Gunby Hall to Bratoft Manor walk
Cross the former East Lincolnshire Line and discover the Medieval moated manor site, the former home of the Massingberds of Gunby.
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.
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.
You may return the way you came, or you can extend your walk with a visit to Bratoft church (not National Trust) which has connections to the Massingberd family. Carry straight on along the side of the moat, climb the stile and walk straight on along the lane. You will see a road ahead - carry straight on and take the first left to the church on your left hand side
St Peter and Paul's Church
Bratoft's church was built in the fifteenth century, and was partly restored in the memory of Charles Langton Massingberd in 1889, having a brick West tower built in 1747. Inside is a unique painting depicting the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The Church is open daily between 9am and 4pm, services on Wednesdays and most Sundays. Next door to the church is the Old Rectory, built in about 1840 by Rev Algernon Massingberd. It is now a National Trust holiday cottage.
Retrace your steps to Gunby Hall and Gardens
Gunby Hall and Gardens
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