Trek through the unspoilt Lincolnshire countryside

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Thankfully, the ever-handy All Trails app, recommended by the Visit Lincolnshire tourist board, came to our rescue, finally setting us on the right return leg by following the “Skylark” marks through hilly farmland. After all, it was apparently only a “moderate” four-mile walk. Although quite strenuous for a couple of green city dwellers, it was a very rewarding ramble, with sweeping views in every direction, together with glimpses of busy farmers bringing in the harvest. After watching Clarkson’s Farm we all know what goes on now, don’t we?

We were also fortunate enough to arrive on the first weekend of the annual open house church festival, so we also took in a chapel or two on our four-day break, including one at Fulletby, which was at the walk’s halfway point.

What a delightful church, tucked away in the quietest village imaginable.

Soon we arrived back at our starting point at the pretty Blue Bell Inn where we had booked lunch and parked the car.

One rather large steak and ale pie and a pint of bitter soon eased away any new waymark chatter.

We had based our trip at the five-star Advocate Arms in the quiet Lincolnshire town of Market Rasen. It’s famous for its racecourse, but also convenient for exploring the Lincolnshire Wolds, which is something of a hidden gem, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and with goodreason.

The Advocate offered stylish, spacious and comfortable rooms, first-class food, ­exceptional breakfasts and service along with a warm welcome. Try the Scotch egg, with Lincolnshire pork sausage meat. A treat!

As we drove across the top of the Wolds, bound for Louth, another thriving small town, spectacular 360 degree views opened up around us. It deserves more visitors – although too many would spoil its natural charms.

Louth proudly boasts many quirky independent shops which we sampled on a busy Saturday afternoon. Pop into the Cheese Shop on Eastgate – soon moving to bigger premises – a famous stopover for The Hairy Bikers, who know a thing or two about fine nosh. My favourite local cheese treats were Lincolnshire Poacher and Lincoln Imp, both worth stocking up on.

Local produce and cuisine were a real highlight of our stay. In the evening we visited The Cross Keys, Grasby – definitely use a sat nav to find – a rather unassuming pub with a knockout menu. Sitting on a ridge, it is known as the “pub with a view”.

You can just make out Lincoln Cathedral in the distance but it is chef Stephanie Baker’s outstanding menu that you won’t take your eyes off.

There are pub classics or a la carte, from which I had an extraordinary crab starter followed by a lamb shank on a bed of crispy seaweed.

Arguably the best pub food in the whole of Lincolnshire.

We set off touring the southern Wolds the following morning, taking in the Snipe Dales Nature Reserve. You will need to source an old-fashioned pound coin for the parking but with only one car to be seen, we had the footpaths almost to ourselves on a crisp, sunny autumn morning. Listen out for robins in good voice.

The adjacent Country Park offers many circular walks, for which we were very grateful given our previous map-reading efforts.

As the warmth of the day increased, we headed towards the coast, taking in another delightful church, this time dating from the 13th century. It was in the peaceful village of Somerby, population 18, now 20, deep in “Lincolnshire poacher country”.

It features the original oak door, sporting a hook where ancient combatants might have hung their shields. Thankfully, the old latch on the heavy door still worked as it creaked open. Inside, we read up on celebrated poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, a famous son of the area, and looked on in wonder at headstones from 600 years ago.

The seaside was just a few miles away, so we took a brief excursion to busy Sutton-on-Sea, as dozens took in the autumn sunshine on long beachside walks and quirkily marked cycle trails.

We escaped this flurry of Sunday activity in the friendly Ice Rock Cafe, nearby on the High Street, with lattes and scones.

To complete the day, a late afternoon tea beckoned at the wonderful Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa, built at the turn of the century by a rich baroness who wanted a base to walk her dogs in the woods, hence “pet wood”, Well, it is that, and much more, now a sprawling Tudoresque hotel with hand-carved staircases and wood-panelled rooms.

For £18.25 each, we enjoyed superb cucumber sandwiches, delicate cakes and all the tea we could drink! It’s a must do.

Ask to see the Dambusters Bar where the RAF 617 Squadron once recalled their dangerous missions over dinner. It is rammed with memorabilia, including signed photographs and mementoes of their brave deeds.

It’s a special place – there’s even a tree branch above the bar that had wedged itself in the fuselage on a return journey. We only wished we could stick around too.

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