This walk was along the very flat land beside the north banks of the Humber, a sparsely populated area of isolated farms and small hamlets. Sadly due to the lack of footpaths, much of it would have to be along roads a mile (or sometimes more) from the coast.
This was the second day of a long weekend to walk the coast of the East Riding of Yorkshire to the east of Hull, around the Humber estuary. I had travelled up the previous day and done another walk along part of the coast. I had spent the night at the Cornmill Hotel. I had picked this hotel as it was to the east of Hull city centre, the direction I needed to be and on the road served by the buses I needed. I had taken a bit of gamble, as when I had booked the hotel it had only just opened and there were no online reviews. However the pictures looked good and the price was good, so I decided to give it a try.
Generally I had been pleased, I had had a good nights sleep and the room was nice. It was also nice to see this old mill (which had been derelict before being converted to a hotel) had been restored and a new use found. The only problem was that whilst I was aware when booking the room, that the room rate did not include breakfast (not that unusual), I hadn’t realised that there was no option for breakfast at all! I’ve never before come across a hotel that does not offer any sort of breakfast at all, paid for or otherwise (even the Travelodge has a “breakfast in a box”). (I should also add in the interest of fairness, the hotel does offer a breakfast now).
However the lack of breakfast was confirmed when I came downstairs and asked the receptionist. This was a problem because I was out of town on a Sunday morning and had travelled here by train and bus so didn’t have the option of driving somewhere else for breakfast, or the numerous options that would exist in the city centre. I asked the receptionist what to do and she told me they usually suggest people go to the cafe at an Asda store a few minutes down the road and told me the way to go. I went there only to find that on a Sunday, it does not open until 10am – something that had not been mentioned and too late for me. I had to resort to asking people walking along the pavement if they knew anywhere open for breakfast, or a shop that was open. The first person I asked directed me to a McDonalds just a bit further down the road. So I had breakfast there. It was cheap and it tasted nice, but I’m not sure if it really offered any nutritional value!
Having found something to eat, I returned to my hotel to get my bag and check out. I then only had to cross the road for the bus that would take me to Patrington, as this is where I had got to the previous day and so wanted to continue west towards Hull. I was pleased when I researched this walk to find that there was a frequent bus to the villages and small towns east of Hull, even on a Sunday. The bus arrived on time and got me to Patrington on time and I arrived around 9:15am. Next problem was to get food for lunch, since all the shops near my hotel were closed until later I had not been able to find anywhere to buy lunch and was not passing through anywhere large enough to have a shop on the way. Thankfully Partrington had a convenience store which was open so I could get lunch there and so was now all set for the walk ahead..
Patrington is some distance inland (about 2 miles), so is not the most convenient place from which to start a coastal walk, but it’s the closest spot near to the coast that has a bus service. The coast between here and Patrington is actually surprisingly remote. There are no towns or villages, just a few isolated farms and, unfortunately, also not much in the way of footpaths, either.
So I began by following the road, heading south towards Partrington Haven. I was pleased that it did have a pavement.
The first point of interest was a windmill marked on the map, but this was a bit of a disappointment, it did not have any sails any longer and was part of a caravan park. I passed through Patrington Haven where I came across this well stocked road-side stall.
I thought it a rather odd marketing strategy to require you to turn over the board to find out the prices. However I didn’t really have room for any of the wares in my bag and was not sure what condition they would end up in by the time I finally got home.
After passing Patrington Haven the pavement ended, but there was a grass verge most of the way and not much traffic. I crossed the water of Winstead Drain. Now I had reached a junction and so a decision had to be made.
There is no right of way along the coast of the Humber at all until Stone Creek. That’s about 7 miles of coast with no right of way along it. I could turn right to Outstray Farm where there was then a sea bank beside the Humber. However it had no right of way along it so if I got there and found lots of “private, no trespassing signs” or similar I’d have to come back and find another route. I had read other reports of walkers finding a “concession path” along part of the sea wall (and even a photo of a sign), but the sign warned “No access from Outstray Farm”. I couldn’t see any other way to get onto this path, so I decided to stick to the roads.
