Wothorpe, Burghley Park & Pilsgate Walk
21st August 2020
This is really a circumnavigation of Burghley House, with great views from the southern side, and the full circuit made possible by the permissive footpath running between Pilsgate and the Burghley House entrance.
- Distance: 11.2km (7 miles)
- Typical time: 2 hours 45 mins
- OS Map: Explorer 234
- Start & Finish: Cattle Market Car Park, Stamford
- (PE9 2WB)
- Terrain: Easy going
- Stiles: 4
- Head south up Wothorpe Road until you reach the Kettering Road; cross over, join a public footpath, then take the left footpath, through a kissing gate, running diagonally across the field, and then straight up the hill to Wothorpe, with the field boundary on your left
- Turn left on reaching First Drift (making sure you look back for the great view), cross the Old Great North Road and follow the footpath up to the golf club, where you turn left.
- Follow the private road past the golf club, then follow the footpath signs through Burghley Park, all the time heading east and slightly south. The path goes across a stream, through a wood alongside a field and eventually reaches the road.
- Turn left past the Barnack Windmill into Pilsgate village; walk through the village and on the other side you will see the gravelled footpath just inside the hedge on the left of the road.
- Follow this round until you reach the visitor entrance to Burghley Park; walk up the drive towards the car park, then turn right along the avenue of trees (Queen Elizabeth’s Avenue), and right again along the tarmacked road towards Stamford.
- As you come level with the cricket ground, bear left along its northern boundary, and exit the park by an old wooden gate up a few steps. Turn right down Park Lane, cross the Barnack Road, and go down towards the Maltings, turning left through a metal gate into St Martin’s Church just before you reach them.
- Pass the church, cross St Martin’s into Church Street, then at the end turn right down Wothorpe Road to take you back to the start.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Burghley Park is known to most, but the southerly parts of the park that the footpath traverses have particular interest. The path crosses the Winners’ Avenue, which is part of the cross-country course and has a marker celebrating each winner of Burghley. There are also great views down towards Burghley House throughout this stretch of the park.
The path through Burghley runs for a large part along the course of Ermine Street, the Roman Road that ran from London (Londinium) to Lincoln (Lindum Colonia) and York (Eboracum). You can see evidence of the ditch (fossa).
Barnack Windmill. The tower mill was built around 1797 and was in use up to 1914. It is built of Barnack stone. It is now a private home. The mill still holds the original machinery inside.
Burghley Cricket Ground dates back to 1854, and in the 1880s WG Grace played here. The attractive pavilion was constructed in the 1890s. Try and catch Cricket Week Sixes competition held in the first full week in July – there’s nothing finer to do on a balmy summer evening, especially as there’s a beer tent.
Just to the east of the cricket square is a stone marker, which is thought to be a Roman way marker. The Lady Diana Memorial Garden, just to the north of the cricket ground, is a tranquil spot with a plinth in the middle.
St Martin’s Church houses the tombs of the Cecil family, including monuments to Sir Richard Cecil, William Cecil, first Lord Burghley, and John Cecil, 5th Earl of Exeter.
The Orangery at Burghley. We especially recommend the teas. Excellent brownies, too.
The William Cecil and The Bull & Swan, both on St Martin’s, have good outdoor spaces and are recommended for a drink or a light meal. We particularly like the Pizza Potting Shed at The Bull & Swan, which does brilliant pizzas, on Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays between April and September.