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As the future of our Anglian waterways hangs in the balance, ALISON ALDERTON reflects on a rewarding cruising experience on one of the most isolated among them – the River Ancholme.

The impressive Horkstow Suspension Bridge.

The Humber Bridge and estuary.


tributary of the Humber estuary and unconnected to the main inland waterways, the River Ancholme is certainly off the beaten track. But with a little effort and careful planning it can offer boaters a unique experience of exploration and isolation. The most striking feature of the 19-mile long navigation (now, sadly, 2 miles short of this since the closure of Harlam Hill Lock) is its arrow-like course. The original route of the Ancholme was almost entirely straightened during the 19th century and it is now mainly used as a drainage channel for the Wolds, resulting in flows and levels that often change unexpectedly. The lack of meanders and locks should not put off explorers though, as its uncomplicated course provides a chance to sit back, relax and take in the wide open spaces of this sparsely occupied area of Lincolnshire. Before doing so, however, the Humber’s fastflowing waters and shifting sands need careful negotiation, and it is vital to ensure your craft is capable of dealing with these conditions. Liaison with the Associated British Ports Humber Estuary Services, as well as the Environment Agency, is required.


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Entrance to the Ancholme at South Ferriby is through the mud banks of the Humber estuary.

Summer 2017 19/04/2017 16:03

IWA Waterways Magazine - Summer 2017