A Pilgrimage to the Ramblers Church:
A lovely warm day, a gentle mist burning off the harvested fields of this part of rural Lincolnshire. We walked this short walk from Tealby, a most attractive village set in the midst of the rolling downlands and wooded hillsides of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
Walking past the parish church, we climbed through chalk and clay downlands to North Wold Farm, the tiny old farmhouse seemingly deserted and overwhelmed by modern farm buildings.
This is a landscape of very wide views, downland all around and the Lincolnshire plain beyond. A tiny bit of quiet lane walking brought us to a path leading down to Risley Manor Farm, a very attractive set of buildings undergoing some restoration, including a new well-built boundary wall – the wall-makers were still at work. Nice to see craftsmanship in action – it is pretty rare in our throwaway society.
We turned on to the Viking Way long-distance path to Walesby, rambling across rough heathland and small stretches of trees and down on the edge of the high ground of the Wolds. We saw deer along the way, albeit in the fields of the deer farm.
At last the old parish church of Walesby came into view. Since it was built the village has relocated itself off this hillside and into the valley. But you can still see the humps and bumps of the old medieval village. There are lot of antiquities in this area, including a Roman villa just a few hundred yards away.
The church (All Saints) is a lovely ironstone red, now known as the Ramblers Church, the scene of an annual pilgrimage and ramblers’ church service. Inside it is a delight with its stained glass window celebrating ramblers and cyclists ( indeed we saw several of both during the course of this walk). There is a most attractive freestanding wooden pulpit, some white-stained box pews and a number of very good carved stone heads. On the hour the carillon and bells range out across the Wolds and the plain beyond.
We walked down into the newer village of Walesby to see the present church, which is simple and attractive.
On the way back we had a good look around Tealby church with its many monuments to the Tennyson d’Eyncourt family, all relatives of the poet. Then down to the King’s Head pub (the oldest thatched pub in Lincolnshire for a drink.
And congratulations on some very well waymarked rights of way and further congratulations to the local farmers who have made such a good job of restoring the lines of paths after harvesting.
If you thought that Lincolnshire was all flatlands, then do visit the Wolds. They are a revelation!