Grey seal pup at Donna Nook

Visit the Grey Seals at Donna Nook

 Grey Seals at Donna Nook National Nature Reserve

Donna Nook National Nature Reserve near Louth in Lincolnshire is an amazing place to visit to see Grey Seals and their pups.  The grey seals come on to the beach during November and December to give birth to pups and to mate.  Because so many people go to see the seals, the adults and their pups are used to humans so come very close to the viewing area and some pups even lie against the fence.

Grey seals at Donna Nook

No dogs are allowed on the Nature Reserve.  Also, keep an eye on children and make sure they don’t try to stroke the seals as they have sharp teeth and give a nasty bite.

Last year we went to see the grey seals at the beginning of December, if you go at the weekend I would advise aiming to get there by 10 am. We were able to have a good view as we walked from one car park towards the other but on the return walk back it was getting much busier.

There are lots of information boards telling you about the grey seals and boards with multiple choice questions that you guess and then lift the flap to find the answer.

Young Grey seal pup at Donna Nook

Spaced out along the viewing area there are volunteer wardens, who are very knowledgeable and helpful if you want to ask questions about the seals. There is also a little gift shop where you can buy grey seal keyrings and pictures.

This year (2017) the first grey seal pup was born on 13th October.  When the grey seal pups are born they have a white fluffy coat to keep them warm. The pups feed on their mother’s milk for 18-21 days, gaining about 2kg of weight per day.  The grey seal pups start to lose their fluffy white coat around 3 to 4 weeks when they are weaned.

Grey Seal Pup 2016

For weekly updates of the number of adult seals and pups follow the Donna Nook Warden Facebook page.

Facilities

There are 2 car parks.  1 which is concrete and run by the local authority but will be full unless you get there early. The second one is a grass field and you pay at the gate, there are also portaloos at this car park.  There is also a catering van serving hot drinks, burgers, bacon baps and cakes at the local authority car park.  Be careful and considerate to other drivers, after you turn off the main road, as the roads are narrow and only suitable for one car at a time in places.

To find out more about grey seals and visiting Donna Nook take a look at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s website the postcode to use to get to Donna Nook National Nature Reserve is LN11 7PD although this doesn’t take you directly to the Nature Reserve, so follow the signs.

Make sure to wrap up warm as the east coast can be rather bracing in the winter. Check out my Facebook page for more things to do in Lincolnshire

Snipe Dales

Snipe Dales Country Park and Nature Reserve

Snipe Dales Country Park and Nature Reserve

Snipe Dales Country Park and Nature Reserve is situated just off the B1195 between Horncastle and Spilsby, at the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds.  It is one of my favourite places to go for a walk and is popular with families.  There are two car parks, a small one at the Nature Reserve, which is free and a second larger car park at the Country Park, which is pay and display.

Stream Snipe Dales

Stream Snipe Dales

There are two parts to Snipe Dales, the Country Park, which is mostly on higher ground and the Nature Reserve, which is mostly in the valley.  The low part of the Country Park and most of the Nature Reserve can be wet, boggy and muddy during the winter and spring.  If you park at the Nature Reserve end there is a very steep slope down into the Nature Reserve.

Snipe Dales

Snipe Dales

Habitats

Snipe Dales has a variety of habitats including wet valleys with streams and flushes, rough grazing, scrub and woodland.  These habitats support a diverse range of birds and insects including butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies.

Snipe Dales Geology Information Board

Snipe Dales Geology Information Board

To find out more about the habitats and species check out the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust’s website.  There is also a useful map, showing the different walks.  Snipe Dales Round is 3.5 miles long and you need to follow the red square waymarkers, it goes round both the Country Park and the Nature Reserve.  The Country Park Trail is 1.25 miles, it goes round the Country Park only and you need to follow the green tree waymarkers.

Snipe Dales Map showing walks

Snipe Dales Map showing walks

There are information boards throughout the nature reserve, which add interest to the walk, either with details about the habitat or species.  The Greenwich Meridian runs through the Country Park and there is a Meridian Stone marking where.

