Foston Fossil Trail Walk
The village of Foston lies on an ancient crossroads, situated on the northern edge of the Vale of Belvoir, nearly six miles north-west of Grantham. Foston is traditionally a farming village with the River Witham running to the north of the village and the Foston Beck along the eastern border.
In Roman times there was a settlement in the parish and various pieces of Roman pottery, coins and other artefacts have been found in the area. Foston is most likely to have been founded in the late Anglo-Saxon period.
The Saxons settled in the district and extensive remains have been excavated on Loveden Hill, which can be seen to the east of the village. The name Foston comes from ‘Fot’s village’ from the Old Norse personal name Fotr and the Old English ton - village. Foston also appears in the 1086 Domesday Book as “Foztun”. In the early 19th Century, Foston had several Inns and Staging Houses due to its location on the Great North Road.
The Duke William public house was at the Allington crossroads, The Black Horse still exists in the centre of the village as a private house and flats, but The Black Boy was demolished in 1950, which stood at the Junction of Tow lane and Newark Hill. More recently, the Coopers Arms was demolished to make way for a residential property, situated on Newark Hill.
Starting point: St Peter’s Church, Long Street, Foston, NG32 2LD.
St Peter’s Church
St Peter’s Church dates back to the 12th Century and was substantially restored in 1858. It is a Grade I Listed Building with the chancel arch being one of the finest examples of late Norman buildings in Lincolnshire, having lines of beautiful clean cut chevrons decorating it. Look out for the unusual weather vane on top of the tower.
The Old Hall
The Old Hall is a Grade II Listed Building dating from 1647 as depicted on the worn date stone. The 17th and 18th century improvements and extensions to the hall use the typical masonry-work of their period, which can still be seen today.
The Great North Road
At the turn of the last Century when the Great North Road ran through the village, the vehicles on the road were mainly horse drawn. Travelling circuses would pass through the village along with occasional dancing bears and travellers from all walks of life.
Keep your eyes peeled for these fossils which are abundant along the trail, suggesting that this area was once a shallow sea bed. They are related to oysters and the complete fossil consists of two articulated valves: a larger gnarly-shaped shell (the ‘toenail’) and a smaller, flattened shell, the ‘lid’. The soft parts from inside have long since disappeared.
Ridge and Furrow
The final field on the left contains ridge and furrow, the remnants of medieval ploughing. The ridges are a result of ploughing with non-reversible ploughs on the same piece of land year after year.
The Viking Way
This is a long distance footpath through Lincolnshire; starting on the banks of the Humber and ending at Rutland Water it covers a distance of 147 miles. The route is signposted with a Viking helmet.
- 1Stand with your back to the Church notice board, turn right then immediately left into Chapel Lane. Follow Chapel Lane, past the Scout Hut (Gorrie Hall) and Village Playing Field and continue as it turns from road into track. This section of walk, to the junction with the restricted byway, uses a permissive footpath by kind permission of Baggaley Farms.
- 2After approximately 550m past the Scout Hut turn left onto a restricted byway
- 3Continue on the byway, crossing straight over a junction with a footpath. Follow it as it bends to the left and then the right and then carry straight on for about 250m (with fields on either side).
- 4Turn left onto the Viking Way at the signpost. Walk up to and through the first gate and onto the second gate which leads onto Fallow Lane
- 5Turn left on Fallow Lane and walk back into Foston village, where Fallow Lane becomes Long Street. The Church will be found on your right after about 800m (½ mile).
This walk uses field paths, tracks and quiet roads. There are no stiles and you are unlikely to encounter livestock.