A t our last editorial meeting it was suggested that we ask readers to send in
short articles about interesting places they’d visited within an hour of Barrow
either by car, bus or train. We felt that after months of lockdown many had
walked local paths to the point of boredom and would like to learn of others
further afield. I offered to start things off by recommending walks around Laxton. The
reasons why? It is easy to reach, takes about 50 minutes, is in beautiful countryside,
has a fascinating history and a very good pub – The Dovecote Inn.
I’ll start with the history. It is the only village in England whose farmers still collaborate in keeping the old three field system going. (You may have seen documentaries about it on TV.) Briefly, in the past, fields were absolutely huge and divided up into strips so that each village farmer got some good land as well as poor. It was in full swing in medieval times and was widespread even up to the 19th century. At the small Laxton Visitor Centre (converted stables in the pub carpark) you can see a much enlarged C17th map on the wall showing how the fields were divided up between the families. This centre also tells you about the three fields: one grew winter wheat; one peas or barley; and one was kept fallow. Each year they swapped round so the land didn’t become exhausted.
Reaching Laxton from Barrow is straight forward. You’d have to drive there, and as I’m sure most people have Satnavs, I won’t go into detail. Basically, you aim for Six Hills, then the A46, then the A 616 (Great North Road). Once your Satnav tells you to leave it, the village is only about fifteen minutes away. Do allow plenty of time to explore the village and to take walks out to the fields. You can pick up walk leaflets at the Visitor Centre. Because farmers have tramped the paths to these fields over so many hundreds of years the paths have become sunken and overgrown. They are called Holloways and are completely captivating.
Now I’ve told you about Laxton. Where would you recommend folk to go within an hour of the village?