The ghosts of Hubbards Hills

Over a decade before the First World War, a woman, lost her terrier down a rabbit warren near the shelter. She desperately tried to rescue the dog when a Scottish soldier from Sterling was walking and came to help. Unfortunately, the dog could not be saved. But the pair of them got on very well and later fell in love. But unfortunately  he was called to the western front.

The soldier, who was in the Black Watch regiment, survived a German gas attack which prompted him to return to Louth – bringing with him a new dog for the girl. Shortly after, they married but he was to outlive his bride; living in to his nineties.

Since his death, walkers have reported seeing a ghost of a Scottish soldier in uniform, walking with a dog at the top of the hill. Dogs wit their dog walkers fight will fight to not go past that spot, which is said to be the place where the soldier met the Louth girl looking for her dog.

Despite a frantic search, last year a much loved family pet went missing in the area – one of several to disappear without a trace.

The apparition of the soldier is said not be a ghost, but like an old film being replayed on television.

Our experience at Hubbards Hills

Ascending the steep slope entering Hubbards Hills, the wet mix of leaves and mud slip from beneath my feet. It is a cold morning with slight dew and nobody is around.

The scale of Hubbards Hills enables you to feel a million miles away from the next person. Only a slight murmur from the not-so-far bypass echoes through the trees and in to the valley.

Trudging up the root covered slope, quickly rising above the stream below, a blip of a dog walker obliviously meanders parallel to me one hundred feet below.

On any early morning in Hubbards Hills, there is a feeling of welcome isolation. A feeling of insignificance compared to the history that forged this place. A vulnerability to the elements that leaves one exposed to the creaks and howls of the trees and wind.

Arriving at the reported spot of the Black Watch Soldier, I am yet again within no sight of another human. The knowledge I have of the soldier’s sightings make me feel the cold a little sharper than normal. Just knowing makes my senses heighten. The only sense that forebodes me that there may be nothing here is my sight. The solitude, the temperature, the story all fabricates the haunting in my mind, but I do not see it. I do not see the Black Watch Soldier, but I can feel it.

 The history of Hubbards Hills

Hubbard’s Hills was donated to the town of Louthby the trustees of Auguste Alphonse Pahud, and opened to the public on 1 August 1907. Auguste Pahud was a Swiss who moved to Louth in 1875 to take up duties as a German and French teacher at the grammar school. He married a local girl, Annie, daughter of William and Maria Grant. They were wealthy farmers living at the manor in Withern about six miles south east of Louth.

Annie Pahud died in 1889 and Auguste never got over this, committing suicide in 1902. They were buried at WithernChurch, but their gravestones were removed after it was declared redundant in July 1980. The church was sold as a private residence in 1983. Annie and Auguste’s gravestones are still visible on the pathway beside what used to be the church.

The trustees of Auguste Pahud bought Hubbard’s Hills to honour his wish to create a memorial for Annie. They established an Edwardian pleasure garden with a lake, a country park and a memorial (pictured). The conveyance required “the natural beauty of the property and its rural character is to be forever maintained”.

On 1 April 2009 East Lindsey District Council passed the responsibility to maintain the park to Hubbard’s Hills Trust Limited. The Hills will however still “belong” to the people of Louth and the Town Council will continue as official custodians. The Trust’s role will be to deliver on a conservation plan to safeguard the next 100 years of the Hills, replanting trees, enhancing the chalk stream and dredging the ornamental lake.

 

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