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Path along the edge of the marshes on the south bank of the R. Humber near the Whitton Channel between Alkborough & Whitton

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Route No. 619 - Friday 22 April 2016
Whitton, Willwick Hill, Alkborough, Julian's Bower,
marsh path, flood bank path (by Devils Causeway)
circuit - 9km, North Lincolnshire . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 281 Ancholme Valley

For background information see South Humber Heritage Trail Whitton to Alkborough


The village hall at Whitton seen from our parking spot. Our turning to start the walk is through the gate on the left
The village hall at Whitton seen from our parking spot. Our turning to start the walk is through the gate on the left

Timber roof inside the old part of the village hall
Timber roof inside the old part of the village hall

This original stone & brick building has a lovely timber roof structure visible in the main hall. The building has been extended and recently redecorated. Outside there was the St Georges flag and similar bunting inside ready for St Georges day (England's National Day) tomorrow, 23 April. Two very helpful ladies were just finishing the preparations inside the building and allowed us to have a quick look around.

This morning I drove with my brother-in-law, John, to Whitton in North Lincolnshire. My sister & brother-in-law live in East Yorkshire and John occasionally ventures across the Humber Bridge to walk in North Lincolnshire, an area where I have not walked before. We parked on the roadside in the village of Whitton, just south of the River Humber at map ref. SE 901 244. Ahead of us and to our right was the village church of St. John the Baptist and straight ahead was the village hall, formerly a 'National School' built in 1864.

The church of St John the Baptist at Witton
The church of St John the Baptist at Whitton

Turning left off the road, Main Street, in Whitton at the start of our walk
Turning left off the road, Main Street, in Whitton at the start of our walk

The path passed through this sheep pasture
The path passed through this sheep pasture

Path along the escarpment heading for Alkborough
Path along the escarpment heading for Alkborough

Crossing a track(SE 885 224) that leads down the escarpment
Crossing a track(SE 885 224) that leads down the escarpment

It's a very pleasant route looking out across the Humber into East Yorkshire. We followed the public footpath for about 3km to a lane below the church in Alkborough at map ref. SE 881 220.

From our parking spot we walked a few paces towards the village hall and then turned left off the road to follow a public footpath across the fields along the top of an escarpment overlooking the River Humber.

Path along the edge of the escarpment
Path along the edge of the escarpment

Path along the escarpment heading for Alkborough
Path along the escarpment heading for Alkborough

The houses of Alkborough now in sight
The houses of Alkborough now in sight

Crossing the lane below the church of St. John the Baptst that leads down to the marshes on the edge of Alkborough
Crossing the lane below the church of St. John the Baptist that leads down to the marshes on the edge of Alkborough
(Yes, the churches in Whitton & Alkborough are both dedicated to St. John the Baptist)

Grassy path leading up to the church in Alkborough
Grassy path leading up to the church in Alkborough

An unusual tower house in Alkborough
An unusual tower house in Alkborough
Apparently the house was built for a mariner whose wife & daughter had been drowned when his boat was moored on the river bank here. From his tower he could keep watch for the ghosts of his family on the marshes below

The turning off Back Street to Julian's Bower
The turning off Back Street to Julian's Bower

There are some interesting information boards here too explaining the sights across the Humber and the River Trent below the site, with 'Trent Falls' at the confluence of the Ouse & Trent to form the Humber. Both the Ouse and the Trent are big rivers and the flow here is complicated by the rise & fall of the tide. Both of the rivers and the tides move large quantities of silt around this area so that the safe channel for shipping is constantly changing. The RSPB Blacktoft Sands Nature Reserve is visible from here too.

Below us across the lane was an old well but we crossed the lane to follow a grassy track climbing up past the church to emerge onto a road in the village at map ref SE 881 219. At the road we turned right and walked along the road and round a left hand bend to the Paddocks tea room at College Farm, map ref. SE 880 216. We stopped there for a coffee and a very good bacon sandwich, but beware it's only open on Friday, Saturday & Sunday. After our break we retraced our steps through the village for about 200m to a public footpath on the left to Julian's Bower. This is an ancient turf maze game. A young woman stood in the centre of the grass maze playing area and young men competed to run around the narrow maze paths to reach her.

