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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Walk 52 Goxhill Haven to Hessle near Hull

Walk 52   Goxhill Haven to Hessle across the River Humber into Yorkshire

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

Map: L/R 107
Distance: about 11 miles
Difficulty:  quite easy, mostly flat
Terrain: paths and road
Access: Parking at Hessle or New Holland (there is a return walk to Goxhill Haven from New Holland).
Public transport:  The 350 bus leaves Humber Bridge north for Barton Upon Humber at 8:40 and 1:40 and trains leave Barton for New Holland every two hours or so. Always check as the bus services especially are in danger of being reduced or possibly removed.

Starting at New Holland walk eastwards to Coxhill Haven and then the short distance to Skitter Ness. The path does continue south towards North Killinghome but I decided that the view down there was sufficient. This is a bleak area with the large oil terminal of North Killinghome visible in the distance. It was near to this point that in 1607 the Pilgrim Fathers made their second successful illegal emigration to Holland. Near Goxhill Haven I spotted a rusty old boat tipped on its side – I wonder if it is still there?

The walk back westwards through Goxhill Haven provides good views across the Humber. This busy stretch of water has about 40,000 ship movements a year – the most in the UK. It is the UKs largest port complex and handles 14% of our international trade. A view across the river is dominated by Hull or Kingston Upon Hull to give it the correct name.

The next settlement is New Holland. The railway and pier here once served as a ferry to Hull (up to when the bridge was built). Oddly, cars using the ferry drove on and off along the station platform.

Further along is Barrow Haven the site of a pre 1848 ferry. The settlement has a station and is renowned for brick making using clay from the edges of The Humber. The impressive Humber Bridge dominates the view westwards. 

The path passes past the old clay pits before ending up alongside Waters Edge Country Park. Most of the clay pits have been turned into wildlife refuges. The path turns inwards alongside a busy quayside and then on to a road which leads to Barton Upon Humber. The Roman Ermine Street crossed the Humber near this point - it was possible to use a ford and a ferry was used later on. Not all were impressed by Barton, Daniel Defoe writing in 1725 said: Barton is a town noted for nothing that I know but an ill favoured dangerous ferry. It has to be said that his judgement might have been clouded as the open ferry took 4 hours to get to the other side and was carrying 15 horses and 12 cows!

The walk continues back northwards to the riverside next to the Humber Bridge. Follow the signs to the pedestrian walkway. Good views of the river can be appreciated especially to the east. The bridge is 1 and  1/3 miles long. It was opened by the Queen in 1981 and connects Hull with the south bank which was previously served by a ferry. At the time it was built it was the longest span suspension bridge in the world. As far as I can tell it is now the fifth longest having been passed by bridges in Denmark and the Far East. If you cross the bridge by car it is quite expensive – around £3 when I went.

On the northern bank of the Humber is an area of Hessle which dates form Anglo Saxon times and for a long time was an important ship building centre. The Ferry Boat Inn can be spotted not far from the bridge and is evidence of the arrival point of the old ferry from New Holland on the opposite bank; this closed when the bridge was built. The walking route into Hessle is marked - it passes through a car park then on to a main road and access to buses into Hull.

Photos show the quayside at Barton upon Humber and the wreck mentioned above.

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