WORDS & PICTURES: Maxim Peter Griffin
You have to walk to the hill.
Out of town, through the holloway at Deighton Close – by the old school for naughty boys – at the right time of year you’ll see a few deer in the parkland (it’s Autumn – they are no where to be seen)
The lane becomes a track – pheasant trap on the right – Danny Champion of the World – The track becomes furrowed and muddy-
hoof prints – skirt round the farm yard – the way becomes the path – over the fence (carefully – either side is strung with electric)
The bull field is free of the bull today – The last one was a big bugger – It got a bit Withnail – Over the field – We used to pick mushrooms here –
the farmer was always quite cool about that sort of thing – Big hedge – hawthorn – Careful now – this is the Rubicon – down the steps beyond the hedge
is the A 16 – Northbound will take you to Grimsby (a much maligned place) South will take you to Skegness (home of the Jolly Fisherman and the lost
Roman port) and Boston (from here went the Pilgrim Fathers) – Cross the Rubicon and up the steps to the gate in the hedge –
This is Acthorpe Top – where the Saxons cremated their dead – follow the edge of the field to the woods – a small farm on the right will sell eggs from dawn til dusk
some days – The Wood is above you – the path skirts around the summit – leave the path at the first sign of cover –
The hill has no name but locally the wood is known as Cow Pastures – it used to be a gravel quarry in the 18th century – they raced horses here in the 19th
and now, on the odd Sunday, the Local airsoft group play soldiers – they dug foxholes and trenches here
and there – most are quite sturdy – some are flooded – There ground is his deeply pitted from the quarrying – big, deep pools and the reflection of oak, ash and birch.
Great cheeses of flint sticking out the earth – it is tempting to lob one into the deepest pool – a lovely plop – But I know better than to disturb still water on funny hills.
Tread lightly. Note the fungi . Find a stick . Clay is slippery at this time of year.
Working across the lumps and dodging the pools, head to the northern edge of the wood. Stay in the treeline. Cover is important – don’t stick out on a walk – Out in the field beyond are six ploughed out tumuli – In the dryer weather you might see the parch marks – Bronze age stuff – Disturbed graves are common in Lincolnshire – I can well imagine what the quarrying dug away
A commission for the local church – the view back – Anglican masonry in the distance – Hedge line – Traces of the old locals – a single turbine and the Out Marsh, the Saxon Shore, Saltfleet, the mouth of the mighty Humber, Hail Sand Fort, Spurn lighthouse, Yorkshire.
A Spitfire lows over,once then twice over the wood then off north again.
A regiment of ramblers sticks to the path – they can’t see me – but I can see them – a bit of fun to stalk them – boyish mischief – a few moments play at being the Rogue Male – then they
are gone – off in their yellows and reds – probably to the Wheatsheaf for a late lunch – Take a pack up – it tastes better – a few cold roast potatoes , some pickles and some ham. A flask.
In the summer months I’d take a couple of cans of Euro lager and rest at the foot of a tree – but it’s damp now and the light is changing and there are things to do
– Draw up this job for the vicar –
A school run – tea to cook . Exit the wood. Stop. Turn back. Winkle that nice bit of flint out of the earth. It’s good but not a keeper. Throw it high up into the branches – Down it comes and – Splosh – into the deepest of the pools – big ripples – hit the path again quick before the water settles.
I know better than to disturb still water on funny hills and hang around afterwards.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Maxim Peter Griffin is a landscape artist, cartographer and walker based in Lincolnshire.