Having made that decision, I now needed to make another decision. I continued ahead to cross Winestead Drain. Here there is a road junction. I could turn left (east) to follow the road east to Outstray Farm, which I suspected was a dead-end. Or I could go half way along this where another road turned off to the right via Newlands Farm and Channel Farm and would join the road ahead in about a mile, but going this route was about 2 miles in length. I would not get close enough to even see the sea, so I decided to stick to the more direct route ahead.
I passed Bleak House Farm cottages and then into an area called Sunk Island. This part of the coast is incredibly flat, beside the Humber and is I suspect mostly re-claimed land, now fertile farm land. However I was puzzled about the name – Sunk Island. Well I know what an island is, it’s some land surrounded by water. So a sunken island must be an island without the land part (because it has sunk) – or in other words, a sunken island is the sea. Except it isn’t.
Sunk Island is apparently a “Crown Estate” village meaning it belongs to the Queen. Having later researched it, apparently the area did start as the sea, but then sands banks began to form, it silted up and so sea walls were built to turn it into land. So Sunk Island seems to mean land that was sunk, but isn’t now. Very confusing.
To be honest it was pretty dull. Flat as a pancake land, with huge agriculture fields, dotted with a few farms and remote cottages, and not a lot else.
Because it was so flat although the Humber was only about a mile away, it was behind a sea wall so I couldn’t see it at all.
At a place called Brick Bridge just ahead I had a junction. Excitingly, the road ahead was called Brick Road. It was also coloured yellow on the map. This meant it must be the Yellow Brick Road and so bought back memories of the Wizard of Oz.
However I could also turn left. Again this would be a much longer loop along roads that would not actually bring me to the coast and would be a much longer route than keeping ahead. However a track marked on the map from the southern most point of the road, East Bank Farm where the map suggested there might be a track leading to the sea wall, which offered the hope that it might be possible to walk along that and avoid the roads. So I turned left here.
I followed this past Stray Road on the left (the other end of the possible loop I could have followed earlier) and continued passed Channel Farm. A bridlepath was marked to the right on the map just after this. I didn’t intend to follow it, but there was no sign of it on the ground or any signs pointing the way, which did not bode well.
I get the feeling this is not an area walkers come to much and the farmers have just planted crops over most of the paths. I passed a few remote houses, many of which had “VR” plaques with dates on them, indicating the royal connection (and age). As I neared East Bank Farm I decided that if the track was not marked private I would follow it, but if it was I would not.
Sadly when I got there it was marked with private signs and it was right next to the houses, making it likely I would be seen. Reluctantly, I therefore stuck to the road, which now turned 90 degrees to the right to head back north west. I soon passed the other end of that bridlepath which was signed at this end. Curiously, at this end the path looked excellent, perhaps there are two land-owners involved.
I continued west on the quiet roads past Wood Farm and Middle Farm to reach the isolated church of Sunk Island.
This was surprisingly large, a red brick building with a tall tower and I stopped for a rest on seat in the church yard. Although not a demanding walk, walking on tarmac is hard on the feet and so my feet and ankles were glad of the rest.
In the field opposite though a farmer was spraying his crops, leaving an unpleasant chemical smell in the air whenever he came past this end of the field. I didn’t want to get sprayed myself, so soon continued. Since leaving Patrington Haven I’d had only about half a dozen cars pass me so far I was surprised that this road seemed to have got busier, about that many cars had passed since I had been sitting here.
There were a few more houses south along Village Road but it didn’t seem there was much to generate traffic. Ahead after the church I again had a choice. I could follow a “loop” closer to the south along Village Road or continue ahead. The later would rejoin the road ahead about half a mile later. However I opted for the former, the loop, as it was closer to the coast even though it would add another 1km to the walk.
There wasn’t much to the village, only a few houses and a couple of farms and I soon rejoined the road I had left earlier at Crown Farm. I turned turned left along the road to continue past Stone Creek Farm Cottages and Stone Creek Farm and finally the road turned left to reach the coast at Stone Creek, a narrow drainage channel.
