South Cliff Gardens, Scarborough 2.

The photo above shows the view north-east from the patio of Clock Cafe, South Bay, Scarborough (s.p.b.).
South Cliff Gardens is in fact an amalgamation of a number of ‘garden’ areas that were created below the Esplanade at various points of time. To catalogue these separate points from north to south: the gardens above and either side of the Spa building were initially created as a private garden in 1837 for a wealthy early resident of the Esplanade as was the Prince of Wales garden from the 1860s. This section of South Cliff is not on the cliff-face at all but at the cliff-top between two roads leading off the Esplanade. The Rose Garden started in the 1880s was also initially a private garden although the Italian Gardens started at the time of the Great War was, from the outset, a public place, as were the Holbeck Gardens nearby. The Shuttleworth Gardens, like the Prince of Wales Gardens, was created on the cliff-top but initially as a private garden for the Shuttleworth family of a wealthy West Yorkshire industrialist at the junction of Holbeck Road and the southern end of the Esplanade. The Holbeck Gardens include the majestic Clock Tower, a triumphal arch toped by a clock set in a pedestal toped, in turn, by a cupola and built in 1911 to celebrate the coronation of King George V. The cliff-face below Holbeck Gardens and leading to the Cleveland Way long distance coastal footpath has been replanted following a landslide down the cliff-face in 1993 which caused the partial collapse of the Holbeck Hotel, later demolished as unsafe. The Edwardian style suburb of Holbeck provides a number of good examples of domestic buildings reflecting the styles of the Arts and Craft Movement.
There are 13 shelters dotted around the South Cliff Gardens and many are being restored to their original state as part of the restoration programme.
The story of South Cliff Gardens is reminiscent of a similar project at Ravenscar, also on the North Yorkshire coast.
(to be continued)

Italianate Gardens, Scarborough.

Recently took the train to Scarborough in order to join a tour of the restored Italianate Gardens, South Bay, Scarborough, organised by Scarborough Civic Society. Having walked down the pedestrianised shopping street turned right past Grand Hotel, over the Valley footbridge and past the Spa on the way to Clock Cafe on the hillside (cliffside) for light lunch (see above, image scanned from a promotional leaflet), this a favourite spot of mine when you can sit outside and enjoy the panoramic view across South Bay to the Castle and St. Mary’s church.
The Italianate (or Italian) Gardens are just one part of the linear gardens created in the 19th and early 20th centuries along the cliff-face between the Esplanade and the Promenade, these together known as South Cliff Gardens. This development provided the residents of the Esplanade area, and the general public, with a managed green environment with, in places, views out to sea, south to Flamborough Head and north to the Castle promontory. I don’t know of any early prohibitions to access (local residents only) so in effect the South Cliff Gardens form a municipal park.
With it being sited on a cliff-face with a 40 degree gradient in places the pathways often snake up the Cliff-face or follow a contour along the Cliff-face. These pathways access various local environments: pockets of woodland benefiting from mature trees planted a century ago, lawns, shrubberies and formal flower beds – the last a rarity in modern parks. One aspect of the restoration programme has been to restore a number of buildings scattered along the site which provided seating and shelter for visitors, the funding being from the National Lottery which required these buildings be restored to their original specifications. Also many paths have been re-edged with local stone and formal gardens (in particular the Rose Garden) brought back to a high standard.
(to be continued)

The Humber Estuary 10.

Continuing west from Market Weighton canal lock along the top of the clay bank the walk approaches Trent Falls, the point at which the Rivers Trent and Ouse merge to form the inland end of the Humber Estuary, the ‘head’ of this coastal estuary. The best viewing point by far from which to see Trent Falls is at Alkborough on the south bank because the village sits on top of the lower Lias escarpment (limestone) thus giving a view not only over Trent Falls but across the Vales of Trent and Ouse beyond with local legend claiming that of a clear day the crossing tower of York Minster can just be seen (although I have never been able to pick it out) but Conisborough Castle, for example, certainly is in the foothills of the South Yorkshire Pennines. The photo above shows in the middle distance the partly wooded scarp slope between Alkborough and Whitton, much of the latter village being on the Estuary side. In the foreground the vast reedbed of Blacktoft nature reserve can be seen Estuary-side of the clay bank. Until the re-routing of the River Don in the 18th century (I think, but haven’t looked it up) it also had its confluence with the Rivers Trent and Ouse at the head of the Estuary. Thus medieval ships sailing inland from Hull had access to a vast network of navigable rivers, although navigating the upper Estuary was very hazardous.
The tall object in the photo (centre) is an old aid to navigation, surviving but redundant.
Modern day ships sail from Hull Roads on the high tide up to Goole Docks beside the River Ouse or, less commonly, to Gainsborough or Burton Stather beside the River Trent.
As is often the case along the shores of the Humber the opposite banks are contrasting, here a lowland coast facing across to a hillside.

Humber Estuary 9.

