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Stepping Out: River Witham Circular

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Stepping Out: River Witham Circular
Author: CountrysideNK, Published: 21 Feb 2018 Walk Rating:star1  Stepping Out: River Witham Circularstar1  Stepping Out: River Witham Circularstar1  Stepping Out: River Witham Circularstar1  Stepping Out: River Witham Circularstar0  Stepping Out: River Witham Circular
Lincolnshire, Lincoln
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Stepping Out: River Witham Circular
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot  Stepping Out: River Witham Circular boot  Stepping Out: River Witham Circular
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0001_sunny  Stepping Out: River Witham CircularToday's weather
20 °C, Clear/sunny, Wind: 7 mph NW
Next few days: Hover over icon for more info.
0009_light_rain_showers  Stepping Out: River Witham Circular 0002_sunny_intervals  Stepping Out: River Witham Circular 0002_sunny_intervals  Stepping Out: River Witham Circular 0002_sunny_intervals  Stepping Out: River Witham Circular 0002_sunny_intervals  Stepping Out: River Witham Circular

A 4.5 mile (7.5km) circular walk from North Hykeham, near Lincoln in Lincolnshire. The walk follows long stretches of riverside paths along the River Witham, with views of Lincoln Cathedral and Lincoln Edge along the way. This walk is part of the Stepping Out network, published through a collaboration between iFootpath and North Kesteven District Council to inspire more people to enjoy the district’s landscapes, ancient woodland, historic buildings and charming villages.

The walk is relatively flat and follows grass riverbanks, field edge paths and one cross-field path, all of which can be muddy (and slippery) after periods of rain or in the winter. There are no stiles on route, but you will need to negotiate kissing gates, small metal gates, two small flights of steps and a couple of (quite generous) squeeze gaps. You will not be sharing the paths with any farm livestock, but you will need to cross one paddock that is likely to be holding horses. Please remember the Countryside Code. Some paths are provided by kind permission of the landowner, please only use the waymarked paths. Where young stock may be present, please make sure your dog is under firm control in these areas. OS Map Explorer 272. Allow 2.5 hours.

Nearby places of interest include the Natural World Centre (at Whisby Nature Park) and Hill Holt Wood. If you are looking for refreshments, there are several pubs within North Hykeham.

North Hykeham is a small town located immediately south of the city of Lincoln. The walk starts and finishes at the playing fields car park on Fen Lane (alongside the Town Council offices and Witham Court NHS facility). Follow the signs for the Town Council and Witham Court from the main road (Lincoln Road) to join Fen Lane, and you will find the playing field car park on your left. Approximate post code LN6 8EY. For information on bus transport, call Traveline on 0871 2002233 or visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/busrailtravel.

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Walk Sections

Start to Riverside
Start to Riverside

Start point: 53.1863 lat, -0.5762 long
End point: 53.1937 lat, -0.5645 long

Leave the car park via the vehicle entrance and turn left. Follow the road and then a tarmac track which leads you between Witham Court NHS buildings on your right and the Town Council offices and playing fields on your left. At the end of the track, keep ahead across a ditch to reach a fingerpost. Turn left here to join the signed public footpath, a grass track with the drainage ditch running on your left.

Follow this grass track ahead for some distance, later with a fine view of Lincoln Cathedral on the horizon ahead. Eventually you will come to a path junction (with fingerposts visible to your left and right). Turn left to cross the ditch and then turn immediately right through a kissing gate to enter a paddock (which may be holding horses). As you walk into this paddock, you will notice the drainage ditch (now on your right) merges at this point with the River Witham.

Riverside to Newark Road Bridge
Riverside to Newark Road Bridge

Start point: 53.1937 lat, -0.5645 long
End point: 53.202 lat, -0.5552 long

Follow the path ahead through the horse paddock and exit via two small metal gates. Now simply continue on the riverbank path heading north, with the River Witham running on your right. The river has an interesting history and this stretch of riverbank is a good place to explore this…

During the Roman period, the river basin underwent dredging, the addition of lock and sluice gates and the clearance of woodland upstream which raised water levels. As the Empire imploded and contact was lost with Rome in about 410, the following 500 years saw a lack of channel maintenance leading to accumulations of peaty deposits. Archaeologists have found evidence to suggest that is wasn’t until the beginning of the 900s that the River Witham was cleared for commercial river traffic. By the Middle Ages, the navigable Witham between Lincoln and Boston linked the city to the channel ports of Flanders and France. In 1762, the Witham Act was passed in parliament which included the widening and deepening of the river from the High Bridge in Lincoln to Chapel Hill. At the same time, a sluice gate was built in Boston, effectively turning the Witham into a main drain for the surrounding lowlands and preparing the way for fen drainage and the agricultural landscape we see today.

Continue until you emerge alongside a petrol station forecourt to reach a junction with Newark Road. Turn right to cross the river via Newark Road Bridge.

Newark Road Bridge to Concrete Footbridge
Newark Road Bridge to Concrete Footbridge

Start point: 53.202 lat, -0.5552 long
End point: 53.1794 lat, -0.5704 long

Immediately after the bridge, turn right through the kissing gate to join the opposite river bank. On your left are the Bracebridge Hall fishing ponds, a relic from the time when Bracebridge Hall stood in extensive grounds.

Follow the riverside path for 3km. During the latter section of this stretch, you will pass a water treatment works on your left, which includes a pipe bridge across the river on your right. About 500 metres later you will come to a concrete footbridge over the river (with squeeze gaps at each end). Turn right to cross the river via this footbridge.

Concrete Footbridge to End
Concrete Footbridge to End

Start point: 53.1794 lat, -0.5704 long
End point: 53.1865 lat, -0.5762 long

At the far side of the footbridge, turn right and immediately fork left onto the track leading you down the grass bank. At the bottom of this short slope, turn left through a small metal gate to join a field-edge footpath (with a hedgerow running on you right). Keep ahead along the edge of two crop fields to reach a crop field ahead. Cross this field at about 1 o’clock (heading for the fingerpost visible on the far side).

At the far side of the field, cross the ditch ahead and then turn immediately right, to follow the grass footpath with the ditch running on your right. Stay with this path as it leads you through a staggered barrier and past fenced horse paddocks on your left. At the end of the paddocks, cross the grass bank ahead (via the wooden steps) and then turn right to follow the grass track with a drainage ditch running on your left.

Continue past several houses on your left and, where these end, you will see a fingerpost and ditch bridge at a path junction (which you should recognise from the outward leg of the walk). Turn left over the ditch bridge, walk ahead along Fen Lane and this leads you directly back to the car park where the walk began.

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network  Stepping Out: River Witham Circular Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2018 by the author countrysideNK and may not be reproduced without permission.


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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