Meridian Stone Snipe Dales Country Park

Meridian Stone Snipe Dales

At the car park at the Country Park there are public toilets and picnic benches.  Although there isn’t anywhere to buy refreshments, so bring your own drink and snack.

If you prefer a longer walk then there are footpaths that run out of the Country Park towards Hagworthingham.

 

The Cottage Museum, Woodhall Spa

Woodhall Spa – Things to do

Woodhall Spa

Woodhall Spa is a village in rural Lincolnshire near Horncastle and Coningsby and is about 15 miles from Lincoln.  It is the perfect location for a holiday in Lincolnshire, as it is almost the center of the county, near to the Wolds and only 30 miles to the East Coast.

I love Woodhall Spa, it is so quaint.  We are lucky to live only 15 minutes away from Woodhall Spa and I have many happy memories of going there as a child.  Now I love taking my children for a walk in the woods or to see a film at the Kinema.

For a village there are lots of things to do, there are small independent shops including fashion boutiques, a wedding dress shop, restaurants, book shops, gift shops as well as traditional butchers and bakers.  There are some lovely coffee shops, and an ice cream parlour, Just Desserts, which is a family favourite with us.

The Kinema in the Woods is an independent 2 screen cinema.  Jubilee Park has an outdoor heated swimming pool, children’s playground & tennis courts.  If you are a keen golfer you will know that there are 2 top class golf courses in Woodhall Spa.  There is also the Petwood Hotel with it’s beautiful gardens and the Squadron Bar, which has photos and Dambuster memorabilia.

Petwood Hotel Gardens

The Petwood Hotel gardens

Woodhall Spa has an interesting history, it was popular in Edwardian times as a spa resort, although the first spa house was built in Victorian times and the railway meant it was easier to visit Woodhall Spa.  To find out more about Woodhall Spa’s history visit The Cottage Museum, which is open daily from the 1st April to 29th Oct 2017, check their website for opening times.

The Cottage Museum, Woodhall Spa

The Cottage Museum, Woodhall Spa

The Kinema in the Woods

One of the main places in Woodhall Spa that holds a place in my heart and I have fond memories of is The Kinema in the Woods, I went to see my first film here although I can’t remember which one, I remember going to see Flash Gordon & ET.

At the weekends and busy showings in the holidays in the main screen, the Compton Organ comes up from the below the stage and the resident organist plays, while people buy their ice creams and sweets in the interval, not sure how many cinemas these days have an interval.

The foyer of the Kinema contains interesting pictures of Woodhall Spa’s past including the bath houses and cinema memorabilia.

Jubilee Park

Jubilee Park is a great place to take the children during the summer months as there is an outdoor heated swimming pool and paddling pool, a children’s play area and tennis courts.  On hot days in the school holidays and at weekends it can be very busy and you might have to queue to get into the swimming pool.  There is also a cafe where you can get ice creams and drinks. To find out more about Jubilee Park’s facilities and opening times take a look at their website.

Walking and Cycling

If you like walking or cycling then close by there is the River Witham, where you can walk or cycle along the Water Rail Way, which goes all the way to Lincoln.  Part of the Viking Way runs through Woodhall Spa and is part of the Spa Trail that runs from Woodhall Spa to Horncastle.  Or you could just have a leisurely walk through the woods that surround the village.  There are also several Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves close by.

Spa Trail runs from Woodhall Spa to Horncastle

Spa Trail

If you like the 1940’s then I am sure you will have heard about Woodhall Spa’s 1940’s weekend on the 15th and 16th of July.

I hope this little snapshot of Woodhall Spa has given you an idea of some of the things there are to do and might encourage you to visit and see for yourself.

Spa Trail – Horncastle to Woodhall Spa – Part 1

The Spa Trail – Thornton Lodge near Horncastle to Martin Bridge

The Spa Trail is 3 miles long and leads from Horncastle to Sandy Lane near Woodhall Spa.  It follows a section of the disused Horncastle to Woodhall Spa Railway, it is also part of the much longer Viking Way.  The trail consists of a hard core surface throughout, which makes it ideal for pushchairs, wheelchairs as well as walking in all weathers, as there are no muddy sections or sections that take you through fields.

