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28 October 2014

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You are in: Humber > Places > Walks > Coast Walk > Point 4 - River Hull Walkway

River Hull walkway

Point 4 - River Hull Walkway

Continue walking along the High Street. Turn left into Scale Lane Staith. Walk to the end of the Staith and turn right. You are now on the River Hull walkway.

The story of Kingston Upon Hull begins here in the safety of this creek.

This is where the earliest settlers built their houses and moored their boats. The city developed from this settlement, which at the time was called Wyke and is thought to date back to the 11th century.

Wyke was owned by the monks of the Cistercian Abbey of Meaux until January 1293 when King Edward I bought this settlement to establish a military base. Even during those early days, the port was thriving with the exportation of wool from Yorkshire.

It was renamed King's town or Kingston upon Hull and given a Royal Charter. In 1332, Edward III granted Hull a new charter allowing more self-government and the right to elect a Mayor. The first Mayor was William de la Pole, a wealthy Hull merchant, he was later knighted by the King.

The River

Just downstream is where the River Hull meets the much larger Humber estuary, with its swift currents and open waters.

River Hull

But even here, away from the mainstream, people suffered frequent floods. As you continue down the Hull walkway you will pass under a massive modern flood barrier. Today, the tidal barrier is still vital to protect the town from high tides and storm surges.

It is hard to imagine, but back in the 17th and 18th century this river would have been choked with boats almost unable to move. At low tide they would have rested on their flat keels in mud.

Built with a shallow draft to cope with the local sandbanks, ships from Hull were ideal for expeditions. Navigating unknown waters that could ground a crew many miles from home.

But whalers travelling to the far north had to protect themselves against other dangers. They would add double or triple planks to their hulls in order to avoid being crushed by ice.

And there was also another threat. French and American privateers frequently attacked them. A whaler leaving the dockside in front of you would have been protected with cannons as well as sturdy wood.

For hundreds of years boats have sailed from Hull to the far North. Just upstream you will see the Arctic Corsair, Hulls last remaining deep sea, side winder trawler. The fortunes of whalers and fishermen have come and gone but the harsh conditions they endured are certainly not forgotten.  

last updated: 01/05/2008 at 16:08
created: 22/07/2005

You are in: Humber > Places > Walks > Coast Walk > Point 4 - River Hull Walkway

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