Local Walk: Seaton & Harringworth Viaduct
21st August 2020
This walk offers views without parallel in the region, effectively a circumnavigation of the Harringworth Viaduct
- Distance: 4.4 miles (7.1 km)
- Typical time: 1 hour 45 mins
- OS map: Explorer 234
- Start & finish: Seaton Church (LE15 9HR)
- Terrain: Hilly by Rutland standards, with 1 ½ km of minor road walking, so not suitable for untamed dogs or kids
- Stiles: 3
- Head down Church Lane and take the path straight ahead into the fields. Cross a stile and head down diagonally left across the fields towards a railway embankment that rises visibly ahead of you
- Go up the embankment steps. Descend the steps on the other side, cross a road, go through the foot gate to the right of the smart Welland House entrance and follow the driveway (don’t panic, this IS the right way)
- About 10 metres before the front of the house, just after going past two millstones, skirt round to the left, take a stile on the left and then veer right to cross a little footbridge. Immediately after the bridge, turn left and cross a stile. The path then continues southeast over the field
- Turn left immediately after crossing the River Welland, and aim for a gate 20 metres to the left of a brick hut under the viaduct; go through the gate, then turn right after the third arch
- Follow this path as it wends towards the church; veer slightly left on crossing a track, then left again after going through a kissing gate and back through a gate.
- Enter the church gates and follow the path by the right-hand wall. Exit by another gate, turn right through Harringworth Manor Stables. In about 50 metres you will reach the road. Turn left along a pavement
- After about 50 metres follow the path which takes off to the left, through a gate and then immediately over a stile. Head diagonally North East across the field until you reach the River Welland. Follow the South side of the river in an Easterly direction for just over 1 km until you reach the brick-built Turtle Bridge
- Cross the Turtle Bridge along a stone track, past the Rutland sign, and soon crossing over a disused railway line. Follow this track up the slope until it reaches the road (good blackberries if you go back again in the Autumn)
- Turn left onto the B672 and follow it for about 1 km. Take great care along this road, it is quite busy. At the next junction turn right onto a minor road and follow it into Seaton village. The spectacular views more than compensate for having to walk on the road.
Points of Interest
The Harringworth Viaduct is ‘One of the grandest and most perfect pieces of work’. That is how the landowner Colonel Tryon of Bulwick Hall described the viaduct at the opening banquet held in a shed near Seaton in July 1878. And who can disagree?
Three thousand navvies dug the clay from the Welland Valley floor, made twenty million bricks and built the 82-arch three-quarter mile viaduct in little more than two years. This task was done to clip fifteen minutes off the journey time from Nottingham to Saint Pancras. And we think we’re time-obsessed!
Turtle Bridge is a curious name, you certainly won’t see any turtles there. There is a record in the 13th C that it was called Thurkelbregge, after a family called the Turcles who lived in Harringworth at the time, and the bridge is almost certainly named after them.
Seaton: the church, All Hallows, dates from Norman times, and the original chancel arch and doorways still survive.
The George and Dragon (LE15 9HU, 01572 747418) in Seaton has been revitalised in the last year under new ownership (Ralph Offer) and now offers top-rate cooking and a warm welcome. Try the suntrap patio out the back
Spokes Pop-Up Café, Harringworth (NN17 3AH, 01572 747974), a few yards to the right as you come out of the Harringworth Manor Stables drive, is generally open Friday-Sunday, serving delicious coffee cakes and cold drinks. Check @spokescafe on Facebook for exact opening times.