I have no picture of Broomfleet church so am showing one of Cliffe church, sited on the eastern edge of Wallingfen and mostly built of the local limestone (clad, if I remember correctly, onto brick walls). Broomfleet church comprises nave, chancel, north tower incorporating an entrance porch, the tower topped by a short spire. The walling material is local brown limestone (as with Cliffe church above) with ashlar dressings.
When standing on the Humber bank at Market Weighton lock and looking across the Humber the outline of the limestone escarpment with its scarp and dip slopes is clearly visible. This is not so on the north bank where the limestone escarpment fuses into the base of the chalk escarpment resulting in the complex geology of the South Cave area. However, the remains of the limestone escarpment east of Wallingfen and in the vicinity of Cliffe has been quarried in the past. The quality of the limestone for building material varies greatly from area to area, here it is of poor quality and weathers readily, but was locally available. Nearby at Newbald very high quality limestone was quarried and used in the building of a number of regional churches including Beverley Minster.
Harking back for a moment to blogs/posts 5 and 6 in this topic I forgot to mention the site of Roman, and possibly pre-Roman, occupation just north-east of the present-day Haven. Back in the first century the head of the Haven extended a bit further inland than today. I re-read my 1930s publication on the archaeological excavation and was reminded that the rectangular enclosure was initially bounded by a ‘sand’ and turf rampart with a stone wall later built on top of most of its area. Shards of crockery was unearthed of various dates starting from the seventh decade of the first century, the point in time when the Roman forces crossed the Humber in earnest to extend north the border of the Empire. The enclosure perimeter is followed by two local roads, one being the ‘Roman road’ north, eventually to York. In the late era of Roman Britannia evidence suggests the enclosure may have been abandoned.

The Humber Estuary 8.

The photo above shows a view north from the footbridge over the lock-gates of Market Weighton Canal and shows a view over this section of Wallingfen. The Market Weighton Canal was created in 1773 by the canalisation of the lower River Foulness which previously meandered across Wallingfen. The economic incentive for the canalisation was the emerging brickmaking industry in the area around Newport (hence the name). The lock at the mouth of Market Weighton Canal only had to be wide enough to take the keels and sloops of the day on which the bricks were transported to their destinations, hence the lock today is little-used (this very like the lock at South Ferriby Sluice, built so that bricks could be transported away, but now used by pleasure-craft taking a ride up to Brigg and back). Like the canalisation of the River Ancholme on the south bank, the canalised River Foulness resulted in the watercourse being a much more effective drainage channel for the Wallingfen area.
With more field ditches leading to the canalised River more of Wallingfen became suitable for arable agriculture, although the range of crops suitable was limited. The region became well known as a hemp production area; this tall, tap-root plant was intolerant of flood conditions but needed plenty of water as it grew and benefitted from the rich estuarine loom that characterised Wallingfen. In the 18th century hemp was grown mainly to provide fibres for the rope, sailcloth and heavy clothing industries. Today it is the seed that, when crushed, is used in a number of industries (like oilseed rape), including health food supplements. Currently the fields of Wallingfen seem to be given over to growing the standard arable crops of Eastern England.
Going back for a moment to Broomfleet as discussed in Humber Estuary 7 – the current church, St. Mary the Virgin, was built in 1860/’1 to the design of J.L. Pearson, an architect of the ‘Gothic Revival’ best known for his work in Lincolnshire, including Lincoln Minster.
(to be continued).

Humber Estuary 7.

Walking west along the Humber flood bank from Crabley Farm on the left is a large linear reedbed which, along with Whitton Sand and Faxfleet Ness, form sections of one of the Humber Estuary’s nature reserves, characterised here by extensive reedbeds. The Estuary side of the reedbed is determined by the depth of water in that part of the Estuary as reeds cannot survive in water deeper than about a meter for any length of time, which explains why water bodies that gradually become more shallow through humus deposition become more overtaken by reeds.
Looping between Market Weighton Lock and Crabley Farm is a drain called Broomfleet Hope. This, almost certainly, marks the once Humber coastline in this area, before reclamation of the intervening land; a situation mirroring that of Cherry Cobb Sands and Sunk Island. The linear village of Broomfleet, just inland of Broomfleet Hope, did not figure in the Domesday Survey but its ancestral names have been recorded since the 12th century. The Place Name Society records its etymology as initially referring to ‘Brungar’s stretch of the Humber Bank’ but the suffix ‘fleet’ suggests more. As with Fleetgate, Barton on Humber for example, ‘fleet’ suggests a port, or at least, an inlet used by early boats. However, the 19th century church and 18th century farmhouses and cottages do not provide evidence of earlier times. Just off the coast Whitton Sand, a huge colonised mudflat mostly of reedbed and managed by English Nature, has between it and the Humber Bank an open water channel; this similar to the channel allowing access to Patrington Haven still in Tudor times.
The low-lying, level land inland of the Humber bank in this area is the south-eastern portion of Wallingfen, it, in turn, the south-eastern portion of the Vale of York.
The photo above shows the lock part of the sluice at the mouth of the Market Weighton Canal, between Broomfleet and Faxfleet (see later).
(to be continued)