Just ahead I had at last reached the Humber. After miles of walking on roads inland, it was so nice to be finally close to the water. A cyclist passed me here the first person I had seen for some time and the track that the road became crossed a few small bridges over creeks to reach the footpath along Cherry Cobb Sands Bank that I wanted to follow, at a muddy creek (Stone Creek).
The path I wanted to follow was along the banks of the Humber to my right. I had heard reports from more than one person that this was badly overgrown. But either I was lucky or things have changed, as it was a neatly mown path in the grass. I even found a seat and stopped on it for lunch.
Across the Humber I could see the tower at the docks in Grimsby and all the industry around Immingham.
The Humber is a muddy river with a large tidal range and although not as pretty as many river I was still glad to be beside the water, watching the large boats ply their trade.
After lunch I continued on the sea wall. The neatly mown grass soon ended but it was still quite easy going really. The grass was a bit longer further along but only to the top of my shoes really so whilst a neatly mowed path all the way would be nice it was better than I had expected and perfectly usable. After a while I started to get marshes on the left, the Outstray initially though I could always see over it to the Humber and Immingham beyond, and all the industry that goes with it.
Pretty it isn’t, but I felt quite detached from it on this side of the river.
Soon to, to my surprise, I could see far enough up river to see the Humber bridge, and of course Hull, beyond. I hadn’t expected to still be able to see these landmarks so far east.
I followed the sea wall path for another couple of miles and it was only as I neared Paull Holme Sands that I began to see people again.
Here part of the old sea wall has been breached and a new sea wall (and footpath) constructed inland, to create a marshy nature reserve.
This nature reserve, Paull Holme Strays, has a car park and so I had begun to meet the extent of the dog walkers routes. Still after miles along a remote path I was glad to at least know I could get through, since I had heard reports of the path being closed at times. I followed the path around the Outstray passing about a dozen people on the way now, it sometimes comes a shock to start to meet people after so long on an isolated path!
The views inland showed I was nearing the industry of Hull.
However looking further west I could see the church in Paull, still giving the impression of being in a rural location, despite the industry just to the right (and out of shot).
I haven’t walked the coast in order and hadn’t had a specific destination in mind today, but I knew the next walk would get me as far as Hull and I’d already walked more than half way, so the next walk would be a shorter distance than I had done so far today. I didn’t want to walk all the way to the industry, so as to make for a nicer ending on the next walk, where I could at least end in this rural location beside the Humber. So I decided to end here, except that it being a Sunday there were no buses to Paull (though there is only a limited service on other days of the week).
So in order to get a bus I had to walk inland to either Thorngumbald or Hedon. I opted for the latter. So I turned inland and followed Dark Lane towards Thorngumbald. It was more interesting than I expected there were even a few short hills and a view inland along the drive to a stately home (Boreas Hall, I think).
I reached Thorngumbald and the main road 20 minutes before the bus in the end so I walked west to find a bus shelter with a seat, so I could have a rest waiting for the bus. It was quite a long walk, quite humid and I was feeling tired now, so I was glad of somewhere to sit down.
The bus arrived on time and so I reached Hull an hour before my train home – enough time for an early dinner in the Whetherspoon pub near the station. I then caught the train home (with a change at Doncaster). It was a pleasant journey south and all my trains ran on time.
This was another walk of two halves. The first was, frankly, very dull on minor roads past farms and flat fields of crops, with little variety in the scenery, though it was at least quiet. The second half was better now that I had finally made it to the waters edge! But this was not a walk I would be especially keen to repeat.
Here are details of the public transport needed for this walk:-
East Yorkshire Motor Services routes 75, 76 and 77 : Withernsea – Hollym – Patrington – Ottringham – Keyingham – Burstwick – Thorngumbald – Hedon – Hull (Paragon Station). Buses run roughly every 30 minutes Monday – Saturday and hourly on Sundays. It takes around 25 minutes to travel between Patrington and Thorngumbald.