Taking the high road to the top of the Wolds

Claxby RadarStation in winter, near the Wold's highest point. EMN-170126-160251001
Claxby RadarStation in winter, near the Wold's highest point. EMN-170126-160251001
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In this new monthly column, Wolds writer Peter Thompson will be taking a look at the countryside and its people through his country diary.

‘Like me you will have often been told that Lincolnshire is flat and to those who fly past Stamford and Grantham on the A1 it will certainly seem that way.

Lincoln Cathedral viewed from near Normanby le Wold. EMN-170126-160225001

Lincoln Cathedral viewed from near Normanby le Wold. EMN-170126-160225001

But I always reply - ‘Lincolnshire is not flat where I live!’

The highest land between the Humber and the Dover Straits lies close to the high road from Caistor to Market Rasen, just north of Normanby le Wold.

For years I have taken this route turning left at the Salutation Inn in Nettleton and climbing the hill past Dunn Deal Tea Rooms.

The highest point of the road just, before Claxby Radar Station, reaches 168 metres above sea level.

This is the highest point of our county and the views from here, especially in mid winter, are far reaching as the road follows the scarp of the chalk.

To the south west is Lincoln Cathedral, while to the north is a different kind of monument, one of more recent times, the Humber Bridge.

The best views are often at this time of year, when a northerly wind blows behind a cold front clearing the air.

Quite often in such conditions, the Pennines beyond Sheffield, more than 60 miles away, can be seen.

I have travelled this road in all weathers and have been stuck in snow drifts several times.

Apart from being the highest road, this is the most testing in harsh weather.

One recent winter drift lingered for almost three months, and the route was impassable.

As a minor road it is not salted - so be careful!

Drop down the hill from Normanby le Wold towards Claxby.

Once on low ground, look to your right at this time of year and you may see the first daffodils of spring on the grass verge beyond the right turn to Claxby village.

Just because we live here there is a tendency to take the countryside on our doorstep for granted, rather like those travellers on the A1 who take it as gospel that we ‘yellowbellies’ all live on the flat.

The Wolds are increasingly visited by walkers and cyclists at all times of the year - they are out in their ‘gear’ in all weathers at the weekend.

And of course, the Wolds now holds its own walking festival to help people explore the area.

This year’s event starts on May 20 and will once again offer more than 100 walks over the 16-day event.

Call in to the Caistor Arts and Heritage Centre or the Dunn Deal Tea Rooms in Nettleton for information on the area.

Luckily for us though, the roads of the Western Wolds roads are still largely empty compared to the country’s tourist hotspots - especially my favourite, the high road from Nettleton to Claxby.

It is certainly to be savoured - after all this is where Lincolnshire is hilly!’