Tetford Hill and Village.

Tetford Hill at 142 metres is the highest point on the route and offers wide sweeping views not only across Lymndale but also east to the coast and west inland. These views continue along High Rigg, which the Bluestone Heath Road follows for five kilometres to Scamblesby Thorpe. The ridgeway clings to the sinuous chalk ridge which gets very narrow at some points with the land falling away steeply on both sides. It also follows the the parish boundary of Oxcombe which is also the north west corner of Hill Wapentake.

There is a convenient viewing point and lay-by just a kilometre beyond Tetford hill crossroads and a little further access to the attractive eastern combes around Oxcombe.  From any such Wold top viewpoint there is one observation that can be made on a sunny day. This is the view is normally clearer looking east to the sea than looking inland, which is often hazy in comparison.

 

P1210277
The view across Lymndale from Tetford Hill.

Although only a relatively low narrow range of hills the Wolds nevertheless often creates a boundary between the weather along the Lincolnshire Coast and of that inland. The clear coastal air is most evident in the early morning with the sun rising over a sparkling sea. West of the Wolds the mornings can be misty as the nights are often cooler. During settled summer weather the tables turn so that by midday a sea breeze can pick up along the coast putting a cap on the temperature. On some days in Spring or early Summer this can bring with it a sea fret which will make it cool and dull. In exceptional circumstances this can extend inland to effect the whole county. Fortunately the prevailing wind is westerly and this means the coastal strip can remain warm and sunny even when clouds are building up inland. In the Witham Valley July and August are the wettest months of the year whereas on the coast it is November. This is a result of temperatures building inland sufficiently to set off heavy showers in Summer. In these sultry conditions it can be several degrees warmer inland than on the cooler, fresher coast. This is compensated overnight by temperatures being lower inland than on the coast. Coningsby has an average of 48 days of frost a year compared with 32 for Skegness but then the resort is a lot windier.

Lymndale is transitional between these two extremes. The surrounding hills protect it from sea breezes to some extent but this shelter encourages the formation of overnight mist in the dale even in late Summer. Later in the day a sea breeze can clear the air while further inland it remains hazy or even cloudy.

 

SOLSTICE 014
Evening mist near South Ormsby.

 

The prevailing view in pre- Roman times that the cardinal points were NE, SE, SW, and NW (See Bluestone Heath Road Blog.) was reinforced by the weather in this part of the country. When the wind is in the south west Lincolnshire enjoys temperatures as high as anywhere in Britain and the coast is sunny but if the wind swings round to the north east then the picture is reversed with predominately cold, cloudy and wet weather coming from this quarter. For most of the year the prevailing wind is from the west or south west but this is least reliable in Spring when not only can it get stuck in the north east for days but as the North Sea is at its coldest then the weather can be bitter. Living a mostly outdoor life with only a draughty hut as refuge prehistoric man would have been all too aware of this.

From Tetford Hill the route leaves behind the wide sweeping views by descending one of the Wolds steepest hills into Tetford. To reach the village go left at the hilltop crossroads and make the steep descent through deep shade to emerge in Upper Lymndale. Having finally left the ancient Bluestone Heath Road this lane is called White Gate probably a reference to the chalk ridge and quarry. Continuing the descent at a gentler gradient passed a cluster of white buildings, made up of a farmhouse and a couple of cottages on the right side of the road, which make a pretty picture when framed by white cow parsley and hawthorn blossom in May, the road enters Tetford. The road names now change at regular intervals but helpfully record the cardinal points of the compass to let you know what part of this large sprawling village you are in, for there are plenty of charming corners to discover. At the next junction turn left away from a track, which is the course of an old Roman road heading towards Lincoln. It is now called Platt’s Lane and cuts a straight line past a ruined farm on the flank of a distinctive double headed hill but does not continue out of the parish.

 

SUMMER WOLDS 054
Looking west from White Gate to Glebe Farm.

