454 pm to Saltfleet

[This walk was completed on the 20th August, 2021]

I leave the wide beach behind, and follow a path over the dunes, to where it joins a farm track. On the way, I pass several warning signs about unexploded ordinances and the danger area I’m leaving.

According to my map, there is a footpath behind the dunes which runs parallel to the coast, and should take me all the way to Saltfleet. Ah, here it is. I’m not sure what the sign says – the surface notice has disappeared completely. Just hope it’s not a “path closed” notice!

But the path is well trodden and it’s a pleasant route, with wild flowers on either side. I soon get hot – for the first time on this trip. No view of the sea and no sea breeze to keep me cool.

The route takes me past tangles of bushes and groves of trees, and then along the edge of endless Lincolnshire fields.

The path meanders onwards for a mile or more. With nothing particularly interesting to look at, or to photograph, I make rapid progress.

I see a weird little hill ahead, which rises above the ridge of dunes like a miniature volcano with its top missing. Definitely artificial, I think, and possibly something to do with the military. Maybe it’s covering a bunker?

The path joins a rough track and I find an information board. “Welcome to Saltfleetby – Theddlethorpe Dunes.” It’s a National Nature Reserve.

Here’s another weird mound. This one is even taller than the first one and the steps are inviting… but, as I get closer, I discover they are taped off. No entrance.

I walk onwards, wondering whether to jump over the fence and climb the mound anyway, when I spot some grazing cattle. They look peaceful, but I decide to stick to the path.

Here’s a viewing platform, although the view consists of nothing much but endless grass and marshland. The sea is out there somewhere, but too far away to be discernible. Shame the information board is missing. Anyway, time for a break. I sit down, enjoy a drink and a snack, and pose for a self-portrait.

The path continues further, to form a circular tour of the area. I soon spot another strange raised mound. In fact, I realise this must be the one I saw originally, when I was walking along the footpath.

More information boards explain that the weird mounds are, in fact, vegetated dunes. They’re part of a very ancient system of dunes, which have ended up far from the sea because of remodelling of the coastline caused when the Saltfleet Haven river was straightened.

The boards go onto explain that these ancient dunes would gradually be covered by bushes and trees, and would slowly become incorporated into the landscape. So, conservation efforts are in place to preserve the dunes and keep the nearby marshland as… well, as marsh.

I’m not sure I approve of this. Understand why they’re doing it, but the coast is continually evolving and changing. In fact, the reason why these dunes are marooned so far from the sea is because of our interference with the course of the Saltfleet Haven. You would think we would learn not to interfere any further with the natural process of things.

Oh, well. I decide I’m going to climb this giant dune. There are no wooden steps up this one, but there is a well-defined footpath.

On the way up, I pass a wooden sign. “TO PREVENT EROSION, PLEASE…” Please what?

Please stick to the path, I guess. Onwards, to the top.

And, oh, what a view. Stunning. Right across the nature reserve, all the way to the sea. Marvellous.

Lincolnshire is so very flat that it’s rare to get a view like this. I spend a long time on top of the mound and take numerous photos. How lovely.

I’ve still got another 1/2 mile to walk until I reach my van (aka The Beast). With reluctance, I climb down off the giant dune, and make my way back to the entrance to this nature reserve area. Then, I’m back on the footpath and walking northwards again.

I’m reaching a grove of trees, which I think hides the car park where The Beast is parked. My footpath goes straight across a field – and I am slightly concerned by the warning notice “Conservation grazing in progress”. But there’s no sign of any cattle, thank goodness.

I walk past some ramshackle barns, and then past a deserted farmhouse. What a shame to see an old building returning to ruin. Sad, and a bit creepy too. I feel ghosts watching through the windows.

It’s probably someone who once lived here – an old, long-dead, farmer – who planted all these trees, creating this oasis of woodland that stands proudly above the surrounding fenland.

I join the road and follow it to where it ends in a dead-end, at a car park.

“No access to the beach from this car park,” warns a sign. That’s OK. I’m not heading to the beach.

I’ve not covered many miles today. In fact, I was planning on walking further – it’s only another mile until I get to Saltfleet village. Two miles, round trip, there and back. But the sight of my Beast, comfortable and welcoming, is too much to resist.

I brew myself a quick coffee in the back of the van. Then, I must drive back to Sutton on Sea and pick up my Scooty bike – if it’s still there.

[Post walk note: pleased to report that the Scooty bike was still there!]

Miles walked today = 9 miles

Total around coast = 4,643 miles

Route (first part in black, this part in red):

About Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.
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13 Responses to 454 pm to Saltfleet

  1. Mike Otoka says:

    Great photos & thanks for the information Ruth. We are planning to walk from Skegness to Grimsby in May of this year.

  2. Eunice says:

    I would have been tempted to find a way into that old farmhouse and have a good look round – places like that fascinate me 🙂

  3. jcombe says:

    Did you find the only hill in Lincolnshire? 🙂 (Just joking I know there are the Wolds too). I would be curious to see inside that farm but I never have the guts to go exploring places like that. I’m always worried I’ll either be caught or find something really horrible!

  4. Karen White says:

    A pleasant walk and a good amount of miles too. The views from the tope of the dune are wonderful.

  5. tonyurwin says:

    I am in the “find a way in and explore deserted buildings” camp….unless it is an old house in the woods and I am camping overnight nearby! I still think about that place near Mouthmill Beach. 🙂

  6. Chris Elliott says:

    I was tempted to break into the old croft at Kinlochteacuis when I walked the coast there as I was fascinated by the (complete) abandoned building. Last October I did a week long landscape photography course in Torridon with a professional photographer Mark Banks. He showed us some photographs of the inside of an abandoned croft in Scotland that he had taken. I asked him if the interiors were ‘staged’ and they were. He had used miscellaneous abandoned relics to make the interior look more interesting. Abandoned buildings are a photographers delight. Many years ago as a naughty child, my cousin and I broke into an old abandoned house south of Loch Eriboll in Scotland . The estate it was on has recently been bought by Anders Povlsen now Scotlands biggest landowner. I understand the house has now been turned into a bothy some 47 years later. I love abandoned buildings. What stories they could tell. I later learnt that the deer stalker on the estate where I was staying and who I knew, had been born in the house I broke into. His family vacated the house in about 1963 and it has been empty ever since. I broke into it in about 1970. Next time Ruth go for a snoop. I’m sure the ghosts will be friendly!

    • There was an interesting website called Abandoned Places where people posted accounts of forays into abandoned buildings, including old hospitals and power stations. It was in the early days of the website, and the original site seems to have disappeared completely. It was fascinating. One set of photos, of an old hospital on the south coast, still had medical records in filing cabinets – unthinkable potential data breach nowadays.

      • jcombe says:

        There are quite a number of “channels” on Youtube where people film themselves exploring abandonded building. For example “The Bearded Explorer” and “Urbandonded”. I watch them sometimes with interest, but I don’t think I’d be brave enough to do it myself. Not only are a lot of the buildings quite dangerous with crumbling ceilings and floors but it isn’t that uncommon for the police to be called either because the explorer have been seen or the abandoned building still has working motion sensors or the like (admittedly the latter isn’t likely in a house). It’s nice to be able to see inside without having to take the risk myself!

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