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Swinstead and the Drift

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Swinstead and the Drift
Author: Claire, Published: 17 Jul 2013 Walk rating : Rating:star1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar1 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UKstar0 iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
Lincolnshire, Colsterworth
Walk Type: Footpaths and byways
Swinstead and the Drift
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK boot iFootpath - walking guides and directions for the UK
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A 3 mile circular walk from the Lincolnshire village of Swinstead passing through fields and chalk pasture to reach the West Glen River. A climb up the opposite side of the valley is followed by a short section following The Drift, an ancient highway, before a return trip across the valley.

The route has several climbs and descents including one very steep climb up through an uneven rocky path within woodland so take extra care here. The paths will be very muddy in winter and after periods of rain. There are six stiles on route and all of these have enclosed fence surrounds so dogs may need a lift over. The large pasture alongside the West Glen River is used for grazing sheep and the fields are used for rearing game birds so keep dogs under close control. Approximate time 1 to 1.5 hours.

Swinstead is located just a few miles east of Colsterworth. Leave the A1 at Colsterworth and take the A151 east to Corby Glen then turn south onto the B1176 to reach Swinstead. The walk starts from the stone Market Cross which is located at the junction of the B1176 (High Street and Creeton Road). Park on the side of the village roads with consideration for the residents. Approximate post code NG33 4PA.

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Walk Sections

Start to Field Gate
Start to Field Gate

Start point: 52.7904 lat, -0.4916 long
End point: 52.7907 lat, -0.4983 long

From the Market Cross take the B1176 towards Corby Glen and Grantham. Towards the end of the village, with number 48 on the right, fork left down a green track signed as a public footpath. After passing under the power lines, continue for a few paces further to reach the corner of the hedge where you’ll see a gate on the right.

Field Gate to Second Footbridge
Field Gate to Second Footbridge

Start point: 52.7907 lat, -0.4983 long
End point: 52.7857 lat, -0.5101 long

Turn right through the gate and keep ahead along the left edge of the crop field with the hedge on your left. Follow the path alongside the hedge as it swings left. Cross the stile ahead and continue on the left hand edge field path sloping gradually downhill towards a copse of trees at the bottom.

About 100 yards before you reach the bottom of the field, turn left over a stile and then go diagonally right (at about 2 o’clock) crossing down the long grass sloping pasture (note: there will be sheep grazing in this large open pasture).

At the bottom follow the grass track as it swings left between a small group of trees and as you come out into the next open area, turn left hugging the bottom of the grass slopes to your left. Walk ahead with the West Glen River flowing over to the right and the grass banks sloping up to the left. Ignore the first footbridge across the river (you’ll be returning over this later), instead keep ahead on the grass valley bottom following the course of the river on the right until you reach a second footbridge.

Second Footbridge to Large Woodland
Second Footbridge to Large Woodland

Start point: 52.7857 lat, -0.5101 long
End point: 52.7881 lat, -0.5143 long

Cross this second footbridge and then cross the grassland diagonally left to reach a stile which leads you to a steep path heading up into woodland. Climb/scramble up the steep woodland slope with care and at the top you’ll reach a T-junction with a minor path. Turn right and follow the path ahead and then swinging left to emerge to a T-junction with a wide grass track.

Turn right along the straight hedge-lined track. This is ‘The Drift’, an ancient highway that connects the villages of Creeton and Swayfield and runs parallel with the main east coast railway. Along with the Swinstead Valley, it is a rare example of good quality calcareous grassland and so is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. You’re likely to see a wonderful array of wildflowers, butterflies and other insects as you walk.

When you reach the beginning of a large woodland to your right, just before the track begins to slope downhill, turn right onto a track which runs with the woodland to the left and an open field to the right.

Large Woodland to End
Large Woodland to End

Start point: 52.7881 lat, -0.5143 long
End point: 52.7907 lat, -0.4916 long

At the bottom of the slope, cross the stile and a few paces ahead you’ll reach the footbridge that you passed earlier. Cross the footbridge and from this point you’ll be retracing your steps back to the start.

To do this, turn left at the far side of the bridge, with the river on the left and grass banks sloping up to the right. Swing right around the end of this first grass bank and pass between some trees. Cross up the grass slope diagonally left to reach the stile in the top corner. Cross this and turn right along the field edge. Cross the next stile in front of you and follow the hedgeline ahead and then bending right, emerging through a gate to a T-junction with a track. Turn left along the track and then turn right along the village road to reach the Market Cross where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2013 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

2 comments for "Swinstead and the Drift"

lovely walk in the winter

By Beanojosh on 04 Jan 2015

A really lovely walks. Thoroughly enjoyed it and the views were beautiful.

By sueb on 12 Apr 2015

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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