Entering the village from the north turn left at the first junction to find you are on North Road. This heads east to the church, larger than most churches in the area it is still made of the same dark weathered sandstone. Here around the bend the road becomes East Road, which leads in a meandering sort of way to South Road. This preoccupation with compass points may have something to do with the village’s proximity to the Greenwich or Prime Meridian which skirts the east side of the village. It passes through the churchyard behind the chancel of St.Mary’s and where South Road leaves the eastern end of the village it passes through the grounds of the appropriately named Meridian House. This fine white Georgian building is set back from the road on the left hand side in a large tree filled garden. It was once simply known as the Villa but now celebrates the fact that it straddles two hemispheres.

P1200456
Meridian House on South Road.

Returning to the church close by stands the appealingly shambolic White Hart Inn. A long whitewashed brick building under a tiled roof and dates back to 1520 having been a Butchers and a Magistrates Court in its time. This fascinating old building has not been over modernised with the back room little altered since Tennyson was meant to have frequented it, even down to a commodious bench he might have sat on close to an open fire. Behind the inn and beside a large car park are a delightful mix of buildings yet to succumb to some drastic renovation project. These include a large garage, two double stables and a hayloft with an extensive lawned area behind.

P1200274
The White Hart Inn.

It would be tragic if this pub went the way of so many others in rural Lincolnshire, which were unable to adapt successfully to changing demands, and was converted into a private dwellings. It must come in the top ten most important buildings with public access in the whole of the Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. With its connections with Tennyson and the bard’s birth place not able or even suitable to accommodate a visitor centre/shrine to the great poet the inn could prove more than adequate. The homes of Wordsworth, Coleridge and Clare have been turned into shrines and the White Hart Inn would be a suitable alternative with its many rooms, out buildings and extensive outdoor space to be such a place to remember Tennyson.

North of the inn and hidden beyond the church is Little London. A scattering of cottages spread out along the narrowest of lanes, better for cyclists and walkers than cars but worth a detour. A small stream threads its way through this hidden hamlet and between it and the lane is an impressively tall and ancient lime tree. If you are lucky you might spot attractive long horn cattle browsing in the parkland in which it stands.

P1200486
Long Horn cattle, Little London.

Before leaving Tetford include a visit to the charming little Mill Lane off West Road, which runs beside the infant River Lymn close to South Road. At the end of the lane you are rewarded with a scene that has changed little since Tennyson’s time. The HG website tells us “This water mill and attached mill house dates to the late eighteenth century but there is an earlier core of a building within it. The water wheel dates back to the mid 17th century, though with much renewed timber, and remains intact as does all the machinery for milling corn.” 

 

P1190671
The old mill at the end of Mill Lane.

The water mill and the cluster of old cottages associated with it probably look a lot more clean and tidy than they did when it was a busy dusty working mill as Tennyson describes in the Miller’s Daughter –

I loved the brimming wave that swam Thro’ quiet meadows round the mill, The sleepy pool above the dam, The pool beneath it never still, The meal-sacks on the whiten’d floor, The dark round of the dripping wheel, The very air about the door Made misty with the floating meal.

Also it is very quiet now, the churning of the water mill has long been silent and the rush of water through the millrace is no more along with the noisy comings and goings of workers and customers. Trees have grown up around the old mill but through them the paths remain that once serviced it. A path follows the natural sounds of the beck as it continues to flow unchanged by time as it slips and slides between the alders. Here the rivulet is noticeably noisier for a time as it chatters over roots and rocks reminding us as Tennyson wrote in The Brook- For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever. 

 

P1250354B
The River Lymn just downstream of the old mill.

It would be nice to think that after a few pints at the White Hart, nearly two hundred years ago, a young Tennyson chose on a warm Spring day to rest here under a drooping willow and got the idea for his famous poem – The Brook.

Return to the junction of South and West Road, overlooked by the war memorial, to leave the village by heading south until reaching the Cross Keys Inn where there is a right turn to Fulletby.

The Brook

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s