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Walk 2224 - printer friendly version

Dunston & Nocton Walk

Author - Hugh Marrows

Length - 5.0 miles / 8.1 km

Ascent - 80 feet / 24 metres

Grade - easy

Start - OS grid reference TF066631
Lat 53.154374 + Long -0.40732492
Postcode LN4 2ER (approx. location only)

The ancient settlement of Dunston was a sizeable community with a population of around 200 people at the time it was recorded in the Domesday Book. St Peter's church retains it's mediaeval tower and an Early English doorway but was otherwise largely rebuilt in 1874; this was paid for by the Ripon family of Nocton Hall. (See below).

In the mid 1700's the Dashwood family owned Dunston and in 1751 Sir Francis Dashwood had the Dunston Pillar built (beside today's A15) on the heathland to the west as a land lighthouse to guide travellers. The original lantern was replaced in1810 by a giant statue of George III in order to commemorate the monarch's jubilee. This was removed during WWII and is now at Lincoln Castle but a modern interpretation of George, carved in wood, stands outside Dunston village hall.

In 1919, following the end of WWI, the Dennis family (Lincolnshire farming magnates) decided to build a "Potato Railway" at Nocton; potatoes being their main crop. Using narrow gauge track obtained from the trenches in France this grew into by far the largest of several such railways in the county and eventually comprised 23 miles of line, which remained operational until 1964. Hardly any of it remains today, though there is an iron post, possibly a watering point, in a hedge gap beside the bridle path at GR059638.

Nocton Hall has been owned by several powerful political families. Amongst them were the Hobart family one of whom, Robert, who was Secretary of State for the Colonies, had Hobart in Tasmania named after him. Later still the Earls of Ripon bought the hall and the first earl (John) became prime minister in 1827/28, but only for five months! The Ripons had a new hall built but that burned down in 1841 and its replacement, which became an RAF hospital for many years, suffered the same fate in 2004.

In 1862 the Countess of Ripon, having demolished the Hobart's earlier Georgian church, paid for the building of Nocton's magnificent All Saints church in memory of her late "prime minister" husband. It is designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, the leading Victorian architect, as an elaborate re-creation of a C13th church and is splendidly ornate both inside and out. The approach path is one of several community artworks in the village.

Other artworks in Nocton make up an arts trail that includes the "Dandelion Sundial" on The Green and a carved bench near the post office. Perhaps the most delightful piece of all however is beside The Bridleway leading towards Dunston. "The Cow" was created by Nocton schoolchildren from scrap farmyard tools. There is also a village history trail too; find a map and information board at the village hall.

Notes - On my visit there were footpath diversions at Nocton whilst a new housing estate is being developed; my route avoids these. Take care on the road section leaving Nocton village.

Route Guide

From the inn walk through Dunston village to the church. Bear left across the road to the village hall to see the George III statue.

Return to St Peter's and go along Vicarage Lane, to the left of the church, and at Back Lane turn left uphill past the cemetery. At a footpath sign bear right through the Nocton Estates farmyard, having with a large building to your left until you reach a new office block. Keep to the right of that along a grass bank (there is a waymark) past a green warehouse to a second waymark. Now cross a site road and past another warehouse and further waymarks, eventually joining a lane at a vehicle barrier.

Follow the lane and at a lodge take the estate road on the right, walking down to a 4-way footpath sign at a junction with a bridleway and a Nocton Trail information board. Turn left into Nocton village arriving opposite the PO/shop. (The carved bench is a few feet to your left.)

Turn right onto The Green to see the "Sundial" and to visit the church, or go along Main Road from the PO corner to the village hall for the Nocton village trail map and directions. (For a shorter route simply return along the bridle path by which you reached Nocton and keep ahead for Dunston.)

The main route continues from The Green. Take the footpath on the left just before the "Sundial" which becomes an unsurfaced lane leading to a road. Cross to the pavement and bear right, then at a left-hand bend re-cross to a footpath sign by a garden. Ignore this (See "NOTES") and follow the road a little further over the end of Parklands Avenue to a disused lane on the right. Turn in here and at the end go right then left into Habbanya Road. Follow this round to its end, then walk forward to meet a grass footpath. Now join a stream, continue to a footbridge and then turn right.

Go through some woods to emerge near a footbridge. Cross this, bear left at the field corner and when you come to an estate road turn right. Walk through more woods and then follow the road round to the right to reach the 4-way footpath sign seen earlier; turn left there for Dunston.

Enter Dunston near the school; turn left to return to the inn.

Walk 2224 Route Map

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