Follow in the footsteps of the artist, Gunby Estate walk
When Christiane Löhr visited Gunby this spring, she went for long walks around the grounds to gather the natural materials for her intricate sculptures. Why not discover the Gunby Estate by foot and walk in the artist's footsteps to see which plants, flowers and seeds you discover along the way.
Gunby Estate, 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.
From St. Peter's Church, carry straight on and cross the parkland and continue to the stile, with the cottages and trees on your left.
Medieval village of Gunby
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.
Follow the path and climb over a second stile into a field and turn left and follow the fence line by the trees to the gate/stile. Follow the purple way markers along the green lane.
At the end of the green lane turn left. Continue along the lane and through a field, until you reach the disused East Lincolnshire railway line. Constructed in 1848, the line linked Grimsby to Boston up until 1971 when it was closed as part of the Beeching review. The old railway line is a permissive right of way and you may walk up and down it. During the summer it is rich in wildflowers due to the limestone.
Cross the old East Lincolnshire line and walk along the edge of the field and climb over the next stile. Look out for nectaring butterflies such as common blue, small tortoiseshell and the painted lady.
You have now reached the site of the medieval moat, which you will see in front of you.
'Bratoft' comes from an old Scandinavian name 'breithr' meaning 'broad' and 'toft', which translates as 'homestead'. The moat would have surrounded a medieval manor and its gardens. It was probably built during the mid to late thirteenth century and was originally the home of de Braytofts before becoming the Massingberd family home. It was then demolished by Sir William Massingberd when the hall at Gunby was built in 1700.
Now retrace you steps back to the parkland with the medieval village. Once over the third stile, turn left and follow the fence line towards the trees. As you follow the fence line towards the right, you'll come across a pedestrian gate and you've arrived at the ice house pond.
Ice House Pond
Hidden beneath the overgrowth on the eastern side of the pond is the former ice house. During the winter, ice would have been collected from the pond and stored in the ice house where it could have been used as a source of ice during the summer, pre-refrigeration. The pond is surrounded by wildflowers, including snowdrops, winter aconites and early purple orchids, marsh marigold and yellow flag iris. These provide a haven for nectaring bees, hoverflies and butterflies including small tortoiseshell and speckled wood.
Follow the chalk path around the pond. Ahead of you you'll see a bark chipping path leading into the woods. Follow the path until you come to a stile on your right.
Cross the parkland, keeping the hall to your left. You will see a metal kissing gate ahead of you in the fence line; go through the gate and follow the fence line back to the church. Go through the gate into the gardens. Now you're back at Gunby.
Gunby Estate, Hall and Gardens
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