‘As good as Yorkshire but without the tourists’: the pure poetry of Lincolnshire’s Tennyson country

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The Lincolnshire Wolds are marking their 5oth anniversary as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with events from hedge-laying to star gazing

Lincolnshire, I am told, has a location problem. Despite being England’s second-biggest county, it remains somehow tucked away, hidden between the Humber and the Wash. “So there’s no reason to pass through,” Helen Gamble laments as she leads me from Bag Enderby’s church into freshly spring-sprung hills. As Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service project officer, one part of Helen’s role is raising awareness of this overlooked landscape. “It’s as good as Yorkshire,” she claims, “but without the tourists.”

When most people think of Lincolnshire, if they think of it at all, they think: flat. And true, the southern fenlands are steadfastly non-undulating. But the northerly Wolds are the highest ground in eastern England between Kent and Yorkshire itself. Here, farmland, woods, chalk streams, rock seams and pretty little villages fold, rise and ripple. Recognised as nationally important, the Lincolnshire Wolds were designated an area of outstanding natural beauty in 1973, so this year celebrates the 50th anniversary. Which is keeping Helen busy indeed.

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