A Meander along the River Hull
Just where does the River Hull start? The Open Bridges exhibition inspired many discussions about its origins. We heard about places to explore the springs and streams – one couple spoke of the spring rising in their own back garden.
So, our first outing for A River Full of Stories was on the first day of the 2018 heatwave when we went in search of the origins of the River Hull, making a dozen stops along the way.
A series of springs bubble up in the Yorkshire Wolds soon becoming the headwaters of the River Hull. These beautiful chalk streams are the most northerly in the country, habitat for rare aquatic plants and wildlife. At Kilham, Spring Terrace overlooks the water rising from the ground, creating a pond, home to a family of geese and goslings. A little further south where Bracey Bridge spans the stream as it runs through the woodland a treecreeper spirals up the slender trunks.
By Driffield Canal lock the water from the river nearby tumbles as it feeds the canal, frothing and churning while only a few feet away mayflies skim the still surface of the water. Further along at Snakeholme Pastures long grasses disguise the path by the river. Just the sound of bird song dots the air. The gentle flow of the water is so clear that it reveals the previously hidden depth of the chalk river bed. Moorhens swim amongst the bulrush and yellow flag iris.
North of Beverley where the river is at its most pastoral, meadow brown and green veined white butterflies rise from the grasses. Meadow-sweet, teasels and willow herb stand by the hedges. The chattering of grasshoppers is only disturbed by a pair of yellow hammers calling to each other, ‘little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheese’. It is hot and peaceful, just the odd dog being taken for a plod. Further along a couple of dragonflies swoop out over the river to a family of ducks squabbling by the bank adjacent to the deserted medieval village of Eske.
Words: Lou Duffy-Howard, photographs: Richard Duffy-Howard
Meander along the River is taken from our Open Bridges – A River Full of Stories project. Thank you to everyone who has contributed stories to the project. We are preparing the presentation book for Hull and East Yorkshire libraries and museums and film for later this year. Visit the Open Bridges website here
Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard
Open Bridges made history when for the first time all 13 of the bridges over the River Hull in the UK’s City of Culture 2017 raised, swung or closed simultaneously splitting the city of Hull in two at 20:17 hours on 22nd September 2017. Historic vessels sailed down the River to be met by 21st century tugs.
Open Bridges is an independent Hull/East Yorkshire based project.