The church of St. John the Baptist in Alkborough
The church of St. John the Baptist in Alkborough


Trent Falls - there's information about them at Julian's Bower

An ancient turf maze called Julian's Bower
An ancient turf maze called Julian's Bower

Starting down the escarpment from Julian's Bower
Starting down the escarpment from Julian's Bower

Zig-zag path down the escarpment
Zig-zag path down the escarpment . . .

Just follow this route and the paths should be clearly marked and signed on the ground. From Julian's Bower we retraced our steps for just a few metres and the doubled back along a path heading down the escarpment. This path zig-zagged down the slope to join a gravel path at the bottom of the slope running along the edge of the marsh reed beds.

Navigation on-land from Alkborough is almost as complex as Trent Falls! There are fully fledged public footpaths with finger posts and gravel paths but not marked on any Ordnance Survey map that I have found. So don't be alarmed, this whole walk is on public footpaths that are well signed.

Zig-zag path down the escarpment
Zig-zag path down the escarpment

Luxury footpath with gravel surface by the reedbeds
Leading to a luxury footpath with gravel surface by the reed beds

Car park by the reed beds off a lane below Alkborough
Car park by the reed beds off a lane below Alkborough

Following a gravel path by the reed beds
Following a gravel path by the reed beds

Sturdy wooden hide just off the gravel path
Sturdy wooden hide just off the gravel path

We continued along the path across the grassland beside the reed beds and shortly we came to a second hide next to the path that was a tall tower.

Along this path we came to a sturdy wooden hide. We had a look inside and I managed to get a photo of a snipe on the marsh pond in front of the hide.

Well signed gravel footpath by the reed beds
Well signed gravel footpath by the reed beds

Snipe posing in the shallows for me, taken from the 1st hide
Snipe posing in the shallows for me, taken from the 1st hide

he second hide  was like the first one but built on tall stilts
The second hide was like the first one but built on tall stilts

Pair of shelducks seen from the tower hide
Pair of shelducks seen from the tower hide

After the gravel surface the footpath continued across the grassland
After the gravel the footpath continued across the grassland

One of several lovely patches of bluebells along the way
One of several lovely patches of bluebells along the way

A little way beyond this second hide the path turned left to head out to the floodbank on the south of the Humber. The path along the top of the floodbank here is next to a rocky outcrop near the edge of the Humber called The Devils Causeway.(only visible at low water)

We climbed the staircase up to the viewing platform and from here I got a shot of a pair of shelducks at the edge of the pond. There was a little egret there too and a pair of swans further away.

A distant view of Blacktoft Jetty
Distant view of Blacktoft Jetty on the north bank of the R. Ouse

Swans on a pool by the path
Swans on a pool by the path

The path turned left heading for the floodbank
The path turned left heading for the floodbank

Path
Path along the floodbank with the River Humber on our left. The 'Devil's Causeway' is a rocky outcrop in the river seen at low tide

Leaving the floodbank heading back to Whitton
Leaving the floodbank heading back to Whitton

Kingcups in the marsh below the path
Kingcups in the marsh below the path

The field path heading back to Whitton
The field path heading back to Whitton

We followed our outward route for about 250m back to the road in Whitton near the village hall and back to our parking spot at the end of our walk. The whole route had been about 9km and it had taken us almost four hours to walk including our stop at the tea room in Alkborough and numerous photo stops and general gazing about along this very interesting route.

The path continues from the floodbank and climbs up to the top of the escarpment at the edge of Whitton village and joins our outward route. As we began climbing up we had a lovely view of a marsh harrier as it flew downstream along the edge of the Humber past us. It's flight action looked deceptively easy going but it was moving far too fast for me to get a photo.

Starting to climb up the escarpment towards Whitton
Starting to climb up the escarpment towards Whitton

Looking out across the Humber(after the Marsh Harrier flew by)
Looking out across the Humber(after the Marsh Harrier flew by)

Nearing the road in Whitton with the church tower opposite
Nearing the road in Whitton with the church tower opposite

Back at the road in Whitton and the end of our walk
Back at the road in Whitton and the end of our walk

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