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Project

Reconnecting Grantham to its historic landscape

Bellmount Tower standing tall against bare trees in the winter
Bellmount Tower as seen from the end of the east avenue | © Instinctive Photography

The National Trust and the Woodland Trust, supported by National Lottery Players through the National Lottery Heritage Fund are working together to reconnect Grantham to its historic landscape.

Thanks to support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we’ll be able to improve access to Bellmount and Londonthorpe Woods for the benefit of both the people of Grantham and wildlife.

Reconnecting woodland

Londonthorpe Woods once formed part of the seventeenth century Brownlow Estate, but over time this historic landscape has become fragmented. Working in partnership with the Woodland Trust, we aim to reconnect this historic landscape, plant more trees and improve access between the two sites. The people of Grantham will be free to explore these special sites and discover the wildlife and inspirational stories of their shared heritage.

Conservation of heritage

The project will involve conservation work to improve wildlife habitats across both sites. The wildflower meadow at Londonthorpe wood has been reinvigorated, and the veteran trees on Belton's East Avenue have been surveyed. The trees will receive specialist surgery to prolong their lives, with a small amount of work due to take place this winter. A small tree nursery has been set up at Belton to grow the 250 trees needed to fill the gaps in the East Avenue, and they should be ready to plant towards the end of 2024.

Archaeological surveys have been carried out on key built heritage features. The studies have assessed the remains of the Machine Gun Corps camp at Bellmount, the RAF Regiment station at Alma Park and Bellmount Tower. Conservation work will begin as soon as possible.

Volunteering

A joint volunteering program is an important part of the project. There will be opportunities to learn new skills and contribute to the activities and management of the project area and make a real difference to the future of this historic landscape.

A group of people standing in green and brown bracken listen to a nature guide
Book onto a guided walk and explore the project sites | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Events

We are hosting regular guided walks across Bellmount and Londonthorpe Woods. The walks often focus on themes such as military history or provide an opportunity to enter Bellmount Tower or discover the new accessible tracks.

Our launch event for the new cycle track, Cycle to the Woods, was a great success with more than 100 people cycling from Grantham town centre to the Londonthorpe car park, and the event returned in 2023. We’ve also been able to host a family Nature Day and thank local Lottery Players by offering an opportunity to enter Bellmount Tower on Mother’s Day.

To keep up to date with our guided walks and events, join our 'Reconnecting Grantham' Facebook group.

Travel and access

We've looked at ways to get people to, around and from the site in an environmentally friendly way, while being as accessible to as many user groups as possible.

The car park at Londonthorpe has been upgraded, with new access points, disabled parking and bicycle stands. Along with the development of an access track and cycle route leading to Alma Park industrial estate from Londonthorpe Woods.

We have added a number of new gates at various entrances and some benches on-site with a few more to follow. While Five Gates Lane was closed for resurfacing, we took the opportunity to install five gateway features, to replicate the five gates after which the road was named. Our hope is that the gates will also help to slow the traffic.

Frosty view from the South Drive towards Belton House with sheep grazing

Donate

Everyone needs nature, now more than ever. Donate today and you could help nature flourish and ensure our shared history continues to inspire us all. Thank you for your continued support.

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