Parish Paths Partnership - South West Boundry Walk

Bridleway 34

This is the number of this path on the Difinitive Rights of Way map administered by North Lincolnshire Council. It is a linear path and unfortunately the only substantial right of way remaining along a section of the parish boundry. Centuries ago all parish boundaries would have been footpaths and it would have been important for all local people to know where the boundry ran.
The parish boundry defined the area from which the parish church drew its congregation and sacramental income. From the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries it defined the area within which local overseers in vestry administered the Poor Law, church rates and highways, and often local charitable benefactions were administered by trustees within a given parish, details of which were often displayed on boards in the parish church. Barton, although it had two substantial, high status medieval churches, technically remained one ecclesiastical parish and, in this instance, the civil parish which has existed now for over one hundred years has the same boundary. Today's Barton Town Council administers the same area and sends three elected councillors to the two tier unitary council of North Lincolnshire - this following the abolition of Glanford District Council and Humberside County Council in 1996.
Parish boundaries then are important features in the landscape and in this instance it is defined by a clear mound. Whether this is the remnants of a man-made linear mound to define the parish boundary or whether it is a result of differential ploughing on fields either side is not certain. As is often the case in this area the parish boundary field headland winds across the landscape in contrast to the rectangular field boundaries all around created by Parliamentary Enclosure of the medieval open fields, in the case of Barton in the 1790's.
This bridleway crosses the dip slope of the Northern Lincolnshire Wolds chalk escarpment dipping WNW, but made undulating by the heads of post-glacial dry valleys. Barton lies at the lower part of two dry valleys, the inlets of which beyond the spring line gave access to the Humber. Thus in clear weather Hull's townscape is clearly visible to the NE, while the Yorkshire Wolds are visible to the North. As is often the case, from the south bank the estuary itself is obscured from view.
(If the walk is started from the Saxby Road, off the Barton-Brigg Road, there are wide grass verges to park. Walking north along the field headland bridle way Chapel Farm and its shelter belt of trees can be seen across the field. Soon the path follows the eastern side of Turton's Covert, a post-enclosure rectangular plantation of mostly ash and beech trees, probably to provide brushwood and act as a fox and pheasant covert.)
Shelter belts, hedgerows, coverts and plantations provide the only woodland in this landscape dominated by arable agriculture. As the footpath snakes toward Horkstow Road the walker can see recently planted ash trees and thousands of young hawthorn which hopefully will eventually grow to a mature hedgerow to replace the one uprooted in the 1960's when so much non-agricultural vegetation was lost in areas like this. Policies now encourage farmers to diversify and to restore some biodiversity. The field headlands across Horkstow Road are not a public right of way, so the walker has to return to Saxby Road.
Walking south from the starting point one passes a solitary small oak tree and a little further on an ash, reminders that almost certainly a century ago mature and young trees would have been common along the hedgerows and field/parish boundaries.
Much of the thin chalk downs topsoil is covered with a layer of post-glacial till so as well as cereal crops, the walker will see root crops such as potatoes and suger beet in the fields around. Towards the southern end of Bridleway 34 the very end of a dense linear plantation is passed while a little further on the footpath passes alongside a thick, mature hawthorn shelter belt.
This southern section of Bridleway 34 is a section of The Viking Way - a long distance footpath from the Humber Bridge Viewing Area in Barton through Lincolnshire to the county of Rutland. Guide books can be bought from the Information Centre that was the coastguard station at the Viewing Area.
The northern section of Bridleway 34 is also part of a medium distance Barton and Horkstow Circular Walk (Ancholme Valley Walk No. 10), the leaflet for which is produced by the Countryside Section of North Lincolnshire Council.


This is one of four Parish Paths Partnership walks. They are available in leaflet style free of charge from many outlets in Barton. They have been researched and written by Richard Clarke, designed by Richard Hatfield, the photography was done by Tim Needham, Albert Sykes and Richard Clarke, and the leaflets were funded by Barton Town Council and North Lincolnshire Council.


2001 Dazxtm