Skip to content
Grey heron by the river
Enjoy an winter walk in the parkland | © National Trust Images/Derek Hatton
Nottinghamshire & Lincolnshire

Belton Estate Riverside walk

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 1,300 acres with a historic herd of wild fallow deer. The walk links into a longer route which extends further into the park.

Admission charges to Belton

Normal admission charges to Belton apply when accessing this walk, please buy your tickets from visitor reception before you set off.

Total steps: 10

Total steps: 10

Start point

Belton Estate, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 2LS.

Step 1

After passing through visitor reception, turn right and walk behind the building following the surfaced path in the direction of the car park. Cross the drive (watch 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.

Step 2

Follow the path parallel to the river for 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.

Step 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 voles that flourish at here at Belton, despite being in decline elsewhere.

A river with visible riverbank to the left and a small built-up bank of twigs and stakes snaking through the water
Restoring the riverbank with buttresses | © National Trust

Step 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 summer, and include speckled woods, several white species, coppers, silver-washed fritillary and banded and blue azure damselflies. One of our earliest butterflies 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.

A white-clawed crayfish
A white-clawed crayfish | © Environment Agency.jpg

Step 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.

Step 6

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

Step 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 that leads along the northern edge of the pond flanked by mature alder trees, which would have been coppiced to provide useful branches for hurdles or charcoal. Alder is also a good host for moss, lichen and fungi, and attractive to small pearl-bordered fritillary, chequered skipper butterflies and crane fly.

Step 8

Follow the path along the edge of the pond to the surfaced drive, which links the Lion Gates to your right with the mansion down the drive to your left. Look out for the historic bridge crossing the culvert that takes the water from one pond to the other under the drive.

Step 9

Head down the avenue of trees towards the mansion and you'll gradually see the mansion, in all its majesty and stature, emerge as you continue along the path.

Step 10

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. Why not complete your walk with a tasty takeaway treat from the café?

End point

Belton Estate, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 2LS.

Trail map

Belton riverside walk map
Belton Riverside walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

You made it

Share your experience

More near here

North front of Belton House framed with trees in the sunshine

Belton Estate 

Exploration and relaxation for the whole family

Grantham, Lincolnshire

Fully open today
Couple walking a dog through woodland

Belton Park walk 

This circular walk at Belton Park passes key features of ancient woodland and the site of a deserted medieval village.

DistanceMiles: 3.2 (km: 5.12)
The Mirror Pond during the summer at Belton with the Garden Temple overlooking the pond

Belton Pleasure Grounds Walk 

Explore the Pleasure Grounds at Belton and get closer to nature via woodland paths that meander past unusual trees, water features, and follies. Over the summer months, Belton’s Pleasure Grounds are an idyllic spot for a stroll along winding paths surrounded by a range of seasonal wildflowers, taking in features such as the mirror pond and temple.

DistanceMiles: 1.5 (km: 2.4)

Get in touch

Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG32 2LS

Our partners

Cotswold Outdoor

We’ve partnered with Cotswold Outdoor to help everyone make the most of their time outdoors in the places we care for.

Visit website 

You might also be interested in

A group of hikers exploring a hilly landscape on a sunny winter's day.


Explore some of the finest landscapes in our care on coastal paths, accessible trails, woodland walks and everything in between. Find the best places to walk near you.

A group of people in a hiking group are being guided on a hike by rangers at Marsden Moor, West Yorkshire

Cotswold Outdoor: our exclusive walking partner 

Find out more about the National Trust’s ongoing partnership with Cotswold Outdoor as our exclusive walking partner.

An aerial view of an adult and baby walking a dog along a path at Baggy Point, Devon

Staying safe at National Trust places 

The special places in National Trust care sometimes come with a few risks for visitors, be it coastline or countryside. Find out how to keep safe throughout your visits.

A visitor carrying a backpack and walking along a footpath at Divis and the Black Mountain with stone walls either side, the countryside visible in the background.

Follow the Countryside Code 

Help to look after National Trust places by observing a few simple guidelines during your visit and following the Countryside Code.

Sheep grazing in the parkland with the house in the background at Belton House Lincolnshire.

Exploring the estate at Belton 

Explore 1,300 acres of parkland at Belton and find out more about the wildlife you may see along the way, including the herd of historic fallow deer.

A hot cup of tea on a table in the Stables Cafe at Belton

Eating and shopping at Belton 

Rest and refuel in a historic setting or treat yourself to something special to take home. Find out about our dog-friendly café and other places to eat and shop.

Dogs on a walk at Charlecote Park

Visiting Belton with your dog 

Belton is a three pawprint rated place and offers plenty of opportunities for bounding, jumping and sniffing for dogs. With 1,300 acres to explore, come and join us for a wander with your four-legged friend.

Visitors walking in the garden in spring at Belton Estate, Lincolnshire

Walking in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire 

From the parkland, woods and lakeside views of Clumber Park to the ancient woodland around Belton House, discover where to go for the best walks in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.