The villages of Marston and Hougham are situated six miles north of Grantham to the east of the A1, and are surrounded by agricultural land growing wheat, oil seed rape, carrots, potatoes, leeks and turf. Wembley Stadium was turfed from this area.
Each village has its own church, but the village hall, playing field and various village societies are shared. Marston is the larger village and has a pub, the ‘Thorold Arms’, and a primary school. Both villages were mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.
The river Witham rises in South Witham, south of Grantham, and flows through Grantham and Lincoln before flowing into The Wash at Boston. Look out for wildlife as you walk close to the river, including herons and swans.
The Viking Way is the 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 waymarked with a Viking helmet.
- 1Leave the village hall car park and turn right along the main road.
- 2After approximately 200m turn left to Hougham.
- 3In Hougham village take the second left, Coach Road, and follow it to the church.
- 4Follow the footpath through the churchyard and across the field corner to the footbridge and weir over the river Witham. Hougham Manor can be seen on your left. Go over the bridge, across the paddock, through the hedge, and over the bridge.
- 5Carry straight on, along the footpath, across the field towards Marston. This footpath linking the two villages is known as ‘The Beanholme’. On the other side of the bridge turn right along a footpath alongside the ditch. At the junction with a bridleway turn right and follow the field edge to the river. Follow the river bank for about 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres) to where the river is joined by the Foston Beck.
- 10Turn left and follow the Foston Beck for about 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometres) to where it meets the Viking Way.
- 11Continue straight on beside Foston Beck. Ignore the bridge over the beck which takes the Viking Way towards Foston, a footpath over the beck and also, further along, ignore a sign for a bridleway to the left. Continue to follow the beck and bridleway. Walk between the beck and solar farm before turning left at the end of the farm, to the junction of Toll Bar Road and Green Lane.
- 13Cross over into Green Lane and after about 100m step into the field on your left and follow the bridleway which runs alongside Green Lane but on the other side of the ditch or hedge. Continue along the bridleway beside the road for approx. 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres). This leads right to the edge of Marston village where the fields end.
- 14At the edge of Marston village step out onto Barkston Road and follow the road through the village to the sharp left-hand corner where the road becomes School Lane. The entrance to Marston Hall is on this corner. Follow School Lane as far as the end of the Hall’s garden (the end of the stone wall).
- 15Turn right into a narrow footpath leading to the church. However, before doing this go a little further down School Lane to view the school itself on your left (and possibly visit the Thorold Arms on your right), then return to the footpath. At the end of the footpath turn left and follow the village green to Bridge Street and turn right back to the village hall (about 0.3 miles/ about 500m).
The walk uses roadside paths, quiet lanes and field paths. There are no stiles. You may encounter livestock.