Friday, 22 May 2015

.A Wild Man

Dear old Arnold lives just across from Owl Wood. 
I try to visit him most days.
I could walk over there in just a couple of minutes
but I take the long route
of a little under 3 miles, this way he gets his apple
and I get my exercise.

The walk takes in two hamlets and a village.   
The prettiest one, Belleau,  nestles in the lower folds of the Lincolnshire Wolds.
It has about a dozen houses and a pretty little church.

Belleau is also home to the source of the Great Eau, 
a chalk stream
There are just over two hundred chalk streams in the world,  
so they are very special,
 internationally rare habitats.
However,  that's not the reason I love this place so much.

The early 16th century dovecote is octagonal in shape
and built of red brick.
Inside is filled from floor to ceiling with brick
nesting boxes.

The next leg of the journey takes me down a farm track,
past the right-hand side of the dovecote,
and through the middle of a working farm yard.
Sometimes the yard is busy,
littered with machinery and men.

On those days when all is quiet I take the opportunity to have a look
at the 1904 stable block.
That marvellous arch is 16th century, taken from the former gatehouse
to the mansion which once stood here and which belonged to
the Willoughby d'Eresby family.
The "Wild Man" was one of their symbols,
possibly one of fertility.

This engraving is said to be of the remains of Belleau Manor, 
many years ago.
There is nothing like that now,
but there is an incredibly beautiful old barn,
brick built and with a patchwork face which shows the alterations
undertaken through the centuries.

This is another early 16th century building,
the Great Hall,
now a barn, listed
and (I hope) protected.

One of the elders from our village
was brought up on this farm.
Home was a late 17th century manor house
with medieval features.
Unfortunately, it was demolished in 1978.
She simply remembers it as a large and uncomfortable,
cold and damp house...

The whole of this site is surrounded by a moat
which extends approximately 140m x 95m.
This moat measures 14m in width,
so in effect it is all on an island,
or it would be, were it not almost completely silted.

The track leads me along the bank of the Great Eau
over a wooden footbridge and
up through this field

although some days I take a detour through our village cemetery
and past the pub
before turning off the lane to Arnold's paddock.

The story doesn't end with the buildings,
I have so much more to share with you
about one of the former inhabitants.
That's the trouble with blogging,
it turns me into a digger and delver,
a chatterbox.


  1. Just beautiful. It's good to see Arnold again!

  2. I like recording all the old history. Somethings I've put in my blog were found by people doing research. Pretty neat.
    And, hello, Arnold.

  3. Stunning dovecot, and even more stunning barn. I could spend weeks just studying those two buildings alone. Nice to see Arnold again.

  4. I'm so glad Arnold is doing well. What an interesting and historical walk you have.

  5. Lovely walk. Waves hello!!


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