Belton - Epworth Turbary - Epworth

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The walk takes place on the Isle of Axholme - land that was drained in the early 1600s by the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden. The main characteristic of the Isle is that it is predominantly flat and so those looking for easy walking have certainly got it here.

We start by briefly walking a disused railway trackbed, that of the Isle of Axholme Joint Railway. This railway was a joint venture between NER (North Eastern Railways) and L&Y (Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway) and was closed to passengers in the 1930s. We soon leave the trackbed (via the trackbed of a branch line) to cross on good farm tracks to the wooded Epworth Turbary Nature Reserve. This is owned by English Nature and you are free to visit.

From here, we pass through the outlying settlement of Epworth Turbary ('turbary' being an old English word for a place where peat can be dug), which is of considerable historic and scientific interest, being one of the few relicts of raised bog in the area. Plant species include cotton grass, cross-leaved heath, meadow-rue and fen sedge. Breeding birds include teal, snipe, woodcock, long-eared owl, tree pipit and both green and great-spotted woodpeckers.

Now, passing beneath the Isle of Axholme Joint Railway, we quickly head into Epworth itself and the chance for a short diversion to The Old Rectory Museum, an imposing Queen Anne building dating from 1709. The previous house (in which John Wesley was born) had been destroyed by a fire (thought to have been started by arsonists) from which John was rescued. For those wishing to visit, it's open from March to October and you are welcome to eat your lunch in the gardens during opening times. Move on to the market place (Waymark 20) and the market cross from which John preached on many occasions. Now, we have a good opportunity to explore this small market town, including the Wesley Memorial Methodist Church which was built in 1889 as a memorial to the contributions made by John and Charles Wesley to world religion. Note the beautiful stained glass window featuring the two brothers looking in the direction of the Old Rectory. Why not finish your visit to Epworth with a drink in the Red Lion pub (Waymark 20), where John often lodged when visiting Epworth in later life.

We leave Epworth past the impressive 12th Century St Andrew's Church (Waymark 22), where John Wesley's father Samuel was Rector. The churchyard contains Wesley's tomb and it was from here that he gave rousing speeches to crowds after he was denied the use of the church itself due to his unorthodox beliefs. Then it's back to the start via two windmills and the railway trackbed on which we started our walk.

Other than one busy road crossing, the route is very dog-friendly. There are no stiles and no livestock present on either of the two occasions I walked it. Please be aware if visiting the nature reserve, that cattle graze the open areas and a number of species of groundnesting birds breed in the area.

England - East England - Lincolnshire - Humberside

Features

Ancient Monument, Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Moor, Mostly Flat, Museum, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, Stately Home, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife
11/05/2013 - janet marris

Lovely morning walk.Easy to follow directions. Had a lovely lunch in the red lion pub in Epworth after the walk.

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