The Lindsey Trail is a new route in the Lincolnshire Wolds which is designed for walkers, cyclists, riders and carriage drivers. It opened in June 2012 and Inharness magazine #23 is featuring it with views from two drivers who have already travelled along it. You can find out more and dowload a leaflet and maps of the Lindsey Trail from www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/countryside.
In June Stephanie Dale of Cotswold Carriage Driving, Learntocarriagedrive.co.uk, spent three days exploring and in August Sheenagha Lee-Farrah decided to drive it in its entirety and to raise money for her favourite charity at the same time.
This is Sheenagha’s diary: 13 August 2012 – “AT THE START”
After setting up camp at Atinas Stud, Aswarby, (breeders of section C and D Welsh Cobs) on the Sunday tea-time, Debs and I sat down to a much-needed cuppa and cold meat salad tea. All 7 dogs we had with us were settled and Rosie had grazed a little on arrival, then had a wash, rug on (more to stop midges biting than to keep her clean or warm). She had her supper and night cap of haylage net, and we never heard another peep out of any animal after that. We sat outside the lorry for some time, watching the odd farm vehicle go by with its load on, and then we also retired to the box.
DAY 1: Willingham Woods Picnic Area
Not quite up with the lark but up with the wimper of baby lurcher waiting to do his early morning tiddle. 5.40a.m. And so the day began, somewhat earlier than planned but, hey ho, Debs cooked a mean full English for us whilst Rosie and I had a refreshing shower (well, the trough and some shower gel), she had her breakfast and we ate ours.
As the start of this trail was a few miles away we had to rearrange the lorry from being our sleeping quarters to once again being a horse and carriage lorry – no mean feat at 8 a.m. – but it was done and we left for Willingham Woods to start our adventure.
On our arrival there were so many people parked up just to walk dogs through the woods or for a cuppa and burger from the permanent snack bar built there or, of course, to use the toilets. Anyway, I decided to strike whilst I could for a quick whip-round collection for Marie Curie. So I rapidly harnessed Rosie and put-to and walked through the car park, shouting in my dulcet tones “I’m doing 75 miles for Marie Curie charity”. Well people came over to the carriage and dropped change into my official bucket! I was chuffed with the response so, as I saw a bus pull up, I half halted and waited for the passengers to find their purses! “Well done and thank you everyone.”
In the meantime Debs and I were also joined by a lady who we affectionately call ‘Auntie Kim’. She had driven from South Witham, nr. Grantham, to the start line to help us collect ourselves and took a large amount of photos on her Ipad (posh). After thanking everyone I was escorted over the road and the challenge began…..
Oooooh a little worried as I was waved goodbye, but soon chilled out and accompanying me and Rosie was my ever-faithful little terrier Tuppence who loved it all until, 5 miles into the drive, found that the terrain got a little bumpy and she was bounced off into the undergrowth. I whoad up my steed, jumped off and collected a rather shocked Tuppence and popped her back up on the seat! Weather –yep – great, not hot and a slight breeze to keep the flies at bay. Rosie was very eager and we soon covered 9 miles, having done off- and on-road beautifully. 10 miles, 11 miles and then at 12 miles I was getting a sore butt and got off to walk maybe half a mile before getting back on the carriage. Everywhere had names from tin sheds to areas of shrubland. Anyway I saw the sign Legsby – how nice a hamlet it was. It had a lovely display of private gardens at the houses and a church with an entrance that was fit for all marriage photography, then, before I knew where I was I was coming up along the main road to Willingham Forest and phoning for help to be escorted back over the main road again. Whilst I was washing Rosie down people were coming and placing money in the collection bucket and taking photos. It was a pleasant first day. ‘Well done Rosie, my dear pony.’
After a night of heavy rain, we woke to a beautiful morning, heat already in the sun and a nice breeze keeping flies at bay. We headed up to next stop and Debs and I said our goodbyes for a few hours and confirmed our meeting up place. Hainton was our starting place roughly, well the public house we decided to unload at, as it was safe (as combining was in full swing and the roads were very narrow. We thought it best to keep out of the way). Then we went straight to South Willingham – then to Biscathorpe, which was road way, until we hit off-road at Gayton le Wold which went all the way to Glebe Farm, to Manor Farm, where there was a small amount of roadway, then tracks to Cawkwell. There we had a harness break and enjoyed the views and a nice cup of flavoured water. Rosie had a grass snack for 15 minutes then was tethered up to rest awhile under a tree, before setting off again. Now on our way to Belchford Hill and finish at Tetford Hill for the day.
