Warning : Geocache Spoiler
The course of a Roman Road runs through the neighbouring of Tetford and has remained in public access as a bridleway to the west, and a footpath to the east. We had already walked a small distance along the bridleway at sunset (see Day Three). The lure of a couple of caches placed along the way was a bonus, but it was the pull of seeing those magical words “Roman Road” on the OS Map that put this on the tick list when planning our visit weeks ago. Not that we expected to be accosted by a Centurian demanding that we paid our dues to Hadrian before being allowed to proceed, there is just something alluring about taking steps along ancient ways. We do it all the time (I drive through Chester ten times a week), but we rarely notice. Hmm… maybe another project?
The weather is fine, blue skies and a slightly chilly breeze to take the heat out of the sun. We boot up and set off on our way.
There’s a deserted farm house which is marked on the OS Map and which we can see from the outskirts of Tetford and the Blue Stone Ridge. It is named as Glebe Farm and is in a state of ruin. We remember it as appearing deserted on our previous holiday in the area seven years ago but not how far it had declined at that time. Now it has no roof and soulless light peeps through the windows. We had hoped that the route would bring us closer, but we respect the Private sign on the track to Glebe and I record its current state today.
Noticeably the track up to the farm appears constantly used. Maybe the nearby working farm uses it for storage, or maybe the track provides useful access to the tops of fields, but the buildings are still deserted. Perhaps there are plans to re-occupy Glebe Farm?
We later pondered the meaning of Glebe as it features in the names of several farms in the area. Its name means a piece of land allocated to a church office. An alternate name is the church furlong. Church Furlong Farm doesn’t really trip off the tongue. Oddly there was another Glebe farm close by, and arguably closer to a church. Simon has suggested that the farm’s downfall might have been caused by a leaky roof left unrepaired, as the builder ended up at the wrong Glebe farm and left confused. I somehow doubt this.
Our search for caches is successful and whilst we are sat on a bridge signing the log of a novelty duck cache, we are ambushed by a couple who are walking a dog. When I say ambushed, I mean that they accidentally stumbled across two grown adults laughing hysterically at a duck made up like William Shakespeare sitting on an English Dictionary. I bet that will be discussed in the snug tonight, “You’ll never believe what Jim and I saw this morning…”. Needless to say they returned our greeting a little hesitantly and left rather hastily.
After a return trip past derelict Glebe, we head back to the cottage to de-boot before setting off for Belton House and Gardens. This is a fine-looking stately home (we’ve never been inside) with picturesque formal gardens and a woodland walk.
It makes for a gentle day, strolling around the grounds, dodging the school parties. The property is a fine example of the National Trust in action. We are greeted by a friendly but not overbearing admissions clerk, who scans our membership badges, checks that the new ones have arrived (ours are expiring this month) and asks if we’ve visited before. We tell him that we have and he wishes us an enjoyable day. The gardens and paths are smartly presented. The café and shop are well stocked and attended, and there is a nod away from the corporate towards to self-sufficiency with a second-hand book shop and plant sales. It is NT-clean without being without its own personality.
We visit the church which has an interesting door – saving that picture for a WP challenge.
The formal gardens are rather fine.
The wash of forget-me-nots in front of the orangery were close to losing their colour, but we were just in time.
But our favourite part of the visit is the woodland walk.
Even though the car park was fairly full, there is space here, not quite far from the madding crowd, but enough for us. After our wanders, there is the obligatory trip to the gift shop and we have an ice-cream before leaving.
Yet again, we’re on the search for food. This time heading for “The Boston Sausage” company. Lincolnshire has its own style of sausage. Well its more of a filling than a style, with an abundance of sage and other savoury herbs in the mix. But mainly sage. According to our local food rag, the Boston Sausage Company have opened a butchers in a local farm shop and we have a voucher! We have rough directions and feel sure that we’ve visited it two years ago when it was disappointing. Sausage signs start to appear as we near our destination and it is the same venue.
The butchers have a wide selection of prepared meats (we’re on holiday and don’t want to work too hard) and we leave with sausage pie and duck breasts in a mystery marinade. The veg in farm shop is still disappointing and we hurry out before anyone can attempt to serve us.
The duck breasts are so tender (cooked with care) and we partner them with fresh local asparagus and a store cupboard favourite, cannellini bean mash.
We couldn’t agree on the likely marinade ingredients, so it remains a mystery. To be honest, I prefer it that way.