Belton Wilderness Walk

Walking trail

The first wilderness garden on this site was created by Viscount Tryconnel in the 1740s when it was fashionable to create outdoor places for quiet contemplation. The 1st Earl who inherited the estate in 1807 enhanced it further, adding interest, colour and character with the introduction of an arboretum, shrubberies, islands, a boathouse and the hermitage.

The walk passes through ancient woodland which retains evidence of many of its original features, including a cascade, gothic ruin and 19th century boathouse. The 7th Baron introduced an adventure playground into this area in 1978. So as you follow the Wilderness Walk, be prepared to encounter the sight and sounds of happy children!

A painting of the cascade approximately dated 1750, shows a rustic arch in the centre of the cascade and a ruin to the left

Map

Wilderness Walk Map, Belton House, Lincolnshire

Start:

Belton House main car park, grid ref: SK928391

1

The route can be accessed from both ends of the wilderness. This guide begins at the southern end closest to the car park. As you exit the Visitor Reception Building, go left between it and the information point. Cross the road taking care to look out for cars on your left and head to the wooden footbridge. Once across the first bridge stop at the brick foundations on your left.

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The Hermitage watercolour by Sophia Cust, Lady Tower

2

Cross over the second wooden bridge into the woodland and take the path to the left in front of the level crossing and past the play equipment until you come to a wooden boardwalk. As you cross it you will see a tree on your left surrounded by a circular wooden picket fence.

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Muddle tree, Belton House Lincolnshire

3

Continue along the path through the woodland until you reach the far end of the train track. Just beyond this there’s a wooden fence across the end of the woodland, with a ditch known as a ha-ha in front of it and fields beyond.

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Belton wilderness garden Sophia Cust watercolour

4

Retrace your steps back along the path and looking straight ahead you will notice some large trees with dramatic ‘drooping’ branches. The best place to spot them from is where the path is closest to the track.

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Beltons weeping beeches

5

Continue following the path back to the level crossing and cross the train track. At the kiosk follow the path to the right. When you reach the large play tower on your right, take a closer look at the large Wellingtonia tree stump with carved greyhounds on top. Greyhounds are significant at Belton, and have a frequent presence in the mansion. Continue over the boardwalk and through the trees.

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Wellingtonia stump, Belton House, Lincolnshire

6

Continue walking, through the yew avenue. As you approach the end of the playground look right and you will see, and possibly hear, the most dramatic highlight of the wilderness garden.

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Belton's boathouse behind the Gothic Ruin

7

Follow the path over the bridge across the river, with additional views of the cascade, until you reach a building.

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Pump house, Belton House, Lincolnshire

8

The path continues through an avenue of yew trees. On your right adjacent to the river is the boathouse.

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Watercolour of Belton's Boathouse in the Wilderness garden

9

Looking upstream from the boathouse, imagine what it would have been like to board a punt and head upstream to the start of the walk you've just experienced.

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Watercolour on paper, a gentleman and a lady in a boat on water with Belton House in the background

End:

Belton House main car park, grid ref: SK928391

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Belton Wilderness 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.

Belton Wilderness Walk

Facilities and access

  • Free parking. On arrival please check in at the Visitor Reception building. Grounds admission charges apply.
  • A cafe and toilets are available within the play area.