Monksthorpe Chapel was built in 1701 and has a rare open air baptistry. Built in a time when those who believed in the full immersion of believers risked persecution and even imprisonment, this unique secluded chapel was built to look like a barn in order to avoid being discovered. The key is available daily between February and October from Gunby Hall & Gardens for a fully refundable £20 cash deposit.
- Bus stop
Start: Gunby Hall and Gardens
From the courtyard, go through the white picket gate and follow the garden path towards the church, past the carp pond. Leave the gardens and go through the gate on your left before the church.
Go past St. Peter's church and bear right following the fenceline of the gardens. From time to time, the field will be home to the tenant farmer's herd of Lincoln Red cattle. Do take care when walking through the field and keep your dogs on a short lead. Look to your left and you will see the remains of the deserted medieval village. Go through the wrought iron kissing gate and continue across the field to the stile.
Explore the lumps and bumps of the once thriving village of Gunby, which was originally known as 'Gunnebi' and is first recorded in the Domesday Survey when the land was granted to Eudo Fitz Spirewic, a Norman baron. All that remains today are the earthworks of hollow-ways, tracks and housing platforms. When walking across the parkland, look out for brown hare, green woodpecker and mistle thrush.
Cross Gunby Lane and continue straight on along the edge of the fields towards Candlesby. The path bears slightly to the right. Climb over the stile and you will come out behind Candlesby church.
From Candlesby church, turn left and head down the hill towards the corral. Please close the gate carefully behind you. The path continues along the edges of the fields bearing slightly to the left. The footpath is well marked with yellow arrows, until you come out at the concrete bridleway.
When you reach the bridleway, turn right and continue straight on until you reach the road.
At the road, walk straight on and follow the road as it bears left. Turn left at the T junction. You will see a poultry farm on your right, and a farm track sign posted 'Monksthorpe' straight ahead. Follow the track until you arrive at Monksthorpe Chapel on your right.
You have reached Monksthorpe Chapel. To return, retrace your steps to the bridleway.
The chapel was used regularly up until the 1970s when it fell into disrepair. The East Midland Baptist Association began restoration before the chapel came to the National Trust in 2001. Originally, the chapel would have had a thatched roof, looking like a barn from the outside to avoid detection. The present interior is typical of the 1840s when it was refurbished. The field adjacent to the chapel belonged to Spilsby airfield in World War II, the extension of which threatened the existence of Gunby Hall in 1944.
At the bridleway, you may return to Gunby the way you came, or, to make the route circular, walk straight on and continue as the bridleway turns into a green lane, until you reach Gunby Lane. Along the green lane look out for tree sparrows and, in summer, turtle doves. In summer, look over the field gate into Hunger Hill Meadow for spectacular wildflowers and butterflies.
Turn right onto Gunby Lane and follow the road as it bears left towards Bratoft.
Turn left at the next T junction.
After you have passed a couple of cottages on your right, you will see the entrance to the old railway line on your left. Follow the old railway line for just under 1km, until it is crossed by the footpath. Along the railway you may see bullfinches, yellowhammers, long-tailed tits and, in summer, whitethroats.
The East Lincolnshire Line was constructed in 1848, linking Grimsby and Boston. The 'Navvies' who constructed the railways were synonymous with antisocial behaviour. Drink was seen as a particular evil, to the extent that Emily Massingberd, a leader of the Temperance Movement, bought the railway inn at Burgh-le-Marsh station and turned it into a temperance inn. The line was closed in 1971 as part of the Beeching Review. Thanks to the limestone, this area of the parkland is particularly rich in wildflowers.
Turn left off the old railway line back onto the foot path and follow the green lanes, highlighted with yellow arrows, back up to Gunby Hall and Gardens. The footpath bears right and you enter the parkland over a stile, where St. Peter's church is visible.
End: Gunby Hall and Gardens
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- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 6-8 miles
- Time: 2.5 hours
- OS Map: 274
Grass fields, country lanes and quiet back roads
- How to get here:
By train: Skegness 7½ miles
By road: On A158 off Gunby roundabout between Spilsby and Skegness. Signposted from A158. 13 miles east of Horncastle
Parking: Free, 30 yards from entrance
Sat-Nav: PE23 5SS - please note that our entrance is an exit off the roundabout and not slightly beyond or before as some SatNav systems suggest.
No.6 from Lincoln and Skegness. Layby at Gunby roundabout is a request stop. 530 yards walk to entrance
Toilets at Gunby Hall & Gardens and at Monksthorpe Chapel. Tea-room at Gunby Hall & Gardens.
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