3 hours


West Keal & Old Bolingbroke Walk Long

West Keal,Old Bolingbroke

Enjoy a walk in the undulating countryside of the south Wolds taking in the pretty village of Old Bolingbroke and East Keal, Old Bolingbroke Castle and Keal Carr Nature reserve.

Starting point
Main Road
West Keal
PE23 4BE
Grid reference TF 367 633

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Underlying the area are Jurassic clays and Spilsby sandstone.  The latter was used locally for building, and St Helen’s church at West Keal is a good example. The south-western extremity of this sandstone ridge, Hall Hill, between West Keal and Old Bolingbroke, is surrounded on three sides by steep escarpments and is a dominant feature in the local landscape.  It has been used throughout history as a place to bury the dead, and a Saxon cemetery and Bronze Age cremations have been found there.

By the time of the Domesday Book both East and West Keal villages were well established. The name Keal originating from Kjolr, Old  English meaning of ‘a ridge’.

Bolingbroke, a 5th or 6th century Saxon name means ‘the home by the brook of Bulla’s people’. Mentioned in the Domesday Book as having a church, three mills, a market and annual fair, the village’s prosperity really took off with the building of the castle around 1220.

  • 1Walk along Church Lane. At the top of the lane bear left and cross the field heading towards the church. Walk along the top edge of the second field and enter the churchyard through the gate.
  • 2 Leave the churchyard through the main gate on the left and follow the lane straight ahead. At the end of the lane turn right and follow the tree-lined road for approximately 0.5 miles (800m) to a road junction.
  • 3At the road junction follow the road left to Old Bolingbroke. In the village follow the road signed Mavis Enderby. At the T-junction turn right and then almost immediately left along Moat Lane to the entrance of Bolingbroke Castle. Carry on along the lane past the Black Horse Inn to a road junction.
  • 4Turn right, past St Peter’s and St Paul’s church, and follow the road as it bends right and then left, signed to Spilsby.
  • 5 Approximately 50m after the entrance to Sow Dales Reserve and just before the village sign turn right onto the public footpath. Follow this path up hill and to the right of the large ash tree. Follow the path across the next field by bearing right to the hedge and tree, and then continue by walking along the other side of the hedge. Follow the path until it comes out into a field. Walk straight across the field to the right end of the hedge. Then follow the field edge with the hedge on your left. Continue along the edge of the next field. At the gap in the hedge on the left and corner of the fields bear right following the footpath sign. Follow the sign posted route from the end of the hedge by bearing left to a bridge. Bear left uphill across the next field to the edge of the woodland and a footpath sign. Continue in the same direction to cross the field to the road.
  • 6Cross the road, turn right and almost immediately turn left to follow the public footpath across the field to a footpath sign on the horizon. At the sign turn right and follow the track, ignoring a footpath on the left. The path continues between two fields. Continue along the edge of the next field beside a hedge.
  • 7Where the footpath meets a bridleway, in front of a barn, turn right along the bridleway. At the next path junction turn right along the footpath.
  • 8Approximately 50m after the stream turn left onto another footpath and bear left to the corner of the field and the entrance into Keal Carr Nature Reserve. Enter the reserve and follow the footpath along a boardwalk and up some steps.
  • 9Follow the footpath sign out of the reserve and walk along the fence line for 50m before turning left across the field heading towards the barns on the far side of the A16 road.
  • 10At the A16 turn right and follow the roadside path. Take the public footpath on the right immediately after the road to Old Bolingbroke. Turn left in front of the house, to return to the A16. Turn right and follow the roadside path for approximately 0.75 miles (one kilometre).
  • 11Take the public footpath on the right just after the turning to Old Bolingbroke and cross the field, go behind the farm buildings and through the yard to the lane. Turn left and, at the main road, right to return to the start.

The walk uses quiet roads, field paths, tracks and roadside paths. You are likely to encounter stiles and livestock.

Lincolnshire wildlife trust

Keal Carr

Described as the finest surviving example of the alder carrs of the southern Wolds, growing in small valleys created by streams cutting down through the soft Spilsby Sandstone into the Kimmeridge Clay below. 

more information

Starting point

Main Road

West Keal

PE23 4BE

Grid reference TF 367 633