This walk is set in the attractive countryside between Thurlby and Bourne. It visits Bourne and the surrounding wooded countryside. It may be uneven and muddy in places.
Grid reference: TF 097 169
Thurlby is found where the Fens meet the gentle slopes of the Kesteven Uplands, the Car Dyke forming the boundary between the two landscape character areas.
The local landscape is well wooded, including the ancient Bourne Wood and Math and Elsea Woods.
The walk uses the line of the former Bourne to Leicester railway and the Roman Car Dyke waterway which linked the River Witham to the River Nene, a length of nearly 96km (60 miles).
At the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 there were six water mills in Bourne. Today there is only one, Baldock’s Mill. It was built on the banks of the Bourne Eau in 1800 and stopped working in the 1920s. It is now managed as a Heritage Centre by Bourne Civic Society.
- 1Turn right onto the High Street, past the Youth Hostel, and follow it as it bends to the right.
- 2As it then bends to the left, turn right onto Crown Lane, towards the school and community centre. Continue straight ahead along the path, keeping the school on the right. Keep straight on past the rear of some houses and follow the path to a road. Cross the road and continue straight ahead along a public footpath. Walk the length of the field to a road. Cross the road, past the grass triangle, and walk along Wood Lane. Continue along Wood Lane until it forks. Take the right-hand lane and follow it until it becomes a footpath, which runs alongside the old railway line, to a road.
- 6Follow the public footpath directly opposite. At the 2nd smaller roundabout (by the playground) bear left and cross the road and follow the public footpath ahead through the spinney. Follow the path along the edge of the spinney for approximately 300m. As the path emerges from the spinney, turn right, and follow the path.
- 7Turn right through a gate and follow the path diagonally left across the field to another gate. Follow the path to the right alongside the water, through Baldock’s Mill arch to South Street.
- 8Turn right, past the church of St Peter and St Paul, which was built as part of a priory for Augustinian canons in 1138. Turn left along Coggles Causeway and follow it to its end. Carry straight on and follow the footpath, with the playing field on the left, to the junction with Victoria Place. Continue straight on to Willoughby Road junction.
- 9Turn right and at the next junction turn left and follow the road for approximately 230m to a public footpath on the right alongside a dyke, the Car Dyke. Follow this footpath alongside the Car Dyke, taking care crossing Cherry Holt Road. Follow the path alongside the Dyke for approximately one mile (1.6 kilometres) to Northorpe Fen Road.
- 10Cross the road and continue to follow the path alongside the Dyke as far as you can to the Manor House. Cross the footbridge over the Dyke and turn left. Cross the lane and continue along the footpath ahead to St Firmin’s Church, named after a little known saint who was the first Bishop of Amiens.
- 11Turn right and follow the road to the A15. Take care crossing this busy road and walk along Thurlby High Street to return to the Methodist Church.
The walk uses roadside paths, field paths and quiet lanes. The busy A15 road is crossed twice. You may encounter stiles and livestock.