I can thoroughly recommend a trip to Stourton Estates in Baumber near Horncastle. They are a family run business who have farmed this land since the 1920’s. It is mainly an arable farm but they now have a herd of Red Deer living on their parkland. Throughout the year they run open days where you can go on a deer safari. Contact http://www.stourtonestates.co.uk to find out more. We visited recently and had a marvellous time. Food is thrown down near the tractor and trailer so that the deer come up close. Some of them were heavily pregnant and about to give birth. As we went round we got a running commentary and learned so much. There is food and drink on offer and the chance to buy venison when you return back to the arboretum. If you are feeling energetic there are some lovely walks to go on too.
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!)
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.