Firsby, Bratoft and Irby - long


This circular walk is set in the Lincolnshire Wolds countryside and takes you on a journey through local history. The walk visits a deserted medieval village, a 17th century country seat, an 18th century thatched cottage and Baptist Chapel and the remains of a 20th century airfield. Mostly level walking it may be muddy and uneven in places. The villages are located south-east of Spilsby. 


8.5 miles (13.5 kilometres)
Four hours

Starting point
St Andrew’s Church
Old Firsby
PE23 5PD
Grid reference TF 455 626
  1. Starting from St Andrew’s church in Firsby, take the public footpath through the churchyard, heading north. Leave the churchyard and cross the field by bearing left to the corner. Cross the lane and continue in the same direction along the path. Follow the field edge straight on to the corner. Turn right over two stiles then turn immediately left to follow the hedge into another field. Walk straight on across this field, go over a bridge and across the next field to a lane.
  2. Cross the lane and follow the path to the railway line. Cross the line with care and walk across the next field, over the route of the former railway line, and then beside a hedge to the modern part of Firsby and the road.
  3. Cross the road and follow the footpath down the drive of number 25 and to the left of the bungalow. Please respect the owners privacy and keep to the path. Continue in the same direction along the edge of two fields before walking across the middle of a field to a hedge and then bear left behind a farm to a road.
  4. Turn right and follow the road to a T-junction.
  5. For the longer walk turn left and after about one kilometre turn right towards Monksthorpe. (To visit RAF Spilsby memorial to the bomber crews stationed on the base during Second World War continue straight on for 100m).
  6. To continue the walk turn left at the junction and then right towards Candlesby.
  7. After approximately 600m the lane bends sharp right and then sharp left. At this bend follow the track straight ahead rather than following the lane. This is Sandy Lane, part of which was one of the perimeter roads of the air base. Follow the track through a couple of wooded areas for approximately one mile (1.5 kilometres) to join a road.
  8. Turn right and after 250m, at the junction turn left towards Irby in the Marsh.
  9. Turn left by the Rising Sun towards Bratoft. After approximately 350m you will come to the old railway line.
  10. Turn left and follow the old railway line, now part of the National Trust’s Gunby Estate. This section of the walk is not on a public right of way but access has been granted by kind permission of the National Trust.
  11. After approximately 0.5 miles (800m) turn right and follow the public footpath along the hedgerow and into a grass field. Walk around the edge of the moat and into another field before turning left onto a track.
  12. At the end of the track turn left onto the lane to the first junction and turn right towards the church. Continue along the lane, signed Bratoft village, for about 100m.
  13. Just before a bend in the lane turn right onto the public footpath. After entering the field turn right and follow the field edge to a road.
  14. Turn left and follow the road around two sharp bends and into Irby in the Marsh.
  15. Pass the village hall and just before the junction turn right onto a public footpath and follow the field edge before turning left over a stile. Bear diagonally right to the field corner. Turn right and walk alongside the drain. Where the drain bends walk across the field towards the church. Walk through the churchyard to the road.
  16. Turn right, then left along Chapel Lane.
  17. As the lane bends to the right, follow the footpath into the field straight ahead. Follow the waymarkers and turn right and follow the field edge to a bridge in the corner. Turn left and follow the edge of the field, cross a farm track and continue straight across the next field to a copse and footpath sign. At the copse continue straight on across the bridge and field and then cross the railway line with care. Bear right across the next field towards the barn.
  18. At the road turn left and head back through the old village passing the chapel to return to the starting point at St Andrew’s church.
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Accessibility and suitability
This walk uses village paths, field paths, tracks and quiet lanes.
Facilities available on this walk
  • village/town
Features of this walk
  • historical interest
Map of starting point