Spa-Trial-Map

Spa Trail Map

I parked my car at the small car park near Thornton Lodge (you are here on the image above) and walked along the trail till I reached Martin Bridge and then walked back.  In another post I will do the other part of the trail from Martin Bridge to Sandy Lane.

View_from_Car_Park_Start_Spa_Trail

View from the Car Park at Thornton Lodge

Along the trail there are several sculptures made from stone, wood and metal, as well as information boards, which make the trail an interesting walk for children and adults.

The Spa trail initially runs alongside the Horncastle canal and then goes through farmland.

 

Horncastle_Canel_Information_Board

The various sculptures and information boards along the trail add interest.  When I walked along the trail in early spring there were lambs and sheep in an adjacent field.  Parts of the trail go through trees so keep an eye out for different birds.

Sculpture-information-board

 

Here are some of pictures of the sculptures

Metal-Heron-Sculpture

Metal Heron Sculpture on the Spa Trail

 

Wooden-Fern-Seat

Wooden Fern seat

 

Metal-Viking-Ship

Metal Viking Ship Sculpture near Martin Bridge

 

Wooden-Diving-Otter

Wooden Diving Otter Sculpture

 

Martin-Bridge-Old-Railway-Line

Martin Bridge looking towards Horncastle

 

Spa-Trail-Horncastle-Woodhall-Spa

Spa Trail – Horncastle to Woodhall Spa

 

Beware-Snakes-Sign

Not the usual sign you expect to see

I did this walk in the Spring of 2015, if you would like to see more pictures from the walk head over to my Facebook Page Lincs Out and About

Lincoln Barons’ Charter Trail

Lincoln-Barons-Charter-Trail

The Lincoln Baron’s Charter Trail is part of the city’s Magna Carta 800th Anniversary celebrations.  The 25 Lincoln Barons were placed around the city for the start of the trail on 13th June, to coincide with the Great Weekend celebrations and they will stay in place until the 13th September.  Each Baron represents one of the Barons that signed the Magna Carta with King John, each is decorated by a different artist and sponsored by a local business.

My children and I visited Lincoln to do the trail on a rather rainy 13th of June, we had lots of fun finding the different Barons around the city and finding the letter on each Baron to work out the phrase, so we could win a bag of King John’s gold (chocolate coins).  The trail is free, it is a great day out with the kids and it gets you wandering round Lincoln seeing different parts of the beautiful city.

We didn’t do the trail in order, starting at the first Baron at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, we were so excited we found the first one nearest to where we had parked. We walked a long way so for smaller children it might be an idea to do it in parts, if they aren’t keen on walking.

Lincoln-Barons

1 Mmm… Lincolnshire Baron, William de Forz, by Carolyn Short and sponsored by Burton Road Chippy.

2 Lindum Soldier, William de Huntingfield, by Deven Bhurke and sponsored by Lincoln BIG and Visit Lincoln.

3 Steampunk Baron, Richard de Clare and Gilbert de Clare, by Lincoln Steampunks and sponsored by Human Alchemy and Victorian Steampunk Society.

4 The 1960s Baron, Robert de Vere, by Rosie Ablewhite and sponsored by The Lincoln Hotel

5 The Baron of Riches, Henry de Bohun, by Vanessa Clocking and sponsored by Lincolnshire County Council.

5-Baron-of-Riches

5 Baron of Riches standing outside Lincoln Castle

6 Truck Driver Baron, Roger Bigod, by Carolyn Short and sponsored by Denby Transport

7 Wild Flower Baron, William D’Albini by Fern Lough and sponsored by Pennell’s Garden Centre

8 Bomber Baron, William de Mowbray by Jemima Cholmondeley-Smith and sponsored by Pipers Crisp

9 An Expansive Place Baron, Richard de Percy, by Lizzy Mason and sponsored by BBC Radio Lincolnshire

10 The People’s Baron, William de Lanvallei, by Cynthia Harrison and sponsored by Waitrose

11 Teacher Baron, William Marshall II, by Rebekah Lockley and sponsored by Lincolnshire Teaching School Alliance

12 Wings of an Angel, Geoffrey de Mandeville, by Louise Jardine and sponsored by the Lincolnshire Echo

13 Freeman Baron, John de Lacy, by Leah Goldberg and sponsored by Ruddocks of Lincoln

19 Beekeeper Baron

Back-of-Beekeeper Baron

 

