Getting to know our northern garden county… 5th August 2021

As we have decided to stay in the UK this year, we have decided to plan a few trips to explore a bit more of our beautiful country and this month, against most recommendations it was the turn of Lincolnshire – the UK’s second largest county and provider of the majority of the UK’s grain and potatoes….and a fair amount of vegetables too!

Neither of us had ever been before but looking at the tourist board website the food lured us in, as did the beautiful pictures that we found of the Wolds and the coastline….secretly I had also always wanted to go to Scunthorpe ever since I worked on email security content management …. something only those who ever worked with me will understand and I am not going to explain it here – alas, we drove round it… so perhaps another time…. or perhaps not!!

Despite planning the trip as we weren’t sure how much availability there would be with everyone wanting to get away in the UK and take advantage of our beautiful countryside, it is fair to say I got a bit over excited and before I realised it, I had booked 17 days away without actually including Lincoln itself which was way up on my list…. so we will be back to eat more vegetables, investigate the Lincolnshire vineyards, meet more cows and explore a little further…. at the end of the day now that Keith’s brother, Paul has a little Post Office/News Agents just outside Beverley we have an excuse for a detour en route.

But back to this trip… we set off to the Lincolnshire Wolds and our first stop was a little CS in a hamlet called Spilsby (Furze Hill House Farm £15 p/n). The Lincolnshire Wolds are an area of natural beauty and it is fair to say that there was lots of nature on our doorstep – this part had rolling hills and although we had only booked the campsite for 3 nights we managed to get three really nice, long walks in – exploring the Snipe Dales on the first day …. falling upon a Vineyard which surprised me…. thought it’d be too cold and wet up here, how wrong can one be? Then two beautiful circular walks on the second and third day (24km and 20km) …. it was wet underfoot and thankfully not too cold.

Although we put the area through its paces in the short time we had, we will definately be back to explore some more as it was so beautiful and although there was just one pub and no shops within walking distance…. it’s well worth a visit for walking/cycling and tranquility.

After Spilsby we set off on a short drive to the coast, stopping briefly at a local farm shop to stock up on all things grown locally… potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, beetroot, onions – spending a total of about £3.53….. craziness really but it does make you realise how little some fruit and vegetables cost when they come directly from the producers and have no distance to travel.

As always, I wanted to get in my seaside visit and there is a coastal walk that goes from Skegness to Maplethorpe that sounded interesting so, after trying a few campsites that were full we managed to book Eastfield Lodge CS £17 p/n inc. electricity which is just outside Sutton on Sea. The small campsite was beautifully kept and the owners really friendly … but I need to do more research on the area in the future as it is fair to say that although the beaches are never ending sand – it is very flat…. not a lump or a bump in site. We did get some good walking in though to explore the area; Sutton on Sea is a nice little town but Maplethorpe isn’t really our kind of place… just a little too many sticks of rock and arcades. We did however find Farmer Browns Ice Cream parlour and farm shop on a rather long walk on Sunday….. well worth it for the ice cream and also the amazing strawberries and gooseberries we bought to take home!

After a disappointing football final, we set off back into the Lincolnshire Wolds to find some vegetation and hills – next stop being Beechcroft CL, near Market Rasen £6 p/n. Our home for the next three nights was to be a lovely big field on the edge of the forest… perfect! We thought we would do a little walk round the block on Monday afternoon as it had been raining and with all the fields being overgrown, we decided to stick to some of the smaller, quieter roads and explore….. 18km later and it is fair to say that it is a beautiful area, lots of lovely little hamlets and the roads are so quiet – very pleasant to walk on.

Over the next couple of days we popped into Market Rasen, which lacks the market now unfortunately – probably killed off by the enormous Tesco on the edge of town. We also did another couple of beautiful long walks – one along the Viking Trail and another circular walk which happened to take us past a lovely farm shop and cafe with a rather incredible Ferrero Rocher cake…. all in all a lovely few days and another lovely area with lots of beautiful walking.

Moving on from Market Rasen we did a short skip and a jump to our next stop – Carr Farm CL (£13 p/n), just outside Gainsborough. The campsite itself was beautiful and although the area was flat and Gainsborough itself was nothing to write home about there were lots of waterways running in all directions, and lovely forestry….. to be fair it was too hot to venture too far without any tree cover!

Leaving Gainsborough behind us we headed north and for the first time, crossed the Humber bridge to get to what was originally our final destination to catch up with Keith’s Brother and wife, Paul and Carly in Beverley. We had stayed at the Willow Lane CS (£15 p/n inc. elec.) last October after our tour of Yorkshire and as it is so close to town, yet in the tranquility of the countryside we headed back for 3 nights to do lots of eating, drinking and walking…. no change there then – just this time the eating was with company!

I’d like to say it was balanced but I think that when we fell on the 42nd East Bakehouse in Beverley on our first afternoon and found some kind of cookie dough cup cake monster… it was fair to say that the next few days were going to be full of flavour …

We cooked Monkfish on the BBQ on Monday night which was lovely, then headed out for cocktails and a Brazilian meat feast on Tuesday before a visit to Paul’s Post Office and a tour of Hull and surrounding areas on Wednesday to see how much it had changed since I worked up there – all finished off by good old Papa’s fish and chips in their garden …. properly spoilt… just glad we managed to get out and do some walking as well to enjoy the beautiful colours of the Yorkshire harvest.

Not having done enough driving or exploring we decided to take a bit of a detour on our way home – it was planned, just a little bit last minute – to go and meet some of the Gastrovanners for a bit of a ‘cook up’ round the fire pit!

Gastrovanner is a facebook group for likeminded people who share a passion for cooking, eating and travelling in a motorhome or caravan…. obviously none of that applies to us but we gatecrashed anyway!!

As we were nervous about school holiday traffic heading down to Cornwall on the first Friday of summer holidays we did the majority of the journey but stopped at The Beeches CL (£17inc) in Cam, Gloucestershire on Thursday night before finishing the journey to Wellington on Friday morning. Although only a quick overnight stop, we had wanted to visit the area for a while and it gave us an idea of what was there to come back in the future – a lovely little campsite and we will be back… just not in the height of the heat as it is on a little island and the surrounding water was a bit stagnant and smelly!

After a bit of a chug down the M5 and a slightly more scenic route than planned -we really should have looked at the directions provided before we actually turned off the motorway – we finally got to Lynda’s family farm just outside Wellington – proper tranquility.

The weekend was planned quite obviously around food and drink and although it was a little wet and grey, we managed to eat, drink and enjoy ourselves to the full… making new friends along the way!

Annie and Chris came to eat with us on Friday night and then Saturday was focussed on the firepit…. pizza’s in abundance for lunch – with Damien leading a dough workshop……

Followed by an evening tasting menu…. each person providing a ‘small’ plate. The menu was as follows:-
Morrocan Harira Soup
Scallops wrapped in ham, sitting on a black pudding crumble, bruschetta and lettuce leaf
Smoked Trout with rocket and a horseradish sauce
Stuffed Aubergines Dahl
Chimichurri beef, caramalised onions and pomegranate salad
Fermented banana and walnut
…….absolutely delicious….

An amazing couple of days to finish of our little trip with a gastronomic cherry!

We headed back to the farm on the Sunday and have spent the last couple of weeks catching up with ourselves and of course the family whilst enjoying a little more normality…. and finally getting the windscreen replaced which was a bit of an achievement!!

Not many new recipes this last few weeks but it is definately worth sharing the following one…
Mango Sorbet

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