More than 40 people joined or supported a day’s pilgrimage from North Kelsey to Biscathorpe. What a mixed group: aged from 9 to nearly 90, representing Caistor GO2, faith groups, Extinction Rebellion and the ecumenical Faith & the Environment Lincolnshire, who organised the event.

The vanguard pilgrims assembled at the site in North Kelsey Moor where Egdon Resources applied over seven years ago to explore for and then extract oil.  Thankfully, it is still a field, and local resident Amanda Suddaby explained about the unique nature of the spot and its wildlife.  Recently Lincolnshire County Council (to its credit) voted unanimously to reject the application to extend the licence to drill.

We set off in bright sunshine – first stop Nettleton. The Methodists welcomed us with a cup of tea; St John the Baptist next door had ‘open church’ and a plant sale.  Organiser Sandie Stratford from St Peters in Carlton, reminded the group of our aim: to alert people to the folly of fossil fuel extraction in a time of climate emergency.  We found the Viking Way immediately, and set off.

At Normanby le Wold, we ‘joined’ a wedding party, where the vicar came out to greet us: she had the privilege of officiating for her daughter and future son-in-law. The column of walkers, with flags flapping in the breeze, looked spectacular.  The cattle seemed used to ramblers, and barely looked up from their grazing. 

We ate lunch at the Ramblers Church at Walesby; more walkers joined us there.  We were already behind schedule (in spite of careful reconnoitring) and showed no sign of catching up!  Never mind: a glorious day, new friends, good conversations, accompanying dogs, spectacular views, all combined to make it a healing and joyful experience.

To Tealby next, where we were tempted by ice creams and a lovely playground.  We zig-zagged through fields to Ludford, where the village hall offered us a welcome off-road spot for refreshment.  Here some left and more joined for the final 5-mile leg of the route.  Sadly, time did not allow us to call in at Ludford’s lovely church.

Just before the end, we viewed the drill pad where Egdon Resources had explored for oil, capping it two years ago, but who are now applying to reopen and extract oil. There was a noisy welcoming party for our arrival by the chalk stream in Biscathorpe: bunting listed all the parish councils which had said a firm NO to oil extraction.  Cake was shared, and much pleasure expressed at the day’s activity! We have a big thank you to say to all the churches, individuals and groups who encouraged us along the way.

As an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is evident Biscathorpe is not the place for industrial production of new fossil fuels, the burning of which will damage and eventually destroy our planet.  The nearby stream is a vital and increasingly rare chalk stream habitat. But this is not NIMBYISM.  The experts now declaring the seriousness of the present crisis are from the highest authorities: the UN, the International Energy Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even this UK government’s own Committee for Climate Change.

Want to help?  Find S.O.S. Biscathorpe’s page on Facebook and increase doing your bit to cut carbon emission urgently.

*Faith & the Environment exists to educate any group or individual – as its title suggests, starting with the faith community - on the Climate and Ecological Emergency. Do get in contact to find out more