This is an enjoyable 5 mile circular walk from Alford up into the Lincolnshire Wolds at Rigsby before returning to Alford. The route follows grass tracks and quiet lanes as well as across some arable land. There are excellent views of the Lincolnshire coast and Alford town from the ridge and Rigsby.
Rigsby church has Norman features and a fine 15th century carved font.
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) Start at 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 an unusual brick & timber construction. Facing the house turn right, then left into Park Lane.
(1) Walk to the end of Park Lane, through the gate and into the field, then bear left. Cross the field and go through a gate in the hedge. Walk across the field, ignoring the waymarked stile to your right, go over the bridge over the Wold Grift Drain.
(2) Immediately after the bridge, go through a gate on your right, and walk diagonally across the field toward a gate. At the gate, bear left, and keep the field edge on your left heading towards a gate. Continue with the hedge on your left until you reach a roadway. Turn right and continue on Tothby Manor drive.
(3) Walk towards Tothby Manor. In front of the house go over the stile and walk diagonally to the left of the house, following the yellow markers. Go over another stile and through the field at the side of the Manor and then over another stile to exit the field.
In 1640s Tothby Manor (to the north of Alford) was the site of a Plague Stone. Originally the stone was on Miles Cross Hill (the road to Spilsby). Here in times of plague, villagers would leave produce and townsfolk would pay by leaving money in a trough cut in the stone, full of vinegar that would purify the money.
(4) Cross over the bridge and turn left facing a field. At this point, you will see the remains of the Manor’s moat. Walk left before crossing the field diagonally to the right, turn left at the footpath marker and follow the edge of the field with the hedge on your right. At the second gap in the hedge line go through and follow the field edge footpath towards the garden centre.
(5) Cross the road and take the footpath. The garden centre is on you right hand side. The path takes you up hill with woodland on your left, eventually emerging into an open field.
The local woods are found on the heavy ground or clay beds. Ash trees are the most common and the woods often show evidence of woodland management i.e. pollarding. In late spring bluebells (and occasionally wild orchids) can be found in the woods and buzzards are often seen quartering the hill sides.
(6) At the top of the path turn left onto the road and walk into the village of Rigsby.
There are fine views of the Wolds from Ailby Wood. From the ridge road and Rigsby Church there are views of Alford and the coast.
(7) Take the footpath through the gate on the left immediately after Rigsby Wold Cottage. Then cross a stile (with Rigsby Church to your right) and head downhill bearing left to a waymarked gate. Walk ahead through the middle of a grass field and bear right at a signpost to a stile and bridge.
(8) Cross the bridge and follow the path alongside hedges over three bridges to the road. Turn left at the main road to head back into Alford and your starting point.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 23ft - Alford Manor House
1 : mi 0.17 - alt. 26ft - Park Lane
2 : mi 0.31 - alt. 16ft - The bridge
3 : mi 0.91 - alt. 30ft - Towards Tothby Manor
4 : mi 1.04 - alt. 23ft - The bridge
5 : mi 1.52 - alt. 36ft - Garden centre
6 : mi 2.56 - alt. 161ft - Towards Rigsby
7 : mi 2.85 - alt. 167ft - Rigsby Wold Cottage
8 : mi 3.15 - alt. 82ft - Cross the bridge
D/A : mi 4.67 - alt. 23ft - Alford Manor House
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: Some of the footpaths are over arable land and therefore can be muddy. Some roadside walking near Rigsby Church
Dogs: Some fields may contain livestock – dogs should be kept on a lead at all times.
Refreshments: Cafes and pubs in Alford
Toilets: In the car park off South Street and in the Alford Corn Exchange, weekdays 09:00 – 13:00.
Stiles: Several. Some are stock proof and therefore may be difficult for some dogs.
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.
Drover's Road - The road on the ridge, with a central tarmac road and wide grassy verges, is an old drover’s road or ‘swath’. These highways, which were bordered by high hawthorn hedges, have been made by drovers over the centuries driving sheep or cattle to market, connecting the wolds with centres of population. The width of a ‘swath’ was the approximate size of a small flock of sheep. So about twenty sheep could graze alongside one another as they made their slow way over the hills.
Rigsby Church - Rigsby Church of St James (originally built in the 1200s) is the “mother church” of the church in Alford. It was rebuilt in 1865 in the Norman style and retains its original Norman Chancel arch (now leading to the vestry). The west doorway is also Norman on the inner side. The traceried font near the west door is 15th century as is the medieval helmet on the left of the vestry.
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