Walk 3414 - printer friendly version
Bishopbridge to Brandy Wharf Walk
Author - Hugh Marrows
Length - 9.0 miles / 14.6 km
Ascent - 0 feet / 0 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference TF030910
Lat 53.405777 + Long -0.45210664
Postcode LN8 3LY (approx. location only)
The start lies east of Caenby Corner beside the A631 where plenty of parking space (grid ref. TF030910) in the lay-by near the Bell Inn. (Tel 01673 878524) There is and alternative shorter route starting from Atterby Carr Lane detailed in walk 2069. There is an inn at Brandy Wharf too. (Tel 01652 678364) Neither inn appears to open regularly during the week; check by phone. Harlam Hill Lock (grid ref. TF020944) has picnic facilities plus information boards about local history and wildlife.
The terrain on this tranquil riverside walk beside the New River Ancholme is easy throughout with fine views eastwards to the Wolds. The 5 metre contours hereabout compare markedly with Lincolnshire's highest ground of 168 metres seen near Claxby Top just 6 miles away and clearly visible.
The "Old" River Ancholme was straightened primarily for land reclamation for farming. Glaciation here had left clay soils liable to flooding and the local dialect word "carrs" means low, swampy land, a fitting description of the original terrain. Another local name met on the walk is the South "Ramper"; a road raised above flood levels. The first river straightening was done in the 1630's prior to which the Ancholme had followed a very winding course to the Humber at South Ferriby. Modern OS maps still show clearly the former meandering course used by C20th parish boundaries.
Further improvements followed an Act of Parliament in 1767 in expectation of river boat trade but this failed to develop until further widening, begun in 1820, had made the river fully navigable by sixty-ton boats as far southwards as Bishopbridge. The "new" warehouse there (which is still there) was a boon to local farmers for most of trade on the "New Ancholme" was in agricultural produce. Harlam Hill Lock was designed by Sir John Rennie and built in 1827 at a cost of £ 2,027 as part of these planned river improvements. It was formerly known as Snitterby Carr Lock and there was once a bridge there too.
At first river traffic was by horse-drawn boats, especially for local destinations such as Brigg market, and it was only in 1879 that the Ancholme Packet Company introduced steam powered boat services between Brigg and South Ferriby to connect with the Humber ferries.
As trade declined the waterway fell into decay until the popularity of leisure boating made Brigg a popular destination with boats gaining access from the Humber via Ferriby Sluice. Recently the southern section of the river and Harlam Hill Lock have been restored and new moorings provided at Bishopbridge so the entire river has become a valuable new leisure amenity.
The origin of the name Brandy Wharf is with a bit of a puzzle with three possible explanations. One, that spirits were smuggled upriver there in the C18th, or secondly that once brandy was actually distilled there. And finally that a businessman called Brandy owned the land. Take their pick! There is another old warehouse there that probably also dates back to the 1820's.
From the footpath sign on the grass opposite The Bell follow the track past the inn and right turn onto the riverbank by the new moorings. Now turn left. After two miles beside the river look for a railed bridge on your left leading into a green lane (Atterby Carr Lane). Walk along this until you meet a road (The shorter route begins here!)
Turn right and at a road junction keep ahead along another green lane (South Ramper). In a 'short' mile this becomes surfaced but keep ahead to the B1205 road and turn right, using verges where possible. At a sharp left-hand bend take the track in front of you leading back towards the river. Go left over a footbridge to reach Brandy Wharf Bridge. Cross to explore, admire the river view to the north and visit the Cider Centre.
Return by the river to the footbridge, re-cross it but now keep ahead on a track for over 1 mile to Brown's Bridge. Continue over a stile, still by the river, to Harlam Hill Lock.
In a further quarter of a mile you will again reach the end of Atterby Carr Lane. For the short route turn right back to your car. Otherwise retrace your steps to Bishopbridge.