The park is full of walks that take you around the large lake in the bottom of the park, river leading off it, surrounding woodland and Swanholme Lakes at the top of the park. Unlike the newer walks I have been trying out, I know Hartsholme so well I don’t follow a map and usually start in the car park and take the following route:
Hartsholme Country Park
- Walk out of the car park and into the playing field, with a park in the corner.
- Cross over the field heading towards the back right hand corner.
- Continue along the path, walking through a small section of woodland and alongside a lake until you reach the corner.
- Turn left down a woodland path and follow this alongside the lake (There are great views of the central island from this path, look out for grey herons that like to rest on the tallest branches of the trees on the island, and cormorants that sit on lower branches nearer the water), until you reach a break in the trees where a bridge used to be (This bridge is currently being replaced and work is due to start September 2013).
- Follow this path as it continues to run next to the river, that leads off the lake until you reach a bridge on the left (Look out for jays and tits in the woodland as well as mallards, coots, moorhens, geese, swans and the occasional great crested grebe in the river).
- Cross over this bridge, turn left and carry on alongside the river until you reach a woodland path leading off into the wood on the right.
- Take this path through the wood (Look out for grey squirrels as they are everywhere in this park!) and out the other side, then head right towards a wooden gate and sign for Swanholme lakes (As well as the green snake, adders have now been spotted by the lakes).
- Walking through this gate (Definitely have a look at the lake in front of you) follow the path up a small incline and down the other side heading left as the path splits into two.
- Follow this path left alongside lakes on both sides (Look out for kingfishers in the right lake, as well as mallards, tufted ducks, coots, moorhens and plenty of other lake wildlife).
- This path heads right, leading you past another lake on your left and through a patch of grassland (Look out for rabbits here that like to burrow nearby).
- As this path heads right, you end up on an open pathway with lakes on either side and a small wooden hide and bench that is great for watching wildlife on the lake (Especially great crested grebes that are usually near the central island).
- Continuing along this walkway, cross the main pathway and head along a path marked out by wooden logs.
- This leads you to sandy beach areas on both the left and right.
- Once finished here, head back the way you came and take the main path left and back to the wooden gate and sign for Swanholme lakes.
- Turn right and head straight down the pathway (Past a large open field and more woodland) until you reach the first entrance for the campsite.
- Take the path on the left, opposite the campsite entrance and follow this round to a grassy clearing, heading towards the path in the back left corner.
- Follow this pathway until you reach the lake, then walk right alongside the lake through some woodland, to a fenced off grassy area with metal railings near the lake (This is a great place to see cormorants drying their wings on the lower branches near the water on the central island, as well as plenty of birds and wildlife in the lake).
- Once finished head up the stone steps at the back of the fenced grassy area and follow the path left towards the playing field.
- Head back across this field to the car park.
- You are finished! 🙂
This really is one of my favourite places to walk. It has something to see and do at all times of the year, whether it is a family of great crested grebes in August, mushroom hunting in the woods in October or watching mallards and swans ice skating across the ice in January. It takes around 10 minutes to get there by car from the centre of Lincoln, and there is plenty of free parking available. You can also take the bus/walk/cycle, but it does take a bit longer (Bus – 40 minutes/Walk – 1 hour/Cycle – 20 minutes).
There are so many paths and tracks in the woods, fields and around the lakes that there is always somewhere new to explore, and I am pretty sure I will keep coming back again and again.
A Walk in the Life…