Hugh Marrows Monthly Walk: Freiston Shore takes in war time structures

Freiston Shore
Freiston Shore

This month we head for some refreshing sea air at Freiston Shore RSPB reserve.

The earliest sea banks here were traditionally considered as Roman but are more likely to be medieval. The 1810 ‘Great Flood’ badly affected the area and there were failed reclamation schemes in the 1850’s and 1870’s. Most land reclamation is from the 1930’s onwards.

Freiston Shore

Freiston Shore

By the mid-18th century, Freiston Shore had become a popular seaside resort, sometimes referred to as the ‘Brighton of Lincolnshire’ and two hotels, served by regular coaches from Boston, provided around a hundred bedrooms. The Plummer’s Hotel (originally the Coach and Horses) is still there operating as a guesthouse. Nearby stood The Marine – still there too, but in ruins! By the 1840’s the beach regularly hosted horse racing events but Freiston’s popularity quickly declined after 1873 when the railways reached Skegness.

During WWII Lincolnshire was in the front line for coastal defence against invasion and of the many surviving contemporary fortifications some of the largest (and best preserved) are at Freiston.

The RSPB established their reserve here in 2000 since when the outer sea bank has been breached helping to create additional salt marsh and help with flood defences.

The walk

Freiston Shore

Start : RSPB carpark, Freiston Shore (GR 397424)

Distance : 3 miles, 5 km

Maps: OS Landranger 131 : Explorer 261.

Refreshments: In Freiston – The Bull & Dog and the King’s Head.

NB: Freiston Shore has no toilet facilities.

First return to the entrance ramp. Then, to follow the RSPB’s Wetland Trail, keep ahead along the concrete road. For a grassier alternative, turn left along the public footpath through gates and gardens behind the Plummer’s Hotel. Then follow the old sea bank.

For the road, follow it to the gates of North Sea Camp. Those choosing the bank top should continue until it veers to the right away from the road, which you can join via a kissing gate. Otherwise continue until you see the prison gates and then go left down to a stile. From the gates a wide grass track leads to steps up the outer sea bank and there turn left. You can also return to the carpark.

The path on your left passes the RSPB hide and the Wetland Viewpoint. Otherwise keep ahead for a few yards before bearing left along the north side. From some steps on the left a path goes past the Marine Hotel ruins to reach the carpark.