Up in the Lincolnshire Wolds, which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty there is an area where one of our greatest poets grew up. Somersby where he was born is not even a village , just a straggle of properties opposite the small church where Tennyson’s father was rector.  Tennyson was born in the Georgian Rectory in 1809, the fourth of 12 children. These days it is a private house and stands next to Somersby Grange, a castellated manor house.  A couple of years ago I got the chance to go on a  Tennyson Walk and therefore was able to visit the grounds of the Rectory and Harrington Hall. Harrington Hall was not far from Somersby and Tennyson visited often. He was hopelessly infatuated with its tenant’s ward Rosa Baring and his poem Maud was inspired by his love for her. His poem The Brook was also  inspired by the small river that runs through the village. There is also an interesting church at nearby Bag Enderby where Tennyson’s father was also rector. The whole area is a great spot for walking and there a  good selection of pubs to try out nearby.

If you visit Lincoln look out for the statue of Tennyson in the grounds of the Cathedral.


Lincolnshire is known as Bomber County because of the sheer number of RAF bases that were built there during World War Two. Lincolnshire was an ideal spot for these because of the flat landscape (suitable for airfields) and its position which made Germany a not too distant target.

This month I have got the chance to visit all the important aviation sites in Lincolnshire to look around and take photographs because I have a commission to write about them in a national newspaper to link in with 2018 being the Centenary year of the RAF.

I have already visited the Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa which was used as the Officers Mess of the Dambusters and is full of memorabilia. I shall be posting on this blog about this and all my other visits. (Most of them are open to the public at certain times so you will be able to visit them too!)

Easton Walled Gardens – post 15

If you are into beautiful gardens with a bit of history thrown in with the added bonus  of a café which serves  yummy food you need to be visiting Easton Walled Gardens near Grantham. Open between the beginning of March and the end of October it is well worth visiting on several different occasions throughout the summer to get the best of all the different displays of flowers. I have visited in Snowdrop Week in February when they open early especially  to see the glorious sight of the gardens covered in a  white blanket of flowers. I have also been in Sweet Pea Week when there is a beautiful display of my favourite flower. However you don’t have to go for the specific weeks . You can go anytime and always enjoy a wander round these amazing gardens.

The story of the gardens is a fascinating one. The site has belonged to the Cholmeley (pronounced  “Chumley”) family since 1592 and was the working garden of a Manor  and the pleasure grounds of a great house. In the early 20th century events such as the two World Wars contributed to the decline of many a country house and Easton Hall was one of them. After being requisitioned in the Second World War it suffered  a lot of damage  and in 1951 the hall was demolished. There are remains left to be seen including  the Formal Gardens, the Gatehouse and the Stableyard . In 2001 Ursula Cholmeley began the arduous task of reviving the gardens which had gone to rack and ruin. She says that if she had waited another five years it would have been to late to save it. Thank goodness she and her loyal team of helpers came to the rescue. Today it is a joy to wander around and imagine how it was back in the glory days in Edwardian times when great shooting and hunting parties took place.

The river that runs through the gardens is the  river Witham before it grows bigger as it wends  its way towards Lincoln and then down to Boston and  to the sea.

To find out more go to http://www.visiteaston.co.ukDSCF6467DSCF6480DSCF6482DSCF6517DSCF6472DSCF6507DSCF6518DSCF6470DSCF6469DSCF6511


Gunby Hall near Spilsby is well worth a visit. It is a National Trust property and as well as being very interesting historically the gardens are beautiful especially in the summer
Tennyson who was a frequent visitor to Gunby Hall as it was not far from his parents home in Somersby. He penned the lines

…an English home -gray twilight pour’d
On dewy pastures,dewy trees
Softer than sleep -all things in order stored
A haunt of ancient peace.

These lines are allegedly composed by Tennyson with Gunby Hall in mind.

The Massingberds who had the Gunby estate were a normal family of country squires until Algernon Massing Massingberd nicknamed “Naughty Algernon” gambled away a great deal of their money and subsequently disappeared up the Amazon and was never seen again. They did have some interesting friends, some who visited Gunby. These included Bonnie Prince Charlie, Dr Johnson, Charles Darwin,the Wedgewoods, the Pre-Raphaelites, Rudyard Kipling, Edward Lear, Virginia Woolf and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Life went on peacefully at Gunby until the Second World War when the house and park were threatened with demolition by the air Ministry as they were thought to be in the path of an aerodrome extension. The squire of the day Field-Marshall Sir Archibald Montgomery-Massingberd campaigned vigourously against . In 1944 Gunby Hall and most of its contents and 1,423 acres of land were presented to the National trust to secure their future for posterity.


For many years I have driven to Peterborough and seen Crowland Abbey looming in the distance and have always vowed to go to have a closer look. Well  I finally DSCF6676 DSCF6681 DSCF6694 DSCF6701 DSCF6704 DSCF6707made it and wished I had done it earlier.

Crowland has  a fascinating history. On a small island known as Croyland a small church and hermitage were established about thirteen centuries ago. A monk called Guthlac came to Croyland to live the life of a hermit and lived there between 699 and 714. A monastic community was established  in the 8th century and Croyland Abbey was dedicated to Saint Mary the Virgin, Saint Bartholomew and Saint Guthlac . Through the years the Abbey was endowed with many estates and in the 10th century Crowland adopted the Benedictine rule. The Abbey was dissolved in 1539 and most of it was demolished but the north aisle of the nave was refurbished and is still used as the parish church. Crowland Abbey was the first church in England to have a tuned peal or ring of bells around 986  and the chimes of the present bells were the first to be broadcast on the wireless on 1st November 1925. The pull ropes are the longest in England at 90 feet.

Once you have had a good look round the Abbey walk into the centre of Crowland to see Trinity Bridge, built in the 1300’s. An amazing three way stone arch bridge, it was built to span the confluence of the River Welland and a tributary . They have been rerouted and it now stands in the middle of Crowland with roads and shops all around it . Do make the effort to go to Crowland, it is well worth a visit.


Market Rasen is a small market town on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds. It is probably best known for its National Hunt Racecourse which holds meetings throughout the year. I have spent many  a chilly Boxing Day there enjoying the racing and getting some fresh air after the excesses of Christmas Day! Another claim to fame is the fact that Bernie Taupin, who wrote most of Elton Johns songs, grew up here. in fact it is claimed that the song ” Saturday night’s alright for fighting” was inspired by his experiences in the local pubs and dance halls.

Not far from Market Rasen is Tealby , a  lovely little village where you can start a walk which leads you through Walesby to Normanby -Le-Wold which is the highest village in Lincolnshire. We did this walk one hot August Bank holiday and were thrilled when we came across the award winning flock of Lincoln Longwool sheep at Risby. In a small wooden building  next to the field of sheep is a honesty box shop full of sheep related products, cold drinks and locally made ice cream.   Refreshed you can then carry on to Walesby where you can visit the Ramblers Church and admire the stained glass window depicting Jesus walking with ramblers and cyclists. Back in Tealby you can rest your weary legs and visit the oldest thatched pub in Lincolnshire, The Kings Head and have a well deserved drink and a meal. If you want to know more about this lovely area and the walk you can visit my website http://www.janekeightley.net where you can read an article I had published in Country Walking magazine about it.