Two churches and a canal

A Louth walk posted on 23/07/19 by Lincolnshire Wolds. Update : 23/08/19

Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a 6 miles walk exploring the Louth Canal and nearby village of Alvingham, with two churches in one churchyard. Keep a watch for the darting blue of the kingfisher or the antics of the moorhens as they squabble amongst themselves.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h55[?]
Distance Distance : 9.98km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 15m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 15m
Highest point Highest point : 19m
Lowest point Lowest point : 4m
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Location Location : Louth
Starting point Starting point : N 53.371618° / E 0.008853°
Download :


The route is marked with a boat logo.

(D/A) From Navigation Warehouse, where the River Lud enters the canal, follow the canal away from Louth town centre, cross the canal at the first weir, continuing along the towpath.

At Keddington Lock you will see the remains of the top sill, where the upper set of lock gates hung. The remainder of the lock walls has been replaced by gabions (wire baskets filled with bricks) to prevent the banks from falling in. A footbridge leads across the field towards Keddington and St Margaret’s Church. St. Margaret’s Church dates from Norman times but is now sadly redundant. Members of the Ticklepenny family, who Ticklepenny Lock was named after, were farmers, lock keepers and toll collectors in the area, are buried in the churchyard.

(1) Continue along the towpath through a field where the River Lud runs on your right to Ticklepenny Lock.

Ticklepenny Lock is still in reasonable condition after having been repaired by the Louth Navigation Trust in 1996. There used to be a wooden swing bridge here, which has now been replaced by one made of concrete. In the early 1930s, a sheep wash was built alongside the lock and can this be seen amongst the trees on the left-hand side.

(2) Cross the road to follow the towpath. Go past farm buildings and the sewage works on your right. Continue along until you come to Lock Farm at Alvingham Lock, where a tributary of the River Lud runs under the canal, by way of a brick siphon, to feed Alvingham Mill. Cross the road to follow the towpath.

(3) Turn left off the canal for a chance to explore the village of Alvingham. (There are a farm shop and tea room about ½ mile through the village.)

Whilst there are two churches in one churchyard at Alvingham, the smaller of the two, St Mary’s, has an unusual history and setting, being a mile from its parish of North Cockerington. St Mary’s is no longer used for worship but is managed by the Churches Conservation Trust. St Adelwold’s is the only church in the country dedicated to the saint who later became Bishop of Lindisfarne. The present church dates from the 12th century although it is thought that an earlier Saxon church stood in its place before being destroyed, possibly by Viking invaders.

Adjacent to the churches are earthworks that show the location of Alvingham Priory (no public access). It was founded by Hugh de Scotney (1184-54) for the Gilbertine order and closed in 1538 under Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries Act.

(4) From the churchyard, walk through the farmyard and past the watermill on your right. Follow the road straight on.

The present day Alvingham Mill dates from the 17th century. The machinery was installed in 1782 when the building was extended. However, there is evidence that this site has been used for mills previously, with a mill recorded here in the Doomsday Book of 1086.

(5) Where the village road joins the main road, follow the bend to the left and walk carefully alongside the road until you pass over the canal. Turn right to join the towpath near Lock Farm and retrace your steps to Louth, keeping the canal on your right.(D/A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Navigation Warehouse
1 : km 1.12 - alt. km 1.12 - Ticklepenny Lock
2 : km 1.72 - alt. km 1.72 - Alvingham Lock
3 : km 4.71 - alt. km 4.71 - Alvingham
4 : km 4.95 - alt. km 4.95 - Watermill
5 : km 5.41 - alt. km 5.41 - Towpath
D/A : km 9.98 - alt. km 9.98 - Navigation Warehouse

Useful Information

Maps: OS Landranger 113 and OS Explorer 283

Parking: Numerous car parks throughout the town – please check for parking tariffs. Limited parking at the Riverhead.

Terrain: Along footpaths and bridleways, can be muddy at times. Some roadside walking, all on level ground.

Refreshments: Cafes and pubs in Louth, with the Woolpack pub at the Riverhead. A tearoom and farm shop near Alvingham (½ mile from the walk).

Toilets: Public toilets on Eastgate, behind the New Market Hall and at the Bus Station on Church Street.

Stiles: A few. Many are stock proof and therefore may be difficult for some dogs.

The Lincolnshire Wolds is a nationally important and cherished landscape. Most of it was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1973. Covering an area of 558 square kilometres or 216 square miles, the AONB contains the highest ground in eastern England between Yorkshire and Kent, rising to over 150m along its western edge. Rolling chalk hills and areas of sandstone and clay underlie this attractive landscape.

The Lincolnshire Wolds has been inhabited since prehistoric times and the appearance of the countryside today has been greatly influenced by past and present agricultural practices.

A Countryside Service helps to protect and enhance the landscape through partnership projects with local landowners, farmers, parish councils, businesses and residents of the Wolds.

Office Address :
Lincolnshire Wolds Countryside Service
Navigation Warehouse
Riverhead Road
Lincs LN11 0DA

Phone: 01522 555780 Twitter: @LincsWoldsAONB


Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

The Riverhead area has much evidence of life from the 18th and 19th centuries when this was a busy and important part of the town. At the heart is the Navigation Warehouse, an old wool warehouse built in the 1770s. On the edge of the Warehouse’s decking is a weather vane – part of the Louth Art Trail. This stands high above the water, gently rotating with the changing winds, reminding us of the role of this vital element in navigation. There is a small seating area near the warehouse, again part of the Louth Art Trail. Constructed of English oak and steel, the designs echo the boats and bridges of the canal.

Navigation Locks
The locks of the canal are unique in that no two locks are of the same dimensions and that six of the eight locks are of a barrel sided construction. These had four bays on each side with wooden ties where they met, designed to strengthen them against the pressure of the surrounding land. Very little remains of the Top or Town Lock (now replaced by the Tilting Weir) or of Keddington Lock. Ticklepenny and Willows Locks are in a better state of repair, with the barrel-shaped sides still visible. Little is left of Salter Fen Lock, excepting the upper sill where the first set of gates would have been hung. Alvingham Lock and its adjacent wharf are in fair condition, but again, the gates have been removed.

In 2000, with only two of the original canal milestones left, the Louth Navigation Trust financed and organised the installation of 10 new stones between Louth and Tetney Lock. One of the remaining stones can be seen by the footbridge at Alvingham.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.