Lincolnshire Wolds AONB
The chalk hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds roll northwest- southeast between the Humber and the Wash.
A peaceful and expansive landscape with fine views, the Wolds have been sheep country for centuries. Now much of the traditional open grassland and hedged fields have been ploughed up for arable farming but precious stretches survive in the valleys and on steep slopes.
Topographically, the Wolds are a dissected chalk tableland, falling gently eastward from a western scarp face which crests in pleasing contrast above the midland plain. High plateaux and ridges in the north give way to rounded hills crossed by winding valleys and narrow ravines.
The grasslands and abandoned chalk pits are an important habitat for rare flowers and insects and some areas of fine mixed woodland are managed to conserve their traditional oak, ash and hazel coppice. Always sparsely settled, this is nevertheless a historical landscape with prehistoric barrows, ancient tracks and the distant spires of fine medieval churches.
The AONB's rural economy is based on arable farming with intensive, large cereal units together with some mineral extraction. There are no large towns but many unspoilt villages which are increasingly used by commuters working in nearby Louth, Grimsby and Market Rasen.
This is not as yet a well-known tourist area, though literary pilgrims visit pretty, red-roofed Somersby, to see the home and the landscape which inspired the poet Tennyson. The 'Tennyson Country' connection is now being promoted, as is green tourism, based around the long-distance Viking Way footpath. Seaside Mablethorpe, Skegness and Cleethorpes, all a short distance from the AONB, are obvious visitor centres. Local recreational demand is for traditional country pursuits such as walking or hunting and shooting, together with driving for pleasure on the open, lightly trafficked roads.