Tetford and Somersby

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Start: Tetford Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8 km) Climbing: 116 metres
Grid Ref: TF 33524 75122 Time: 3 hours Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File About Tetford
Start: Tetford Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8 km)
Climbing: 116 metres Grid Ref: TF 33524 75122
Time: 3 hours Rating: Easy
GPX Route File Google Earth File
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map (1:25,000)

The Walk: Alfred Tennyson was born in Somersby, a small village at the southern end of the Lincolnshire Wolds. These rolling hills, part greensand rock and part chalk, have remarkable varied scenery. At the southern end, they are cut into by several valleys, including that of the River Lymm, the 'brook' of some of Tennyson's best known poems. This walk around the area starts in Tetford, a village scattered around a central core of fields. The village is a mix of modern houses and older cottages in brick, usually whitewashed, with steep pantiled roofs.

St Mary's Church, TetfordSt Mary's Church, Tetford
Alfred, Lord Tennyson's babbling brookAlfred, Lord Tennyson's babbling brook

From Tetford the route to Somersby passes close by the wooded valley of the River Lymm, in which the young Tennyson walked and played. New England and Hollywell woods were his particular favourites - 'the silent woody places by the home that gave me birth'. The lane crosses the river on a single arch bridge that was built in 1827, the year Alfred and his brother Charles had their first poems published in Louth.

The first house you pass as you enter the village of Somersby is largely concealed behind hedges and topiary. This is Somersby House, the rectory where, on 6 August 1809, Tennyson was born. The plain rendered and coloured Georgian house, with box sashes ands a pantile roof, was extended by Tennyson's father. Next door is Somersby Grange, with battlements, crenelated towers and distinctive arched windows. Opposite is the church where the Tennyson family worshipped.

From Somersby the route climbs the flanks of Warden Hill before descending to follow a Roman road, which survives as a good arrow-straight footpath back to Tetford. The road ran from Lincoln to Burgh le Marsh, on the edge of the Fens. From there, a ferry took travellers over the Wash to Norfolk.

Back in Tetford, the walk circles Little London to take in Mansion House. The fields to the south have become a landscaped park, complete with an urn on a pedestal and an urn topped column. The house was built in 1682-83 for John Dymoke, the then Queen's Champion. It was remodelled in the early 19th century when it received the sash windows and doorcase with fluted, Doric half columns and a cornice.

Acknowledgments: Text derived from the Out and Out Series; Discovering the Countryside on Foot. Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia.

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