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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Walk 47 Boston to Wrangle (Lincs)

Walk 47          Boston to Wrangle (Lincolnshire)

(First leg of English coastal walk – Broadstairs in Kent to Berwick at the border with Scotland).

Map: L/R 131 and 122
Distance: about 14 miles
Difficulty:  quite easy, flat
Terrain: paths, some pavement
Access: Parking at both ends
Public transport: Regular weekday service to and from Boston bus station to Wrangle (carries on to Skegness) check boards at the bus station.

This stretch is quite popular with people strolling along the north side of the river as it progresses towards The Wash. When I went it became more of a solitary experience on the northward stretch alongside Boston Deeps.

The walk out of Boston along The Haven is varied taking in views as diverse as a sewage works and a country park. About three miles along, just before Hobbhole Drain, there is an interesting memorial to the Pilgrim Fathers. They set sail from this point, now known as Scotia Creek, in September 1607. Unfortunately, they did not get very far on their first attempt. The small community from Scrooby (just over the Lincs. border in Nottinghamshire) bribed a Dutch captain to take them to religious freedom overseas; however he informed the authorities of their plans and the whole lot were returned to Boston – several ending up in the cells of the guildhall. A second attempt was more successful and after living in the Netherlands for several years the group set sail to join the Mayflower at Southampton.

At the end of the estuary, near where it meets The Wash, is a brick built ‘hide’ where you could spend a little time looking at the nearby sea-life. The marshes of The Scalp can be seen to the south and Black Buoy sand (and Mud) straight ahead and to the north. A couple of eastern European girls asked me how far it was to ‘the beach on the ocean’ – I think their expectations may have been dashed when they got there!

A diversion to the path was in place when I went - this may be permanent and the latest OS map may have changed as a result. The walk passes close to North Sea Camp (about half a mile inland). This has been a prison since 1988 and prior to that was a borstal. A cone type brick built structure near to the coast celebrates the work begun manually by the boys of North Sea Camp in 1936 which resulted in 500 acres of land being claimed back from the sea.

A couple of miles further up the coast is Freiston Shore with its RSPB nature reserve and lagoon. The walk from hereon alongside the marshes of Wrangle Flats is rather bleak. Inland there is productive arable farmland and cows often blocked the path resulting in a muddy diversion!

The end of the walk is at Wrangle. The name comes from the Scandinavian ‘Urangr’ meaning bent or crooked – a reference to a stream long since gone. Centuries ago there was a harbour here but it silted up. The accumulation of seaward marsh and enclosure of pasture land means that the village is now well inland. St Mary and St Nicholas Church dates back to the fourteenth century and will be of interest to those who enjoy visiting old churches.

Photos show: the estuary of The Haven, part of the marshy walk described above and a view of the village of Wrangle.

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