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Discover the Great Outdoors in Bourne

Living in Bourne presents the best of both worlds - you get all the amenities of a small town, yet you have some spectacular countryside right on your doorstep - not only that, but Bourne is the central point at which the western edge of the flat Lincolnshire fens meets the eastern slopes of the Kesteven Uplands, so there is a varied landscape to explore depending on what direction you take. This makes Bourne the perfect place to get out and about to explore the great outdoors.

Walking, running and cycling provide great ways to explore the area - and you'll certainly never struggle to find places to explore, with easy access to the vast Lincolnshire countryside surrounding the town and the various woodlands that are dotted around the perimeter of the town, including the ancient Bourne Woods, Elsea/Math Wood, Dole Wood and Temple Wood. This provides the perfect opportunity to explore all that the town and surrounding area has to offer by allowing access to areas that aren't normally accessible via car or other means of transport.

Woodland in Bourne Footpath at Bourne Woods, Bourne

There are a vast array of public footbaths in and around the town that take you through beautiful open countryside, woodland and parks - the majority of which are well sign-posted and well-maintained. If you are a fan of road biking, you'll certainly never be short of back roads to explore with some truly stunning countryside and varied terrain to appreciate on-route. The woods and countryside around Bourne also provide a great location for those with mountain bikes - as does the stunning grounds of Grimsthorpe Castle, Park and Gardens (just west of Bourne in the village of Grimsthorpe), where you find several traffic-free trails to explore. For those looking for a more challenging ride, the hilly terrain to the west of Bourne towards Stamford and Grantham is recommended. For those with road bikes, there are some truly beautiful villages to explore around Bourne as well as some picture perfect scenery, and with very little traffic on many of the back roads and lanes through the local countryside, this makes road biking even more of pleasure. Please see below for some suggested cycle routes in and around Bourne.

Along with exploring just how lovely the local area is, by walking, running or cycling, you'll also be burning off calories, helping you to lose weight, along with releasing feel-good chemicals that come with exercising - there's certainly something very satisfying about being out in the fresh air and being close to nature. It's very common, particularly during the warmer months, to see many cyclists, runners and walkers around the town, so you'll be in good company if you do decide to leave your car at home. In fact, statistics show that Bourne and South Kesteven has a whole has one of the lowest rates of obesity in the whole of Lincolnshire, demonstrating that we're certainly an active bunch of people in Bourne.

Boy on mountain bike in woods

Did you know? The average person will burn between 450 to 750 calories per hour cycling. The number of calories depends on your weight, speed and time spent biking.

Bourne is fortunate to have some lovely green spaces in the town centre, including the idyllic and peaceful Memorial Gardens and equally appealing Wellhead Gardens, both perfect for relaxation, walking and jogging. The attractive Abbey Lawns are also well worth a visit, being home to many of the town's sporting and recreational events, and the impressive Bourne Outdoor Pool.

Venture to the western outskirts of the town and you'll also find the ancient Bourne Woods where you can enjoy miles of woodland cycling and walking trails through a mixture of conifers and broad-leaved trees - the woods are also perfect for spotting wildlife, including deer. The town is also surrounded by other patches of beautiful woodland, including the Elsea/Math Wood, Dole Wood and Temple Wood - these ancient woods provide a quiet place to walk or cycle, and are particularly pretty in the springtime when the many bluebells provide a carpet of intense blue. If you fancy an attractive waterside walk, the River Glen is just a few miles from Bourne - this is also the ideal location for kayaking and fishing. Just four miles north-west of Bourne, Grimsthorpe Park and Gardens offers a 3,000 acre park of rolling pastures, lakes, and woodland landscaped by Capability Brown - cycle hire is also available here.

The Wellhead Park in Bourne

Footpath Routes

Bourne Town

Bourne Footpath Routes

North of Bourne

Bourne North Footpath Routes

South of Bourne

Bourne South Footpath Routes

West of Bourne   

Bourne West Footpath Routes

Morton & Hanthorpe

Morton and Hanthorpe Footpath Routes

Suggested Cycle Routes

Please click on the link to download details of the suggested route.

