- The Great North Road, Stamford
A mainly off-road route that is perfect for a family outing.
Cycle through fields of butterflies, along bridleways sun-dappled by sweeping trees and peak to a perfect view of Stamford. Enjoy a picnic or pub lunch, weather dependent. On the homeward stretch, contrast the sheep-scattered, rugged surrounds of Wothorpe House with the vibrant, well-kept gardens of Burghley.
- Distance: 6.5 miles
- Typical Time: 45 mins - 1 hour
- OS map: Landranger 141, Explorer 234
- Start & Finish: The stamford Meadows car park nearest to the train station.
- Terrain: Mainly off-road, some sections can be muddy after rain.
- Getting there: The route starts in the centre of Stamford. Aim for the George hotel, turn off towards the train station and pull into the car park on the right.
- Refreshments: The Bluebell Inn, Easton on the Hill, marks the route's halfway point and has a lovely garden and patio. Alternatively, the route starts and finishes near the George Hotel.
- Park in the Stamford Meadows car park nearest the train station. Walk your bikes across the footbridge onto The Meadows and head left (West), across the field towards a small gate in the fence. Pass through and you are on a public bridleway.
- Follow the bridleway west, in a straight line across the meadow, to reach a metal bridge over the River Welland. Dismount and walk over. The south bank of the river should now be on your right. The bridleway here hugs the riverbank. Keep right with the river, past the weir and pumping station, and pass under the A1 bridges.
- Soon Ketton Cement Works will come into view on the skyline. The path narrows and becomes winding as it nears Tinwell, so take care. When a junction by a bridge is reached, turn left onto a bridleway, heading south-east. The path veers right onto a green lane, which can be muddy after rain.
- When you reach Tinwell railway crossing, dismount, make your way across with care, and head uphill (south) towards Easton on the Hill. Look left: an attractive view of Stamford will take your mind off the steepest section of the route.
- You will shortly enter Easton on the Hill. At the village crossroads, turn left onto the High Street and you will shortly see the Bluebell Inn on your left.
- At the junction with the main road, dismount and walk your bikes left (east). You will very soon see the sign to Wothorpe bridleway across the road. Cross the road and disappear down a pretty narrow track. The path widens and passes attractive woodland, which you can detour through for a picnic if desired.
- When you reach a bridleway junction near the ruins of Wothorpe House, keep going straight ahead on the broad track.
- Cross the bridge over the A1 (attractive views of Stamford below) and continue onto the old Great North Road. Dismount and walk when you see the main road ahead: you will emerge in St Martin's Without.
- Walk across to the wide footpath on the other side of the road if you have small children. Continue down the hill, past the gates to Burghley House and into Stamford. Pass under the George Hotel sign and turn left at the traffic lights to return to the car park.
Points of Interest
- The Ruins of Wothorpe House
Wothorpe House was built in the 17th Century by Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter as a retreat for when Burghley House was being spring-cleaned. The buildings have been, until recently, allowed to fall to ruin. They are currently being renovated.
- Burghley House is a 16th Century Country House
Burghley House needs no introduction, I am sure. If you haven't visited for a while, the Garden of Surprises is worth a look. Hidden inside a yew hedge are exaggerating mirrors, confusing mazes, water squirters, transforming sculptures, an enticing grotto and an astonishing longitude dial.
About this route guide
This route is adapted from 20 Best Local Bike Routes, a guide book featuring 20 favourite local routes for cycling in Rutland and the surrounding area. It is available to buy from Walkers bookshops in Oakham, Stamford and Sleaford.
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