February’s walk was in North Lincolnshire, close to home but strangely unknown. Group B started at Burton-upon-Stather, walking through the old village, past St. Andrews Church to join The South Humber Heritage Trail. This area was of vital importance to ancient folk, the Romans, Saxons and Vikings. Today it is a haven for wildlife and a journey through history for the present day walker. From our elevated position on the Cliff Hills, we had fine views of the River Trent winding from the south and and westwards across the Humberhead Levels. All was quiet, apart from the song of robin, thrush and blackbird. In cold February, the palette was subdued – evergreens, mustard coloured lichen, snowdrops and daffodils. Winter-bare branches traced lines in the sky, forming arches over our heads.
A few miles east, Team A set off from Winteringham. They headed westwards on green lanes to the pretty hamlet of Walcot. After a short distance they came to Countess Close, an ancient embankment and royal hunting ground. They continued onto Julian’s Bower. Julian’s Bower is a unicursal turf labyrinth, perhaps of medieval origin. I like the idea that it was constructed by monks to symbolise the route to heaven. Locals hereabouts tell tales of playing there when young and it is clear that it is revered. For us it was the perfect spot for lunch. This special place, like Countess Close is an ancient scheduled monument. Team B also stopped for lunch at Julian’s Bower and Mick found time for a little monkey play.
Passing the church of St John The Baptist, both teams dropped down to continue along the South Humber Heritage Trail. Below us we could see Alkborough Flats. This is a coastal realignment scheme engineered to store flood water. It has become an important habitat for wildlife. The wind was biting and hail hit the side of our faces. Over the Humber the Yorkshire Wolds rose from the north shore. To the east was the engineering feat of the Humber Bridge. Our thoughts turned to fantastic walks in times gone by.
Team B stopped for a coffee near the Church at Whitton, like Alkborough dedicated to St John. After lunch Group B tuned inland. At Rotten Sykes, they were lucky to see a family of 5 deer. For a brief second they were quite close, then they fled, their white tails bobbing beneath the black leaden sky. Group A was seen not at all. Out of sight, Team A continued on the South Humber Heritage Trail by the side of the Humber to Winteringham Haven. The final leg of the morning walk was through village streets to a welcome rest and re-grouping at The Bay Horse.
At 3pm, a hardy bunch braved the wild winds again. After two spritzers Julie was ecstatic about the murmurations above the mudflats. Finally they reaching the nautically themed Hope And Anchor at South Ferriby. The menu was lavish and the interior sumptious, a remarkable recovery after a tidal surge dumped cement from the nearby cement plant some years ago. All vowed to come back.
At the time of writing, Doncaster Outsiders walk plan has been postponed due to Corona Virus. We long to be out again. Take care, my friends and see you when all this is over.