4 weeks in Bucknall, WoodHall Spa (Week one)

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Monday September 3 and we awake in our English house at Bucknall in Lincolnshire. The day is fine and sunny so after breakfast we set off on the bikes and head for the River Witham, initially along the road out of the village and then down a lane that passes through farmland to the banks of the River. The old river used to meander across the Fens but it was straightened into a navigable waterway between Boston and Lincoln and is still used by pleasure craft including the narrow boats.
We head along the asphalt path beside the river that used to be a rail line past the village of Southry until we reach Bardney. We continue on to Bardney lock 9 miles from Lincoln and then retrace our path to Bardney where we have a wonderful mid-day dinner at the 'Nags Head'.
History surrounds us with the ruins of an Abbey that dates back to before the Norman conquest, a 14th century church and the memorial to RAF No. 9 Squadron (Lancasters) in the village green.
On our return we stop at another pub 'the Riverside Inn' at Southry and enjoy another shandy before pedalling back to Bucknall and a well earned rest. What a great day out and the weather looks fine for the rest of the week.
Tuesday 4th. Weather fine but cloudy now but no sign of rain. It's unbelievably quiet here most of the time. The occasional farm machine or the roar of jet fighters overhead from nearby Conningsby base. This is also home to the battle of Britain Memorial Flight and we have already seen the Lancaster, a spitfire and a hurricane flying overhead.
Off on the bikes toward Woodall Spa via Hale road and Stixwood, easy cycling on the country lanes and not too much traffic. Takes us about 40 minutes with a few stops and we call in at the Petwood Hotel where we have a picnic lunch in the massive grounds(see photo). The hotel served as the officers mess for the famous 617 squadron otherwise known as the 'Dambusters'. They were based at nearby Conningsby and Woodhall Spa and their memorial is in the centre of Woodhall Spa. It takes the form of a breached dam wall with the names of those KIA inscribed on the wall either side of the breach. One of the aircrew named is a C L Fox - rather bizarre!!
We walked around Woodhall shops and bought a few grocery items before having an ordinary latte and even less impressive scone( see photo). For a special Lincolnshire treat, leave your scones for a few days then toast them and serve with a little jam and cream!! Then we headed for home via the Witham river rail track and Campney lane. We were back by 5.30pm. Another great day out.

Today we caught the bus to Lincoln just before 10 with the aim of doing some shopping, collecting our train tickets, visiting the Cathedral and Castle and having another pub lunch. Well we got the tickets and did some shopping and had a nice pub lunch at ' the Lamb and the flag' and we climbed the steep street to the Cathedral and Castle only to find that the University Graduation ceremonies were taking place and we really could not get a good look. A little disappointing but thats life. Maybe we will go back another day. Apart from that we had a lovely day out and the weather was just lovely though a bit of a coolish breeze today. The big bonus was that the bus driver accepted our WA Seniors cards and we didn't have to pay for our trip. Yay!
Thursday the 6th. Another fine day but cooler and windier. We decide to have the morning at home and a cross country ramble after lunch. We set off at 1.30 and using country lanes and public footpaths across farmland make it to the village of Minting at about 2.45 a distance of about 4.5kms. We find the site of the old abbey that dates back to the 12th century and sit down for a rest on a commemorative seat. Moving on around the corner we discover the Sebastapol pub that Vic told us about but it has closed at 2.30 and won't open again till 6 so we set off for Horsington about 5.5 Kms away. Just out of Minting I discover I have left the phone on the seat in Minting so I have to walk back a km to collect it! Phew! It was there of course and would probably have been there next week as well. Off I go again and collect Mary sitting in the grass beside the road and we set off for Horsington 5 km away. About an hour and a half later we find the Pub 'The Elder Tree Inn' and spend a lovely hour chatting to two friendly locals over 2 pints of Old Speckled Hen while Mary enjoyed a pint of Pear cider. About 5.40 we leave the pub and walk the 3 Kms back to Bucknall across the fields and down the road. Home by 6.20. Another great day. About 14 km walk but very enjoyable. We will sleep well tonight.
Friday and another fine day. Off to Horncastle by bus today and we have lunch at Mantles fish and chips down in their basement restaurant we enjoy a serve of haddock and chips, very nice. A wander around this old market town that is situated at the meeting of the Bain and Waring rivers it dates from Roman Times and part of the Roman wall still stands. Impressive. We do a small grocery shop and catch the 4.30 bus home.
Today we had a lazy morning and listen to the All Blacks win and then the Dockers beat Geelong. Well done. After lunch we rode to along the water rail cycle path to the bridge near Woodhall Spa and back to Southrey to the Riverside Inn where we booked a Sunday Roast for tomorrow. After a couple of pints of the local brew and another pint of cider we wobble our way back up Campney lane to Bucknall. Looking forward to that Sunday Roast and will tell you what it was like in next weeks blog. That's it from Lincolnshire for this week.
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Julia on

Sounding gorgeous there - hope you dont mind but I've copied it to Murray and Sue - I'm sure dad would be interested in the bit about the airforce base. Thanks. xx

Linda D'Cruz on

I did not know you wrote so well - you could have done the weekly newsletter for me !!! Sounds like you are having a fantastic time. Lots of love to both of you.

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