Day 3: INTO THE CHALLENGE
Up with the sunshine once again, feeling very fresh and ready to drive more off- road today than on-road according to my next map. Today’s area covers Lusby, Hareby, Miningsby, Hameringham, Greetham, Ashby Puerorum –the boot-shape part of the trial and the lowest part of the map.
It was all the hills I had been warned about but Rosie just put shoulders into her harness and pulled us up to the tops! The village people were mowing lawns, cutting hedges and, as I walked through the villages, I stopped to talk and explain my intentions. On hearing what I was doing many people went into their homes and brought change out for the collection box. I’d bid them good day and walk on.
I came to my first obstacle just through the hamlet of Hareby – ROAD CLOSED! Oh no! I stopped Rosie, tethered her whilst I worked out my next move. A pipeline was being laid, I was told, from one side of the Wolds roughly to the other. I had to go 5 miles around the diversion to meet up with the trail again – oooow!!! I decided to carry on and change my GPS until I was back on the trail.
The rest of the day was a beautiful eye-filling experience. Taking just the milage alone we did 19 miles today and 2 fords which, although weren’t deep, were moving and I’m sure a welcome for Rosie’s tired feet.
As we are camping now at Aswarby (Atinas Stud) owned by Mike and Anita Shuksmith, it was time to relax with my ‘chef d’equippe’ Debs, who was feeding me, making the packups (picnic), walking the 7 dogs who were camping with us AND finding time to prep the stabling for Rosie – what team work!
By now it is Thursday and although the GPS told me that there are 18 miles remaining, I had worked out in total I would have to drive 22-23 miles if I was to complete it, actually adding a couple of miles here and there for the diversion to the pipelines. With this in mind, I left at 9am to drive until I thought that Rosie had done enough for one day. ‘Oh Rosie – not her!’ Five hours later we had rested awhile at where I thought halfway would be, in a quiet village on farmland near Belchford Hill. Rosie was still ready and raring to go and standing about wasn’t for long. I restarted the GPS and it said ‘9 miles to end of destination’. Oh my goodness! I texted Debs and gave her an update and said I was going to get closer to home and then I’d ring her and she could come with the lorry and fetch me but, 10 minutes later –‘ ROAD CLOSED – PIPELINE’! I asked a tractor driver if I was anywhere near a track that meant I wouldn’t have to turn around. He directed me to a purple sign with a carriage on it at the end of the farmyard and gave me permission to go through his farmyard after I promised not to tell anyone else. I was so relieved! I had only gone an extra mile from the trail route and we got back on track. I rechecked my GPS (which had brilliant reception the whole week and saved me a few times where the Lindsey Trail stickers had been tampered with in villages) and 2 and a quarter hours later I found that I was so near the end of the trail, I may as well complete it today.
South Ormsby School was my finish point and I had the feeling of such delight when there it was on the screen of my GPS ‘ 3.7 miles and you have reached your destination’. ‘Yo yo yo! We have nearly done it Rosie’ who, at this point had had a second wind and was pulling like a steam train again. It was, to me, like winning an Olympic Gold medal – well, Rosie anyway…..
More, more …..
I would just like to add – fords – piggeries – slurry lorries – combine harvesters – corn tractors – cyclists – motorhomes – caravans – dog walkers – children waving and lovely countryside people with wishes of donations to our Marie Curie buckets, are all part of my 75 mile trial on the Lindsey Trail, but not once did I see, near or far, another carriage driver or horse rider! Mad! Crazy! This is such a beautiful part of the country (the Lincolnshire Wolds)! Get tacked up or harnessed up and put-to and get out there and use it! THE LINDSEY WAY, 2012
With grateful thanks for donations to enhance this trip:
M.K.G. Birmingham – who donated 2 crates of bottled water and a slab of Caramel shortcake (for the volunteer helpers en route)
Sheenagha’s local Carrot Man – who donated a fresh net of carrots
Foster & Law Solicitors of Long Sutton – Donated Rosettes for anyone joining this trip. Also they donated a beautiful woollen rug for Rosie to wear in the evening
BDS – Rosettes – 2012 Golden Jubilee
Carrington Village Hall Wednesday evening Auction – had a collection raising over £41.
Mike and Anita Shuksmith, Atinas Stud – who provided camping area and unlimited moral and physical support.
And not forgetting all our donors on the sponsor forms…
With thanks to Clare Caldicott.