14 Baron Mayor of Lincoln, William Hardel, by Leah Goldberg and sponsored by City of Lincoln Council

15 The Graduate Baron, Hugh Bigod by Rosie Ablewhite and sponsored by the University of Lincoln

16 Anything goes Baron, John FitzRobert, by Anna Carter and sponsored by Stagecoach East Midlands

17 Station Master Baron, Geoffrey de Say, by Peter Annable and sponsoered by St Marks Shopping Centre

18 Proud to be a Yellow Belly, Gilbert de Clare, by Ruth Pigott and sponsored by Optima

19 The Beekeeper Baron, Robert de Ros, by Susan Webber and sponsored by Thorne

20 Young Baron, Richard de Montfichet, by Richard Knight and sponsored by EBP

Lincoln-Barons

21 Construction Baron, Eustace de Vesci, by Peter Segasby and sponsored by Chestnut Homes

22 Lincolnshire Waterways Baron, Roger de Montbegon, by Melanie Clare and sponsored by Business in the Community

23 Red Arrows Baron, Robert Fitzwalter, by Ruth Pigott and sponsored by Virgin trains East Coast

24 Sir Walter Style, William Malet, by Mel Langton and sponsored by Waterside Shopping Centre

25 Baron of the Crystal Hues, Saer de Quincy, by Lesley Ann Withers and sponsored by Humberside Airport

To find out more about the individual Lincoln Barons or to download a map of the Charter Trail go to the Lincoln Barons website Hurry as there is just over a month left to see the Barons.  There are lots of interesting places to visit in Lincoln so why not include a visit to one of the following while you are in Lincoln, Lincoln Castle, The Museum of Lincolnshire Life, Lincoln Cathedral, The Collection or The Usher Gallery.

Burghley House Sculpture Garden Hare holding the moon

Burghley House, Stamford

Burghley House is a grand Elizabethan House near Stamford

There are a lot of things to do and see at Burghley House, during school holidays you can book on a Beastly Boring Burghley tour where a guide tells you about some of the history of Burghley House, if you or your children are Horrible Histories fans then this is a must and is very interesting.

Around the gardens there is a sculpture trail, pick up a leaflet to find out more about the sculptures and to make sure you don’t miss any.

Burghley House Sculpture Garden Hare holding the moon

Hare holding the moon sculpture

Some of the sculptures are hidden away, it is fun to find the different sculptures as you walk round the gardens.

Burghley House Face Sculpture

Face sculpture

Children love the Garden of Surprises, which has lots of water features to get wet in and places to explore, make sure you take a change of clothes, towel and shoes that you don’t mind getting soaking wet.

Burghley House is possibly best known for its Horse Trials, however it has lots of other events such as the outdoor Film Festival, which I went to in 2013.  Take a picnic and something to drink, don’t forget a blanket just in case it gets chilly.

Burghley Film Festival

The house and gardens are open daily (House is closed on Fridays) from the middle of March until the start of November, 11am to 5pm.  Adult day ticket £13, Children (3-15) £6.50, Senior £11.80, Family ticket (2 adults and upto 3 children) £35

Have you been to Burghley House? What is your favourite part? Please leave a comment below.

 

 

 

Lincolnshire – my home

Hello and welcome to my new blog about the county of my birth, Lincolnshire.  I have lived in Lincolnshire most of my life and my family has its roots buried deep in the Lincolnshire soils.  This blog will travel all around Lincolnshire telling you about the towns, villages, countryside and coast that make up this large and varied county.  Hopefully it will inspire some of you to explore this county whether you already live here or if you are from out of the county maybe it might inspire you to come and visit for a day or week.

There will be posts about places I visit from country parks and nature reserves to stately homes to museums and local places to shop.   Lincolnshire is famous for its farm land and food production so there will also be posts about where to buy lovely local food.

If you have a business or attraction that you would like me to feature on this blog, please get in touch.