Setting off from Bradley Woods, near Grimsby, at 10:23am on Saturday 30th April I had no idea what lay in store over the next few miles and hours! As a visitor to the area I wasn’t familiar with any of the route, or the terrain, and was relying on the waymarkers and an Ordnance Survey map for directions. But it was a lovely sunny day and I set out full of anticipation. Once out of the bluebell-carpeted woods the route crossed arable farmland before passing through Laceby Manor Golf Club. After crossing the A18 I then encountered the first climb of the day, up past Irby Holmes Wood to the village of Beelsby. Taking the path out of the village, I passed through some large agricultural buildings, a field of horses and across an arable field where there didn’t seem to be much evidence of a path at all! However, I spotted the way out at the corner of the field and emerged onto the lane and into the village of Hatcliffe. This was a pretty village, with a small stream running along the road and little bridges leading to the front doors of the houses. I passed the church and, once out of the village, took a left turn up a quiet country lane.
The route followed this lane for about a mile and a half, to cross the B1203 at East Ravendale, and made for a section of good running. A track led out of the village, and zigzagged around some fields and past a few woodland plantations. I passed what appeared to be a small stone quarry, before emerging into the village of Wold Newton from a narrow path through shoulder-high oilseed rape. I passed the church, and through a farmyard before taking the path through The Valley – a lovely wooded section full of trees beginning to burst into leaf, and a carpet of yellow Lesser Celandine. This is the southern-most part of the route, and the path then skirts the edge of Beesby Wood before turning left for the return journey.
As I ran along the edge of some large arable fields, full of bright yellow oilseed rape, I looked across to my right. From my elevated position there were fantastic long-distance views towards the coast / Humber estuary (see photos). From Hawerby the path contoured along the slope, before dropping down to cross the A18. The path then continued into the village of Ashby cum Fenby, across a couple more fields and a footbridge to Brigsley and then on to Barnoldby le Beck. Skirting round the church of St. Helen the path left the village and continued across a flat landscape of large arable fields with drainage ditches. It reminded me very much of the British 100km Championships I’d won several years ago, just across the Humber estuary at Patrington Haven! I could see Bradley Wood ahead and before I knew it I was skirting the edge of the wood and back to the point at which I’d started. It took me 3hrs 46:53, which included numerous stops to navigate as I didn’t want to inadvertently follow the waymarkers on one of the shorter circular route options! All in all, it was a really enjoyable morning’s run in the sunshine in beautiful countryside.