Access to Woods

Dole Wood

The track to the reserve lies to the west of Obthorpe Lane, about 500m from the village of Thurlby; it is a further 500m walk down the track to the entrance. A limited amount of parking is available on Obthorpe Lane at the entrance to the track leading to the woods.

Location: Grid Ref: TF09171615, X/Y co-ords: 509171, 316157

Elsea/Math Wood

This woodland can be accesed via the Elsea Meadows Nature Reserve (access is available via Raymond Mays Way between the first roundabout at McDonald's and the second roundabout), the main A15 trunk road to the south of Bourne and Wood Lane in the village of Northorpe (off Northorpe Lane). A limited amount of off-road parking is available on the grass verge for the entrance provided on Raymond Mays Way.

Location: Grid Ref: TF09921832, X/Y co-ords: 509925, 318330

Bourne Woods

The main entrance to Bourne Woods is via the A151 Colsterworth Road to the west of Bourne. It is also possible to access the woods from Beech Avenue where there is a path down the side of number 65 (PE10 9RZ), and via Cawthorpe village. Limited parking is available at all entrances to the woods.

Location: Grid Ref: TF078215, X/Y co-ords: 507976, 321239

Temple Wood

Temple Wood can be is located close to the village of Kirkby Underwood and Aslackby, around five miles north of Bourne. The nearest postcode is NG34 0HF.

Location: Grid Ref: TF055287

Deer in Bourne Woods

Baston Fen

Baston Fen is the largest remaining area of wet fenland in Lincolnshire and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is a long tract of permanent pasture, which is flooded in winter and attracts large numbers of wildfowl. The reserve is perfect for bird spotting and is known for attracting a good variety of dragonflies along with many other invertebrates.

Baston Fen is located on the Baston to Tongue End and Spalding road, just outside of Baston village (south of Bourne) at the foot of the River Glen. The nearest postcode PE6 9PX.

Thurlby Fen Slipe

The Thurlby Fen Slide can be found at north side of the River Glen, opposite the Baston Fen nature reserve. This reserve is about 1.2 miles long and consists of old flooded borrow-pits with a gravelly bed, associated reedbeds, scrub and grassland and adjacent hedgerows. The reserve is noted for its dragonflies and a huge variety of birds can be seen here.

The slipe can be reached from the A15 by turning east at Thurlby crossroads. Passing Thurlby church on the right, follow the lane for 0.9 miles and then turn right along Baston Edge Drove green lane to the reserve entrance where there is parking space for cars at the end of the drove road. There is a linear path along the length of the reserve.

Please note that no dogs are allowed here.

Toft Tunnel

Toft tunnel, Toft, Bourne

Toft Tunnel was part of the last railway into Bourne - the line which linked the industrial Midlands with the East Coast resorts. It took a total of 400 men, 2.5 million bricks and 2 years to build. The line was used extensively during the summer months to transport those wishing to visit the coast, before passenger and goods services on the line finally stopped in 1959 and work to remove the tracks started in 1962.

The tunnel is now surrounded by a nature reserve, with park benches, steps, and a pleasant woodland trail above the tunnel linking both portals. Despite the various warning signs about falling masonry, the tunnel itself is in good condition.

Toft Tunnel is located south-west of Bourne on the A6121 Stamford road, roughly 0.6 miles from the A151 junction. Limited roadside parking is available by the entrance to the west cutting and in a small lay-by adjacent to the east cutting. Access to either cutting is from the roadside. Access to the track level is by steps.

Elsea Meadows

Elsea Meadows is a managed nature reserve on the outskirts of town, with an array of wildlife to explore. It is also possible to access the Elsea/Math woods from here.

Access is provided via Raymond Mays Way (between the first roundabout at McDonald's and the second roundabout) - the meadows are directly opposite Elsea Park. Limited parking is available on the grass verge next to entrance.

Stanton's Pit

Stanton's Pit is an 8.05-hectare Local Nature Reserve situated between the villages of Little Bytham and Witham-on-the-Hill, just a few miles from Bourne. The reserve mostly comprises of a disused sand pit with adjacent grasslands and is a mecca for wildlife.

The site is located not far from the village of Witham-on-the-Hill and can be accessed via the main road (known as Elm Avenue) between Witham-on-the-Hill and Little Bytham. The nearest postcode is PE10 0JN. A limited amount of parking is available here.

