Belton Riverside Walk

Walking trail

This scenic riverside walk follows the River Witham as it meanders through Belton Park, a wildlife rich open area of grassland and ancient woodland of around 1300 acres with an historic herd of wild fallow deer. The walk links into a longer route which extends further into the park.

The river rises south of Grantham and runs for a length of about 80 miles north to Lincoln, where it cuts through the ridge, down across the Fens and into the Wash at Boston. The Belton section of the river is part of the Grantham Urban River and Wetland Plan. The project aims to restore the river banks for the benefit of wildlife.

Belton house river witham

Map

Map of riverside walk, Belton House, Lincolnshire

Start:

Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG32 2LS

1

Normal admission charges apply when accessing this walk. After passing through the visitor services building turn right and walk behind the building following the surfaced path in the direction of the car park. Cross the drive, watching out for cars to your left and follow the grass path through the trees. One of the first notable trees immediately on your right is a rare sugar maple. Look out for squirrel darting across the tree canopy, especially in the autumn as they store food for the winter. Speckled wood butterflies and other invertebrates are active here and throughout the walk, especially in summer.

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Speckled wood butterfly

2

Follow the path parallel to the river for a distance of approximately 200 metres until you see a gate and wooden fence. Go through the open gate. Carry on across the grass, and bear left for 200 metres or so towards another small gate next to a pond. You'll come back to the pond on your return journey and find out more about it. Once through the gate head right, down towards the raised wooden boardwalk.

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Tree Creeper

3

At the end of the boardwalk, head towards the river. The grass can be marshy and wet in places, especially in the winter when it floods as river levels rise. Follow the meandering course of the river upstream. The dense and varied bankside vegetation includes bulrushes, willow, alder and hawthorn and is a natural habitat for water vole that flourish at Belton despite being in decline elsewhere.

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River Witham restoration project

4

Continue to follow the course of the river as it meanders. The quiet location, size and speed of the river benefits a diverse range of wildlife. Butterflies are frequent visitors to the river corridor, especially in the summer months, and include speckled woods, several white species, coppers, silver-washed fritillary and banded and blue azure damselflies. One of our earliest butterfly is the orange tip which loves the lady's smock as an early nectar source. The river is also home to a nationally rare species of crayfish.

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White-clawed crayfish

5

With the river on your right, head up the incline to the site of the deserted medieval village of Towthorpe. Though hard to see there are earthworks here and evidence of the ridge and furrow associated with medieval farming methods.

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Birds Foot Trefoil flowers

6

Head for the wooden post with a waymark on it and follow the path through the trees, known as Little Towthorpe Plantation.

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Great spotted woodpecker (female)

7

As the plantation narrows you'll see the timber wicket gate you originally came through beside Towthorpe Hollow Pond. Go through the gate and bear right, following the path which leads along the northern edge of the pond flanked by mature alder trees.

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A kingfisher fishing from its perch

8

Follow the path along the edge of the pond, to the surfaced drive linking the Lion Gates to your right with the mansion down the drive to your left. You might like to take a closer look at the the historic bridge crossing the culvert that takes the water from one pond to the other under the drive. Initially as you head down the avenue of trees towards the mansion you only catch a glimpse of its chimneys then, as you continue, the full extent of this majestic house gradually grows in stature and prominence.

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Belton House, Lincolnshire

9

Continue down the drive and as you approach the overflow car park look out for a large veteran sycamore tree on your left next to the car park fence. Carry on walking towards the mansion and the Oval Lawn where Belton Park Cricket Club play their home matches during the spring and summer months. Why not complete your walk with a tasty treat in the café or visit the gift shop and second hand bookshop.

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Belton Park Cricket Club playing a home game on Belton's Oval Lawn

End:

Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG32 2LS

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Belton Riverside Walk

Terrain

The terrain is uneven and the river edge can be wet and damp underfoot at times.

The route crosses rough, tussocky grassland, following deer and sheep tracks in places. It's generally firm in most weather conditions, but can be muddy closer to the river, where there is a wooden boardwalk for some of its length.

There's a slight hill and a number of gates, but no stiles. There are no benches at present.

Dogs are welcome but must be kept on leads at all times due to the presence of deer and grazing livestock.

Belton Riverside Walk

How to get here

Address
Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG32 2LS
By road

Located on the A607, Grantham to Lincoln road, Belton House is signposted from the A1 and A52.

Parking: provided free of charge. Please note: all visitors (including members) must obtain a ticket from visitor reception.

SatNav: please use NG32 2LW for directions.

By bus

Bus 1 (Lincoln – Grantham) and Bus 27 (Sleaford – Grantham) both stop outside the main entrance of Belton House.

Belton Riverside Walk

Facilities and access

  • Free parking, please note grounds admission applies.
  • On arrival, please could all visitors check-in at Visitor Reception, including National Trust members.