Reported in the Glenside News in August 1995 …
From Richard Foers …
Prior to our July footpath walk Marian and I went to do a recce of the walks on the Culverthorpe Estate, ‘out in the sticks’ to the SW of Sleaford, where Marian is due to do a sponsored walk for WI activities later this year. Centrepiece of the estate is a large lake some distance in front of the house and there are three different walks of varying lengths which border the fields adjacent to the house and the lake. The routes we followed were all well marked and well maintained and were a pleasure to walk. The estate had not changed significant ownership for a number of years and we reflected favourably on the beneficence of the landed gentry in opening their lands to the general benefit in such a well organised and structured way which gives pleasure and recreation to so many. Unfortunately we learned that there has been a recent change of ownership. Already way-marking signs for the path which passes at a discrete distance in front of the house have ‘disappeared’, whilst in conversation with an elderly fisherman by the lakeside, which he had fished man and boy for the past 40 years, we learned that his local angling association have been given notice to quit recently.
We reflected on the similarity variable attitudes of local landowners since we came to the village some 16 years ago, when local fishermen were permitted to fish the upper Holywell lake in exchange for maintaining the lake in good order and it was also possible to walk the old railway line – well flowered in Spring and rich in Autumn fruits – as well as the old coach road to Stocken. Apart from the obvious danger when racehorses are using what is now the railway line gallop it is difficult to understand why some landowners are so determined to exclude everyone but themselves from their land, thereby denying pleasures to many, in the absence of any evidence of vandalism.
This attitude was reflected during our walk to Stocken on a beautiful Sunday morning – yes, we actually did it this month – where we met some areas with a well defined footpath thoughtfully cleared for use in some areas and impenetrable fields of wheat where there should have been a clear footpath elsewhere. Moreover, way-marking signs which had been in place in the Spring have disappeared at three locations. Thus I am pleased that the Castle Bytham Parish Council is pressing ahead with its partnership with Lincolnshire County Council to hopefully bring a common standard to local footpath management which I first mentioned in the June Glenside News. Presently I understand Lincolnshire County Council are dragging their feet over formalising the arrangement, although getting wayside markers into this hard ground during the prolonged drought would not be an easy task.
With the wheat so tall sightings of interest were a little limited, although at one point a young leveret did spring from cover, whilst there was evidence of partridge, pigeon, fox and badger, in addition to the skeleton of a young deer which had been well fleshed when I had first researched the route a couple of months ago. Fortunately a cool breeze helped to keep the temperature down in the valley as we returned to the village after a most enjoyable 1 1/2 hours.
During this walk I was able to announce a date for your diaries – Saturday 21 October, when author, broadcaster and naturalist Eric Simms will be giving us an illustrated talk on his South Witham Nature Reserve in the village hall, on behalf of the Lincolnshire Trust. The event will close our formal footpath walking season and although details have yet to be finalised it will be open to all at a nominal cost to cover refreshments and hall hire. We also felt it would be nice to end our walking season with a walk round the Highways and Byways of Morkery Wood followed by a picnic lunch.
August Walk …
The August walk will take place as usual on the second Sunday of the month, the 12th, leaving the Castle Inn at the usual time of 10.30am. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the beauties of our local countryside. The route for this walk has yet to be decided but is likely to take in the region of 1 1/2 hours.
Added : 18/12/11 : MG