A circular walk around the streets in the centre of the historic town of Alford. The name derives from either the Old English “alder ford” or “ford by a heathen temple”. Here the Lincolnshire Wolds meets the Lindsey Marsh.
Centred around three market places, there is a wealth of 17th and 18th century buildings including a thatched Manor House, a working windmill and fine 14th century church.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Facing the house, turn left. Go along West Street past the 17th/18th century thatched cottages on your right and look at the eyelid dormer windows on the house behind. Opposite is the White Horse Hotel, a 17th century Posting House.
Along from the White Horse is Merton Lodge, a late 17th century house. Currently, this is the local doctor’s surgery. Cross Commercial Road and continue along West Street. On the opposite side of the road are the Sir Robert Christopher Alms-houses. Endowed by Sir Robert in 1668, the mud & stud buildings were replaced in 1868. Adjacent is a 17th century thatched cottage. A little further on the current guitar workshop of John LeVoi was originally a Girls National School and then a Roman Catholic Church.
At the corner of Dashwood Road cross West Street, to view the old Boys National School on the corner of Parsons Lane. Then turn back along West Street, to get a better view of the thatched terraced cottages and then a good view of the 17th century Manor House.
After the pedestrian crossing, turn right into North Market Place. Immediately on the left is the red granite monumental fountain erected to commemorate the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. A little further on your right, is the Windmill Hotel with a Blue plaque about Thomas Paine.
Ahead you can see the Corn Exchange. The plaque on the side refers to the granting of a charter to hold a market. Turn right into Windmill Lane and around the corner to a white building “Amber House”. Built in 1844 it was the old Police Station and adjacent magistrate’s court.
Just before Amber House cross the road and follow the tarmac footpath on the right-hand side of the Old Bowling Green estate, into the park. At the gazebo turn right to the new bandstand, with specially commissioned wrought ironwork incorporating Alford scenes.
Continue on the path to the park gates memorial obelisk commemorating the fallen in the two world wars.
(1) Turn left out of the park onto South Street. On the right-hand side is the distinctive Primitive Methodist chapel built in 1856, now an undertakers, with the Black Horse, built in 1820, a little further on.
Entering South Market place, the Wold Grift Drain re-emerges on the right hand side. Passing Barclay’s Bank, there is a narrow passage (The Hole in the Wall”).
There was a beerhouse in the Hole in the Wall perhaps where there is a Georgian bow-fronted window or a hole in the wall through which the beer was served. At the end of the passage, cross the road, using the light-controlled pedestrian crossing if necessary.
Turn right and follow the footpath in front of St Wilfrid’s Church. Opposite one can see two of the older buildings in Alford. The 18th century Hanby Hall which is rumoured to have an underground passage to the churchyard and the ivy covered 17th century Ivy House.
If you have time, go into the church. In the chancel is the 17th Century tomb of Sir Robert and Dame Elizabeth Christopher.
Continuing along East Street, just after the Anchor Inn, is No 3 East Street. Again 17th century, it originally faced the street, but fairly early on was reworked to face the Church (or the Inn).
''Continue along East Street, past Ormsby Lodge. This was once the townhouse of the Massingberd family, who had an estate in South Ormsby. Further, on you pass a pair of interesting chequer-board brickwork cottages.
(2) Cross the road to see the Old Vicarage (now no. 31), close to the junction with Bilsby Road. Designed by James Fowler of Louth, it was built in 1852 and has an unusual diaper brickwork design. Continue back towards town.
Cross the road by the Co-op and continue past St Wilfrid’s. Go past Candlehouse Lane and then turn right down Chapel Street. On the right are the former premises of Hildred & Son - famous for Hildred’s Butterscotch sweets.
Continue along and take the first left and then straight on through the pedestrian path into Park Lane. Turn left to see the old Magistrates Court (built 1897) with its fine brickwork and the old Police Station. Continue to the end of Park Lane; turn right to arrive back at the Manor House.
Why not follow the visitor route around the house and gardens finishing with a cup of tea in the tearoom?(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 23ft - Alford Manor House
1 : mi 0.86 - alt. 20ft - South Street
2 : mi 1.52 - alt. 36ft - The Old Vicarage
D/A : mi 2.13 - alt. 23ft - Old Magistrates Court
Maps: OS Landranger 122 and OS Explorer 274
Parking: Long term car parks in both Millers Way off East Street (Grid ref: TF456 762 Postcode: LN13 9DY) and also in South Street (Grid ref: TF 455 759 Postcode LN13 9AJ). Please check for parking tariffs.
Terrain: A level route on pavements and tarmac paths. A good route for all.
Dogs: Should be kept on a lead at all times.
Refreshments: Cafes and pubs in Alford
Toilets: In the car park in South Street. Also in the Alford Corn Exchange, weekdays 09:00 – 13:00.
Stiles: No stiles
The Lincolnshire Wolds is a nationally important and cherished landscape. Most of it was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1973. Covering an area of 558 square kilometres or 216 square miles, the AONB contains the highest ground in eastern England between Yorkshire and Kent, rising to over 150m along its western edge. Rolling chalk hills and areas of sandstone and clay underlie this attractive landscape.
The Lincolnshire Wolds has been inhabited since prehistoric times and the appearance of the countryside today has been greatly influenced by past and present agricultural practices.
A Countryside Service helps to protect and enhance the landscape through partnership projects with local landowners, farmers, parish councils, businesses and residents of the Wolds.
Office Address :
Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service
Lincs LN11 0DA
Phone: 01522 555780 Twitter: @LincsWoldsAONB
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The walk starts from the Alford Manor House in West Street. Built in 1611, it is reputedly the largest thatched Manor House in England; an H shaped building with quite unusual brick & timber construction. At the side of the garden is the Wold Grift Drain, which disappears under West Street and a number of properties before re-emerging in South Market Place.
The town has strong connections with the early days of the USA. Thomas Paine author of Rights of Man and Ann Hutchinson an early female preacher in Massachusetts both lived in Alford; John Smith of Jamestown Virginia (from Willoughby near Alford) was educated here.
At the edge of the town is the Windmill. Built by Sam Oxley in 1815, the Grade 1 listed five sailed mill still produces flour today. Call in and have a look around.
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