View from the Wolds by James Makinson-Sanders
Wolds on Fire - Stenigot
It's often said that ‘you have to work hard for the best views', but thankfully that is not the case when accessing this stunning vista near Stenigot. The great thing is that the view can be accessed via a Public Bridleway, so can be enjoyed on foot, mountain bike or horse. If you're cycling use the Lincolnshire Wolds Cycle Route 5 www.lincswolds.org.uk/library/5_hubbards_hills_to_welsdale_bottom_Jul_14.pdf or on foot/horse via either Manor Hill (Stenigot) or Welsdale Road (Leading to Donington). If you are walking, you can take in the view as part of a short or extended walk, perhaps enjoying a well-earned bite to eat and drink at Donington On Bain's Black Horse pubhttp://walks.walkingworld.com/walk/Donington-on-Bain-and-Biscathorpe.aspx.
To the East you can see the now decommissioned tropospheric scatter dishes and grade two listed radar tower which belong to RAF Stenigot. The tower was originally part of the ‘Chain Home' radar network which gave long range advance warnings of incoming Luftwaffe raids during the Second World War. With the addition of the dishes in the 1950's it then became part of NATO's ACE HIGH Communication System - especially poignant on a winter's day, it reminds you of the important role the Wolds continued to play in the nation's defence during the Cold War.
To the West the seemingly never ending rural vista is punctuated by two highly significant man-made structures. While Lincoln Cathedral dominates the distant skyline, Belmont - which was once a ‘blot on the landscape', now blends into the near vista and provides a welcome point of reference for all travellers. Seeing the tower always reminds me of a short poem by local farmer Stephen Parkinson: ‘There she stands upon the Wold, man-made structure tall and bold. Belmont'. Along the path, you can also catch glimpses of Donington on Bain at the foot of the valley, the River Bain (one of many chalk streams in the area) and Biscathorpe House.
What's magical about the view is that it sets the imagination racing, helping release the stresses of modern life (although the 4G signal is particularly strong, so you may need to leave your work phone at home!). The view seems infinite and is for all seasons. In the Spring you can watch an approaching storm front blowing in from the South West – in the Summer, enjoy the sight of the many raptors which soar above this part of the Wolds. In the Autumn you can enjoy the carpet of colour the season brings and on a snowy day in Winter the view is more akin to the Arctic Circle!
This magnificent view can be enjoyed at any time of the day, but perhaps the reason it is so special is revealed at sunset – where, on the right day, the whole sky can appear to be on fire.
James Makinson-Sanders – keen Wolds Cyclist and member of the Love Lincolnshire Wolds Cycle Club on Strava