Ermine Street and Torpel Way
Unlike all of our walks so far the forecast was for SUN and as we left chesterfield the sun was up and just the odd smattering of cloud. The Journey was uneventfully with the exception of hitting fog as we passed Grantham on the A1.
Saturdays in Stamford are busy and as the Car park we had planned to use was already full so we drove to other side of the river and started the walk a little but further along at the entrance to Burghley Park
Burghley Park was designed by Lancelot "Capability" Brown and is a fine example of this work the only recent addition is the Diana Memorial Garden added recently but starting to mature as a feature now. We pass the memorial garden and the cricket club and exit the estate via Bottle Lodges and gatehouse with an apt name.
The route takes uphill along the route of "The Great North Road" as it used to travel before the A1 Bypass of the 1960's
As the hill is crested the entrance to Burghley Golf Coarse approaches and we follow the access road ( which is a right of way running down the left hand side) and we re-enter Burghley Estate.
As you walk down this access road it is hard to believe that this time last week this area housed the makeshift stabling area for Burghley Horse Trails a 3 day event. But today the tee,s are busy and the bunkers are full.
As we pass the golf coarse we follow the signs for the Herward Way and in a channel to our left is the line of the old Ermine Street. The roman road from London to Edinburgh and A road of some sort has followed this time ever since. Stamford has been a major staging post on the Great North Road as it was a days riding from London for the London to Edinburgh Stage Coach.
For the next few miles we follow the line of Ermine Street over varied terrain. At one stage we reinstated a footpath after 2 hours after it was planned. We then exited the estate and headed due south passing Barnack Hill and Holes a Site of Special Scientific Interest ( SSSI) but more of that later.
Onward we walked bass what was once the old grand entrance to Walcot hall but now it the back door, but still maintains the grand entrance feel. The path is back on the line of ermine street now and we follow the path to Southorpe. Of the years this has has changed dramatically. The Lat line this walk was undertaking the right of way passed through arable but has now been transformed in to cattle land a an ancient right if way has been declassified to a permissive path !! work that one out.
Once we arrive in Southorpe we start our return leg back to Stamford and travel through the village. On the side of the road can be seen several large stones. These stones are blocked mined from Barnack Hills and holes for the construction of both Peterborough and Ely Cathedrals. Whilst being transported they have fall ed of their transport and been left were they fell. As we reach the a freshly tilde field to the left we can see a monument. many years ago I was privilege to have a look at the monument at close quarters and found it very moving
The monument is dedicated to the dogs of the Walcot Estate and is covered with Latin inscriptions. The monument is private and there is no access but not the less a very wonderful find. But go go and have a look as you leave the right of way and that could get you in trouble.
From here we pass the back of Walcot hall ( now the official entrance) and head into Barnack. If you do this walk in summer on a Sunday you could be treated to a game of crown green bowls or village cricket if your lucky that could be your second match during the walk. We enter Barnack by a bath that runs between home and open country almost into the centre of this Beautiful village full of stone cottaged , slate and thatch roofs but best of all is coming out in front of the gem at the centre of the village.
St. John the Baptist Church, is that gem ,and is a beautiful example a Saxon church, parts of which date back to before the Norman Conquest. Over 1000 years of history in a build that's stone came from less than 300 yards away. The Barnack stone used has also been used in many other churches through out the area. But this church is one of the finest.
From St Johns we leave the village and the rolling hills of the surrounding area and are dumped into the Cambridgeshire flats lands yes the fans are here. The fees from the edge of the village are quiet big as we are in" Big Sky county"
We follow the Torpel Way back to Stamford the route takes us parallel to the Stamford branch line and well follow this back for about 3/4 mile to Ufford Level crossing. Avoiding trains we cross the railway ad start looking for the footpath that gets off the road. You really have to look for this path as it is very will hidden
We are know going to follow the route of Stamford second railway. Many years ago in the time of Beeching Stamford and two railway stations one was a terminus and the other a through station, but Beeching new better and now only the thorough line still exist. The other line was dismantled and the station building has since been covered into flats and apartment which we will pass on our way back to the cars.
The route of the old line runs parallel to the through line and is sandwiched between that and the River Welland this is now a pleasant tree-lined walk but as you go further along the going get more hazardous a the numbers rabbit warrens encroach on the footpath. but after 2-3 miles the path end at Hudd's Mill. Once we I were young Hudd's mill was a deserted rundown and decaying build but some years ago the property was acquired and and been transformed into a wonderful home.
We now return to the cars through Stamford itself taking in some of the wonderful charm. we return to Wharf Road car part where we were going to start from then walk down to the river. we cross the the Welland via the Albert bridge and then to our left. Ahead is the old railway terminus now turned in to wonderful apartments with even better views.
As we pass we then cross over the railway line which passes through Stamford in a series of tunnels which if you did not know would no believe where there. As we now fast the entrance to Burghley Park and the cars.
Another wonderful walk enjoyed by all and one that will be repeated often I think