Approaching Nettleton Top

Nettleton Top

ŴRoute: Nettleton Top

Area: North Lincolnshire

Date of walk: 27th February 2022

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 6.2 miles

Ascent: 700 feet

Weather: Sunshine and cloudless skies, cold wind

The village of Nettleton is known for an odd tradition: on Boxing Day, shoemakers would traditionally ‘beat the lapstone’ at the house of any ‘water drinker’ (teetotaller), as a mocking act and practical joke. The tradition derives from an 18th-century story in which a Nettleton resident, Thomas Stickler, who had declined alcohol for twenty years, became inebriated after drinking half a pint of ale at his shoemaker on Christmas Day. When questioned by his wife, he replied that he was not drunk but had simply ‘fallen over the lapstone’

We parked on the roadside near the church of St John the Baptist, which has a beautiful golden appearance but sadly weathers very badly due to the use of ironstone in its construction. Ironstone was mined in these parts for many years, and so was an obvious choice as a building material – without the benefit of hindsight. We followed Normanby Road for about 600 yards to a fork and took a lane to the left, part of the long distance Viking Way. We then joined a path along Nettleton Valley, with Nettleton Beck a constant companion on our right. The ascent up the valley is so gentle that it’s hardly noticed, and the path eventually reaches the road at the halfway point of the walk and at the giddy height of 500 feet – Himalayan for these parts. Lincolnshire’s highest point is nearby (a radar dome shown on the OS map as 168m, or 551 feet)

We followed the lane in the direction of Nettleton Top. Although it’s quite a lengthy road section there’s very little traffic and there are huge views to the left to be enjoyed along the way. After passing Nettleton Top the road descended to a car park, where a footpath left the road to climb up to the brow of Nettleton Hill. The paths on the hill are permissive only and are not shown on the OS map. We followed the ridge line, with a fence and hedge on our left, but with plenty of gaps to enjoy the view. It was here that there was some navigational uncertainty, with a barbed wire fence between us and our line of descent back into Nettleton. We realised that we’d walked on the wrong side of the fence, and when we reached the brow of the hill should have kept to the very edge of the ridge. However our route was clearly in use, with a defined path and a bench to enjoy the view. Other walkers had made the same mistake as us and had removed one of the strands of barbed wire, so we had no difficulty in ducking through the gap. We turned left at the gap to join a clear path descending steeply downhill to a gate – which was padlocked. We climbed over onto the roadside, realising we’d made another minor navigational mistake – we should have sought out a permissive footpath at a stile near a large house and followed it round the edge of the field (the OS map shows the correct route). It wasn’t a major problem and, judging by the well worn path we’d followed, and the unkempt appearance of the very narrow permissive path, most walkers take the same route as we did

From the gate it was a short stroll back into Nettleton

For a slightly shorter version of this route which omits Nettleton Hill and its minor navigational issues, click here

Click on the icon below for the route map (subscribers to OS Maps can view detailed maps of the route, visualise it in aerial 3D, and download the GPX file. Non-subscribers will see a base map)

Scroll down – or click on any photo to enlarge it and you can then view as a slideshow

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