

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