One in a series of circular walks issued by Parishes in Barnack Ward
Start and finish: Barnack Millstone Inn
tel 01780 740296. Refreshments.
Position: about 4 miles from Stamford and 12 miles from Peterborough.
Parking: roadside in Barnack or off road at Hills and Holes or one of the car parks in Stamford.
Bus service: hourly to Barnack from Stamford and Peterborough.
Distance: 8 miles.
Time: about 4 hours.
OS Map: 234 Explorer, 1:25,000.
1 Turn right into Millstone Lane and continue down Walcot Road until you see a gate opposite into Hills and Holes. Follow the path in the same direction keeping parallel with the road until the wall of Walcot Hall. Turn right, keeping the wall on the left, through two paddocks of Hills and Holes and then an arable field. Note the old windmill across the field to the right.
2 Turn right along the road for a short distance, ignoring the road signposted Barnack and the first public footpath. At the next road junction, keeping right of the green triangle, cross the road and follow the direction shown on the signpost across the arable field, heading for the post with the yellow marker. The footpath follows almost the same direction for the next 3 miles. It was originally the route of the old Roman road, Ermine Street, and is now part of the Hereward Way. Continue to the next hedge and strip of woodland. There are numerous pheasants in the Park so note the reminders about keeping dogs on leads. With the golf course on the left, this leads down past the Club House to the Old Great North Road.
3 Cross the next fields, using the yellow posts as guides to another narrow belt of trees, where there is a stile on either side of a narrow plank footbridge. Cross another stile into a grass field, keeping to the right of the woods and then to the right of the Horse Trial jump. After the stile there is a short stretch of rough grass, then another stile on to a tarred road.
4 Turn right and walk down towards Stamford past the Bottle Lodges. Just after the Lady Anne‘s Hotel, turn right into Burghley Lane. On the corner with Park Lane, a gate leads into Burghley Park. Except during the Horse Trials, follow the path until it meets the tarred road and then turn left, or cut across the grass to have a look at the Princess Diana Memorial Garden. Use of the tarred road is usually allowed although it is not a right of way. It joins Barnack Road opposite its junction with Water Street. During the Horse Trials you may have to walk down Park Lane to Barnack Road. Turn right, and keep the Burghley Park wall on the right for about half a mile.
5 Take the bridleway on the opposite side of the road, cross the railway line and turn right on to the Torpel Way. After a mile there is a stile and the footpath moves slightly to the left on to a flood protection bank beside the River Welland. Stay on the Torpel Way in the field almost up to the level crossing. Turn right on to the road and go over the level crossing.
6 Turn left, still on the Torpel Way, and the path keeps parallel to the railway at first. Then after several right angled bends, it reaches Station Road, Barnack. Turn right, bear left at Main Street, left, back into Millstone Lane.
It was built in 1789 and is now derelict but in John Clare‘s time the sails would have been turning to grind the corn.
Burghley Horse Trials
This event is held each year at the beginning of September and attracts thousands of visitors. The footpath passes close to one of the obstacles in the cross country event. St Martin‘s Within and Without The land south of the River Welland, also known as Stamford Baron, and originally containing the vanished settlement of Burghley, was one parish until 1832 when St Martin‘s Within became part of the borough of Stamford.
Burghley Lane and Barnack Road
The open fields in St Martin‘s parish were enclosed in 1796, Burghley Park was extended westwards to the Great North Road and the Bottle Lodges were built, providing an imposing entrance to the Park. Barnack Road was laid out, replacing the earlier road to Pilsgate and Barnack, which was a continuation of Burghley Lane.
The Great Northern Railway, now the East Coast Mainline, missed Stamford and went through Peterborough. In 1846 the Midland Railway from Peterborough to Syston was built through Stamford and trains go through a tunnel under St Martin‘s. In 1867 a new branch line to Wansford was opened, funded largely by the Marquess of Exeter. It was never a financial success and finally closed in 1931. Part of its old track is used by the Torpel Way and forms a section of this walk.
John Clare and Burghley
As a young man he walked from Helpston to Stamford to buy a book but was disappointed because the bookseller would not open his shop on a Sunday. In the next week he gave one of
his friends a penny to look after some horses for him while he went to buy the book. He couldn‘t
wait to get home to read the book, so he climbed over the wall into Burghley Park and read it there. He was amazed by the beautiful views in the Park and decided he would like to work there as a gardener. He went with his father to see the Master of the Kitchen Gardens. They expected him to be a gentleman and "met him with our hats in our hands and made a profound bow". John started working there as an apprentice the next week. His work was taking vegetables and fruit to the big house several times a day and running errands for the head gardener, who turned out to be very bad tempered so he worked there for less than a year. The young employees slept in the summer house and were locked in every night to prevent them from stealing the apples in the orchard, but they used to get out of a window and climb over the wall. They gathered at The Hole in the Wall public house in Cheney Lane in Stamford, "famous for strong ale and midnight merriment". John Clare had a very high opinion of the Marquess of Exeter, later on one of his patrons.