Staycation 2020 – North and South of the Humber

Growing weary of the tedium of the lock-down and with holiday plans to Sicily in tatters we decided to meet with our friends and spend an evening together for a meal in a nearby pub. Kim tracked down an excellent deal of only £50 each for bed, breakfast and evening meal at a well recommended place with a two star AA rosette. Unlikely as it sounds owned by chef Colin McGurran who was a winner one time on ‘Great British Menu’.

It turned out to be a very good deal, placed on the south bank of the Humber Estuary, comfortable rooms, good views and an excellent meal. Kim had posh burger and I had East coast mussels.

The Hope and Anchor (above) is in the unfortunately named hamlet of Ferriby Sluice and is at the point where the River Ancholme drains into the Humber Estuary via a sluice gate and a set of locks. A hundred years or so ago it was a busy marina and a departure and return point for the leisure and packet boats that regularly used the Humber.

Boats have always left Ferriby (the clue is in the name). The Romans stopped here in Lincolnshire at the end of their great road, Ermine Street which linked London and Lincoln before continuing to the Humber and then crossed the river to the north bank to continue into Yorkshire. The Romans were famous for straight roads and the section from Lincoln to the Humber, a distance of thirty-five miles is one of the straightest in England.

Ferries on the Humber continued to be important until the construction of the Humber Bridge in 1981. 

After breakfast we walked for a while along the banks of the River Ancholme butI have to say that it is not an especially thrilling or picturesque sort of place, a carpet of smelly algae on the river (thank goodness for coronavirus masks), a redundant cement works and a marine breakers yard. It does however have a National Historic Ship – The Amy Howson, a sloop that once worked the Humber and the Rivers and tributaries along the way to towns and cities as far apart as Grimsby and Sheffield.

It was rather chilly so we didn’t stay long this morning before driving across the River Ancholme and away along the south bank of the Humber.

This was a day for crossing rivers and driving west we crossed the Trent and then turning north the Ouse, the third and fourth longest rivers in England (after the Severn and the Thames). We were more or less at the point where they converge to form the River Humber. Other rivers contribute as well, principally the Don and the Aire and we crossed those as well.

Actually, the Humber isn’t really a river at all because for its entire length of only forty miles or so it is tidal so technically it is an estuary (I only mention this here in case someone challenges me on this important point of detail).

It may be one of the shortest rivers in England but it is also one of the most important as it deals with natural drainage from everything on the east side of the Pennines, the North Midlands and the Yorkshire Moors.

We rather rudely passed through Goole, Britain’s furthest inland port without stopping, I must go back and visit one day, but today we continued to the market town of Howden, a place that I have wanted to visit for some time.

Howden is a small historic market town lying in the Vale of York in the East Riding of Yorkshire, three miles north of the port town of Goole, it regularly features in lists of desirable places to live and is high up on a standard of living index. I liked it immediately and not just for the fact that it has free car parking.

All roads in Howden lead to the attractive Market Place next to the ruins of the sixteenth century Abbey and Minster, one of thirteen in the county of Yorkshire. Here is a curious fact, Howden was granted to the Bishop of Durham by William the Conqueror in 1080 and the town remained an enclave of Durham until 1846.

I imagine the Minster was once a fine building but it lost its status during the Reformation, was vandalised by Parliamentary soldiers in the English Civil War, the roof collapsed in 1696 and over the next hundred years or so the site was looted for its stone for alternative construction projects in and about the town and whilst the Minster lies in ruins the town has a network of streets with very fine Georgian buildings.

The Minster is currently undergoing restoration and we found it closed today which may have been due to the work or alternatively the dreaded coronavirus.

We found the town very agreeable and liked it very much so we walked the streets of the historic centre before stopping for coffee and cake at a town centre tea shop. We left in mid-afternoon and followed a route along the north bank of the estuary before crossing over the Humber Bridge back to North Lincolnshire which completed our quest of crossing all major rivers of the area.



27 responses to “Staycation 2020 – North and South of the Humber

  1. Not familiar with Howden at all. Looks very pleasant 🙂 🙂 All plans now binned till 2021 and Christmas cancelled?


  2. Howden is a very pleasant little town. Not sure I’d bother with Goole if I were you, but you may prove me wrong. I haven’t been there since the 1960s.


  3. A few days away. We were going to Aix next week but that’s been called off as Aix-Marseille is worst hit area with Covid and they’ve closed the restaurants and bars (again).


  4. More excellent history and photographs. It is good to know you still have your sense of smell 🙂


  5. Unfortunately the Goole waterways museum has closed. That alone used to be a reason to visit Goole, especially when the boat trips round the docks were running, but now East Riding Council has allowed the place to deteriorate so much there isn’t a lot there except a nice circular walk around the river bank via Airmyn, and the docks can be interesting when it is tide time particularly as there is a right of way through. The old part of the town might be of interest to students of industrial architecture, but that is only a realtively small area.


  6. It looks like you have seen some places with lots of history.
    A certainly a good deal for each if you, where you stayed.
    I have no plans myself to travel anywhere. I am very cautious to do so at the moment.


  7. Ahh nice blend of old and McDo ::)


  8. I haven’t heard of Howden but it looks very pretty. Unlike that green river! Always nice to get a change of scene, even for a short time.


  9. I love the no-people look.

    Also, that river looks a bit like a well-manicured fairway. I don’t suppose it’s buoyant enough to golf on it? I mean, I get not swimming on it, but it seems a waste letting all that green go to waste.


  10. I’ll put Howden on the list: and tell you too that I thought Goole was really much nicer than we expected too. I don’t think it deserves its bad press!


  11. What an attractive looking town! We haven’t travelled much in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire; this looks like a good place to start to get to know the area better.


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