What is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and how do The Lincolnshire Wolds meet the criteria?

A short guide to the beauty and activities on offer on the doorstep of The Old Granary.

Although there are 46 AONBs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, there is currently only one in the East Midlands: the Lincolnshire Wolds.

In 1973, 216 square miles of the Lincolnshire Wolds was designated an AONB. The best news? The whole area can be explored using The Old Granary as your base.

How does a place become is an Area of Natural Beauty?

Before proposing an area to be designated as an AONB, Natural England must consider the landscape quality, the scenic quality, the relative wildness, the relative tranquility and the natural and cultural heritage of the area. It’s no wonder The Lincolnshire Wolds has retained its status for 45 years as it meets all of the required criteria in spades.

The conservation of the area is protected by the 1949 National Parks and Access to Countryside Act and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. Local authorities must ensure that any planning proposals and land management activities in an AONB don’t contravene any of the qualities that enabled the area to qualify in the first place.

About the Lincolnshire Wolds

If you know The Lincolnshire Wolds, you’ll know that there are few more beautiful landscapes in the whole of the UK.  The best part is, relatively few people do visit this area so the tranquility required is assured.

The rolling hills with the church spires of isolated settlements punctuating the scenery look wonderful in the spring and summer, with the fields glowing with brilliant oilseed rape flowers and golden wheat fields. In the winter, they become a frost-tipped wonderland with ancient bare branched trees silhouetted against the pale, crisp sky.

Unlike most Areas of Natural Beauty, the Lincolnshire Wolds has intense and careful farming to thank for its majestic landscape. Over the last couple of centuries, the careful management of the area by farmers has conserved its distinctive round and long barrows.

Such agricultural progress has also helped to feed the nation  – something we continue to be a part of at The Old Granary, growing tonnes of potatoes and combinable crops every year.  If you come and stay you can see us in action!

How to explore the Lincolnshire Wolds

Many visitors choose to explore the area by foot. Set out from nearby Caistor towards Market Rasen or Louth, or explore the 4km of Permissive Rights of Way across our own farmland.

Don’t forget the famous Viking Way, which you can join 5 minutes walk from The Old Granary. It runs all the way from the Humber Bridge, through the Wolds, past Lincoln and down to Rutland.

The Wolds is also home to some fantastic cycle routes, though be warned – despite what you might have heard, Lincolnshire is far from flat!  Even a drive across the Bluestone Heath Road from Caistor to Candlesby (near the coast) is a great way to spend the afternoon. On a clear day you’ll see Boston Stump, Lincoln Cathedral and the sea!

Places of interest in the Lincolnshire Wolds

Whilst exploring the Wolds, you’re bound to come across something of archaeological interest. As well as the Romans, who set out much of our great road network within the county, early humans lived in The Lincolnshire Wolds over 300,000 years ago. Flint hand axes were found in glacial gravel at Welton le Wold.

Some beautiful churches, both large and small, provide a little more ‘modern’ history. Not far from The Old Granary is All Saints Church, Walesby, also known as ‘The Ramblers Church’, such is it’s popularity with those exploring the area on foot!

There are 14 Sites of Special Scientific Interest within The Lincolnshire Wolds AONB. The Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan and Natural England support landowners to maintain and improve these sites all year round. Our famous chalk streams not only look beautiful, but are home to some incredibly rare plants and animals, including water voles, otters and brown trout.

Lincolnshire Chalk Stream

All this activity is bound to work up an appetite.  There are some wonderful pubs, cafes and visitor centers across The Lincolnshire Wolds AONB providing delicious meals created with a wealth of local ingredients. The Old Granary recommends:

Find out more before your stay

We’re always happy to answer any questions you have about our accommodation or the local area before you book a stay at The Old Granary. Get in touch for all the information you need before your trip.

We look forward to seeing you in our beautiful part of the world!