23 walkers met in Barnack on 27 June for a relatively short walk (4½ miles). Barnack is particularly noted for its ‘hills and hollows’, the site of quarries from which Barnack Rag stone was extracted from Roman times to the 15th century, and now a nature reserve where several varieties of rare wild flowers thrive.
One visitor (John A) was welcomed prior to departure.
The weather was almost ideal for walking - sunny with a little cloud and a noticeable breeze to keep us cool. We met at the Millstone Inn and our route took us first to Barnack Church, which has a remarkable Saxon tower, and associations with Charles Kingsley, author of ‘The Water Babies’, whose father was Vicar of Barnack.
Then via via footpaths across fields past the village bowling greento Southorpe
Stopping en route as we passed Walcot Hall,a seventeenth century house with extensive park lands around it - the house was used by the USAAF as an operations centre for Flying Fortress raids on Germany during the Second World War.
In one of the fields were what may have been Jacob's sheep.
In Southorpe itself we looked at two large pieces of Barnack ragstone on the grass verge, examples of stones which fell off carts as stone was taken from Barnack quarry on its way for use in the building of Peterborough Cathedral.
At the south end of Southorpe we turned right on to a footpath which followed the line of Ermine Street, allowing us a view of Walcot Hall along what would, originally, have been the main entrance from Ermine Street.
We followed the estate wall until we arrived at Barnack Hills and Hollows where we greatly enjoyed looking at the colourful array of wild flowers, including Fragrant and Pyramid Orchids.
Burnet Moth on Knapweed.
Then back to The Millstone Inn for lunch; a very satisfactory pub base for future reference.
Thanks to Robert and Rosemary W for organising, leading and back marking this walk in pastures new. Thanks are also due to Robert for providing this report.
The delightful pictures were provided by Carna B and Roger K.