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On the path of vikings: a stroll beneath huge Lincolnshire skies to a 14th-century pub | Lincolnshire holidays



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Tealby. Two syllables hinting at 1,600 years of historical past. The title of this little Lincolnshire wolds spot is assumed to imply “village of the Taifali individuals”. Which is odd, because the east Germanic Taifali tribe hailed from the Carpathian mountains, removed from the east Midlands.

It appears that evidently a Roman cavalry unit, the Equites Taifali, was stationed hereabouts within the late fourth century to defend close by Lindum (Lincoln) – and by no means left. The Previous Danish “-by” (“farmstead” or “village”) was added by the Vikings, who later settled right here.

On the Viking Way.
On the Viking Approach. {Photograph}: Sarah Baxter

And modern-day Tealby, residence to 600 individuals, a store and a major college based by the uncle of Alfred Lord Tennyson, is without doubt one of the loveliest villages on this Space of Excellent Pure Magnificence. It clings to the wolds’ western edge, above the River Rase, which was as soon as dotted with watermills. There are 27 listed buildings within the village, a few of which have been smithies or dressmakers’ workshops. Many are constructed from Tealby limestone, with its honey-marmalade hue. One is constructed of whitewashed rubble and thatch: the Kings Head pub. This 14th-century inn is an effective place to begin for a stroll north and again alongside among the wolds’ loftiest reaches, the very best floor in jap England between Yorkshire and Kent.

The view from Walesby.
The view from Walesby. {Photograph}: Lee Beel/Alamy

I begin by winding by means of the village, through neat cottages, the Classic Tearooms and a lane known as The Smooting (“slim passage”), one other Danish remnant. A volunteer-run store sells all the things from tins and toiletries to vacationer data. Most tempting are goodies from the Choowee Cookie Firm – the baker who makes them in close by Market Rasen is there, dropping off a recent batch. “They’re our bestseller,” the girl behind the until confirms.

I resist and stroll on, previous the village corridor which, like the college, was given to Tealby by Charles Tennyson. His father, George Tennyson, owned land right here, however disinherited his eldest son, George Clayton Tennyson, who turned a rector, and raised his household – together with poetic son Alfred – in tiny Somersby, within the southern wolds.

In the meantime, bold Uncle Charles, anticipating a peerage, added the noble d’Eyncourt to his title and constructed the gothic-style Bayons Manor outdoors Tealby, beginning in 1836. Ultimately, Lord Alfred obtained the title; the manor fell into disrepair and was demolished within the Sixties. Solely ruins stay.


There’s a memorial to Charles in Tealby’s Twelfth-century All Saints church. However I’m extra taken by the amenities. A parish assembly is beneath approach and a girl says the kettle’s boiled and would I like a cup of tea? “We’ve got bogs too, put in final yr!”

But it surely’s time I joined the Norse males, so I proceed north, selecting up the Viking Approach. This long-distance path spans 147 miles of Danelaw land from the Humber to Rutland. In the present day it’s taking me throughout rolling hills so far as Normanby le Wold, at 145 metres the very best village within the space of excellent pure magnificence.

Red deer near Risby.
Crimson deer close to Risby. {Photograph}: Sarah Baxter

First, I attain Risby, an historic settlement and residential to crimp-haired, lustrous Lincoln longwool sheep. There are solely 700 breeding ewes left in Britain, and 50 reside right here. Farmers Ian and Louise Fairburn have been preserving these pure-breeds since 2004 and their shop-cum-info hut is festooned with best-in-show rosettes. It additionally sells balls of wool, Risby beeswax candles and native Dennetts ice-cream.

After encountering the sheep, I abruptly discover myself amongst a herd of crimson deer, that are farmed within the valley. They pause grazing and observe me as I cross their discipline. Past is one other deal with: I discern the ghostly lumps of a shrunken medieval village. Lincolnshire is pitted with such deserted settlements, an earthen Braille hinting on the previous.

Simply behind, the tower of Walesby’s All Saints – generally known as the ramblers church – peeks out. It was constructed excessive on a hill within the Twelfth century, gazing throughout to the distant spires of Lincoln cathedral. A stained-glass window depicting knapsack-toting ramblers was put in by the Grimsby and District Wayfarers Affiliation in 1951.

Inside the Ramblers’ church.
Inside Walesby’s All Saints. {Photograph}: Sarah Baxter

From right here it’s a brief stroll again to Tealby, a loop of about 4 miles. However I proceed by means of Walesby and head north on what will probably be a nine-mile, bow-tie-shaped route. Forward lie fields with far-reaching views that lead me to the tiny, windswept village of Normanby.

Right here I veer west, edging the woods, descending to Claxby, one other former Viking settlement. Then there’s a quiet lane south, earlier than I head up alongside the wooden as soon as extra, following a large monitor again to the Viking Approach. I’m not on the identical path for lengthy. I depart Walesby through a unique path, squeezing by means of a stone stile and return to Tealby by a decrease path, beneath the stepped-brick battlements of Fortress Farm. I meet the Lincoln longwools once more, grazing like permed Dougals, dolled up for an evening out.


I’m informed the Kings Head was all the time a pub the place farmers introduced sheep. Maybe I might invite a longwool to dinner?

Google map of the route

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Begin The Kings Head, Tealby, Lincolnshire
Distance 9 miles
Time 4 hours
Complete ascent 312 metres
Issue Simple/average
View the route at OS maps

The pub

Kings Head pub, Tealby
Lincolnshire’s oldest thatched pub … the Kings Head, Tealby. {Photograph}: Sarah Baxter

“There are undoubtedly ghosts,” says Sol Pickwell Nicolaou, who has owned the Kings Head together with his husband John since 2012. “However pleasant ghosts.”

Maybe that’s to be anticipated from Lincolnshire’s oldest thatched pub, inbuilt 1367, which has regained its repute as a foodie vacation spot since they toook over. Sol says: “We supply as a lot as we will regionally. We use native sport through the season and our cooks have been identified to go foraging.” Selfmade pies and blade of Lincolnshire beef are among the many dishes; the fish platter is a feast.


“My favorite is the twice-cooked pork with stilton,” Sol provides. Decor is modern-traditional – low ceilings and tartan-carpet flooring – with a big beer backyard outdoors.

The place to remain

Clematis Cottage, within the centre of Tealby, sleeps 4, from £345 for 4 nights. Or teams might attempt the Viking Centre in Claxby, which provides sole-use hostel lodging throughout 4 dorms, sleeping 20, from £120pn.

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