Please note that no dogs are allowed here.

The Macmillan Way

A long distance walk known as the Macmillan Way runs through Kate's Bridge on the western edge of the Fens (just a few miles south of Bourne) before joining the long oolitic limestone belt. This fully waymarked route is 290 miles in total length and links Boston in Lincolnshire to Abbotsbury in Dorset, following existing footpaths, bridleways and byways, and small stretches of minor roads. The full route covers some beautiful English countryside and takes you through the counties of Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset. It is promoted to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief and therefore is a very popular walking route - due to its long distance though, most people choose to tackle it in stages.

Please see Walking The Macmillian Way for more information.

Cycling and Walking Clubs in Bourne

Bourne Wheelers Cycling Club

A club for all cycle enthusiasts in Bourne. Members compete in time trials, road races, mountain biking, cycle cross, track, grass track and sportive.

Members also take part in social rides that depart from Bourne all year round and usually include a cafe stop.

During the Spring and Summer there are weekly 10 mile time trials on 3 different courses in the Bourne area.

Bourne & Morton Cycling Club

A Bourne based social cycling club, affiliated with British Cycling, who cater for any cyclists, from seasoned to total beginners.

South Kesteven Health Walks

Walking for Health South Kesteven provides free walks for beginners, people with health conditions that affect their daily activities, or people wishing to take a step down from a more intense activity level.

The group meets at the 1Life Bourne Leisure Centre every Friday at 11.45am for a walk around Bourne lasting around an hour.

The Bourne Woods & Dyke Village Circular Walking Route

The Bourne Woods & Dyke Circular Walking Route

1. Set off down the path on the corner, down the side of 65 Beech Avenue. Follow the path into the wood. Where the path meets a junction of paths, turn left, signposted towards the ponds.

2. Continue on until you reach another junction with a signpost, with ponds to left and Wood Lane straight on. Here, go straight on. Where this path meets another, turn left. The path then returns back into the wood. At the first junction of paths, turn right, then after a short while you will come to a fork in the paths. Take the right hand fork and follow this until you emerge from the woods.

3. At the track on the edge of the wood, turn left and follow this until you come to a junction of paths. Here, go right across a field, cross a small foot bridge and another field. Climb the stile and cross another small, grass field and another stile. Here, you will come to a track: follow it left towards the village. When you meet the road, turn right and follow the road until it meets Hanthorpe Road. Once there, turn right and follow the road into Morton, crossing the A15 at the cross-road and continuing down the high street in Morton. Just before you reach the green in front of the church, take the marked path on the right.

4. Go through the gate and head for the top, left-hand side of the field, passing through another gate. Follow the path across a field, cross a ditch, follow the path across the field, cross another ditch. Continue on into the next field. About half way across, a path goes off to the left towards Dyke. Follow this path through a small grass field and then through the gate and onto the road. Here, turn left. You will see the Wishing Well Inn public house.

5. Just before the Wishing Well Inn public house, there is a path to the right. Take this path and follow it as it turns right around a field. Keep following the path as it crosses a small foot bridge into another field, across it and out of the field onto the road. Cross the road onto the footpath and head back towards Bourne. Follow the footpath until you come to Stanley Street on the right. Take this road and follow it until you come to a T-junction with Beech Avenue. Here, turn right and follow the road until you come back to your start point.

The walk in total is about 6.6 miles.

Six Benefits of Getting Fresh Air

  1. doneFresh air is good for your digestive system
  2. doneFresh air helps improve blood pressure and heart rate
  3. doneFresh air makes you happier
  4. doneFresh air strengthens your immune system
  5. doneFresh air cleans your lungs
  6. doneFresh air gives you more energy and a sharper mind

Did you know? Bluebells, which are often found in the various woods around Bourne during springtime, are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This prohibits anyone from digging up the bulbs and landowners from removing bluebells from their land for sale.

Property in Bourne Village

Related Links

Explore Newton's Trail

Bourne Walking Trails

The Macmillan Way

Health Walks in and around Bourne

Walking in Lincolnshire

Walking: Flat maybe, but boring? Never: Paul Gosling visits Lincolnshire in bloom

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