Waterways of the Humber

Waterways of the Humber

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Trent Falls

Where the Trent and Yorkshire’s Ouse meet, to form the Humber, is one of the country’s major waterway junctions.  The water drained from one fifth of England’s total area flows through here.  Why is it called Trent Falls?  Don’t know.  As far as I know it isn’t called Ouse Falls, although the more pragmatic do call it Trent End, but not Ouse End (and not Humber Start).

So, sticking with Trent Falls, there’s only one place ashore from where the whole geography can be seen and that’s the small village of Alkborough.
During the last miles of the Trent’s approach to Trent Falls the river flows along the bottom of a steep ridge on its eastern bank.  High for this part of the country.  Alkborough is on top of that ridge, near where it falls way to allow the Humber to flow to the east, so it has a viewpoint over Trent Falls and the flat country extending for many miles beyond.

The pale-coloured land on the left, just below the line of the horizon, is between the Trent and the Ouse.  The white post where the rivers meet is Trent Falls, and the white boat has cruised up the Humber and is turning into the Trent.
(Click on any image for a larger view).

From the skipper’s viewpoint it would look like this, a picture kindly supplied by Rachael Jennings, taken from her motor-cruiser.   www.naughty-cal.blogspot.co.uk

In the foreground is Alkborough Flats, an agricultural area for thousands of years, but now used for another purpose.  For 500 years there was also a small port on the Flats, until the 1700s, because the rivers limit access to this area and it’s still quiet and undisturbed.  There was more activity in 1643 when the Royalists in the Civil War brought an artillery position onto the Flats to defend access to the Trent, but the guns were eventually overcome by the Parliamentarians.  Late in World War 2 the Flats were used as a bombing-range by the RAF, USAF and the Polish airforce.

Agriculture eventually ceased on the Flats.  In September 2006 a breach was made in the floodwall, which allows the tide to flow in and out of a third of the 1,000 acre site.  During extreme high tides water also flows over a lowered section of the wall into the whole of the Flats, to alleviate flooding in Hull, Gainsborough and York.  During construction of the breach unexploded bombs were found, from the 1940s bombing range.

Today Alkborough Flats is also a wetland haven for birds and other wildlife.  It’s accessible from Alkborough (from Whitton Road, turn down Prospect Lane).  There’s a car-park, hides, information panels and seats.

Places with a spectacular geography usually have an ancient history and Alkborough’s viewpoint is also the site of a turf maze, known as Julian’s Bower.  Its age and origin are a mystery but it’s thought to be medieval.
The Victorians prudently copied the ancient design of the maze into the floor of the porch of the village church.

When in Alkborough we always visit The Paddocks Tea Rooms, which is on a working farm, for the best of service and food, and copious leaflets about exploring the area. www.collegefarm.org  They also have a caravan site.

Finally, it’s possible to drive further round the end of the ridge for views across the Humber.

As a dedicated blog-writer I, of course, spent many days waiting for a white boat to arrive to complete this picture!


1 comment:

  1. When was the last photo taken Christine - it might have been us on a jolly to Blacktoft!