in and around Theddlethorpe

(extracts from a leaflet produced by Theddlethorpe Parish Council with funding from LCC Parish Paths Partnership)

Photograph of a view of the countryside

The walks suggested are just some of the many walks that can be taken around this historic village, and offer varied beach and countryside scenery, and some interesting old buildings.

Sea, sand, marsh and dune

Starting in Crook Bank car park (coming from Mablethorpe along the A1031, pass the sign for Theddlethorpe St Helen and then follow the sign saying “to the sea”), walk along path through the dunes in the direction of the beach.

When on the beach – turn left. The next passageway through the dunes is for Brickyard Lane (three-quarters of a mile – car park), and then Churchill Lane (one and a quarter of a miles – car park), past the old lookout tower (there is no sign, but there is a white flag pole). Another one and a quarter miles hugging the foot of the sandhills will bring you to the car park at the Rimac nature reserve in Saltfleetby (named after a Dutch ship that went aground here).

The wide, sandy beach so characteristic of the Lincolnshire coast was used by smugglers and naval press gangs, but was also a favourite holiday destination of writers as different as Alfred Tennyson and D H Lawrence (who mentioned Theddlethorpe in Sons and Lovers).

Photograph of sand dunes

More recently, it has been used by the Royal Air Force (although the RAF firing range has now been moved northwards, the planes are often seen from Theddlethorpe) and Army bomb disposal personnel. The wide expanses of  mudflat and saltmarsh along this part of the coast attracts many thousands of wading birds at all times of the year, many of them uncommon, plus nationally scarce birds like skylarks and snow bunting.

The area is an important global breeding ground for both common and grey seals. The marsh and dunes are also home to many interesting species of flora.

Image of a map showing walks around theddlethorpe

It is possible to walk along the many well signposted paths through the sand dunes to both Brickyard Lane and Churchill Lane, but the dunes, with their unusual ecosystem of coastal freshwater marsh, are mostly given over to nature reserve (the area is a stronghold of the rare natterjack toad, among other unusual species) so please avoid any unnecessary disturbance.

Photograph of a natterjack toad

Livestock may be present in the reserve areas at certain times of the year. Walkers should also take care on the undulating paths, and near the old military emplacements. And when on the beach, watch out for deep mud, and tack care not to get cut off by the incoming tide.

Old buildings

Starting from Brickyard Lane car park - walk inland along Brickyard Lane, for almost half a mile. Upon arrival back at the A1031, turn right. After about a quarter of a mile on the right hand side, you will see St Helen’s church in the trees.

The church, built in the late 14th century (but almost completely rebuilt in 1866), is famous for its unusual stone medieval reredos, with its figures of a man and woman (which may be representational of those who donated the reredos). The cannon that mark the gateway to Theddlethorpe Hall, next door, are real!

Continuing along the road northwards for several yards, you will see Station Road footpath on the left. Follow this road for about three-quarters of a mile. En route you can see the old schoolhouse on the right, remains of an old moat at Manor Farm on the left, an old cottage on the right, and then the old train station, near the cross road (the train line, that used to connect Louth with Mablethorpe, closed in 1960). At the cross road turn right for about quarter of a mile, you will pass the large, thatched, Hall Farm (built circa 1680) on the right. A little farther on you come to Theddlethorpe All Saints church, built around 1380 called the “Cathedral of the Marsh” because of the fine carving of the exterior. Details of how to obtain the key can be found inside the porch.

Once inside, the following items are of particular interest – the brass in the south chapel (under a mat for protection), which is the latest know English depiction of a type of armour that was already obsolete when the brass was founded in 1424. The carved screens around the chapels, filled with strange creatures and demonic faces. The medieval road screen, the Jacobean pulpit and the Georgian alter table. The old wooden bell frame from Immingham church and a lead sheet fixed to the wall nearby, with its 18th century graffiti of a ship and the outline of someone’s foot.

Exiting the church (please don’t forget to return the key!), turn right for about one third of a mile, crossing the Great Eau river (pike can often be seen from the bridge), and you will see the Gayton Engine, a pumping station dating from circa 1850, with 1930s machinery. Although now redundant, the Engine is still in working order, thanks to the efforts of local volunteers, and is open to the public several weekends a year.

From the Engine, public footpaths bring you on into Gayton le Marsh or Great Charlton

Alternatively, cross the field using the public footpath in front of All Saints Church to Grove Road. Then turn left, go to the crossroads, and turn right, along Mill Road.

Several hundred yards further on, you may follow the footpath in the direction of Butt Lane
Which will take you back to St Helen’s Church (one mile) or continue along Mill Road to the 16th century thatched cottage - turned – pub, the King’s Head (three-quarters of a mile from the cross roads).

From the King’s Head car park, a footpath leads across the fields towards the A1031(a third of a mile), or you may continue along Mill Road and Rotten Row for about three-quarters of a mile, back to the A1031, near the gas terminal.

From this corner, turn left, and it is about a mile and a quarter back to the Crook Bank car park.