Thursday, 1 September 2011

BOSTON

Heading along the shores of the Wash from King’s Lynn, we bid a fond farewell to Norfolk, as the Peter Scott Walk takes us towards the border with Lincolnshire. This walk is named after the famous naturalist, who lived for many years at the lighthouse on the East Bank of the River Nene. The walk follows the old sea bank along the Wash, and offers great views of both the Wash and the north Fens. Further along the shore still, the RSPB reserve of Frampton Marsh lies near The Haven, a tidal arm of The Wash which forms the port of Boston’s link to the sea. On the opposite shore of The Haven is Havenside Country Park where the Pilgrim Fathers’ Memorial commemorates the seizure of 13 Puritans as they attempted to flee to Holland in 1607. Some of them subsequently sailed to America on the Mayflower in 1620. Another wave of migrants from Boston, who left in 1630, were to found Boston, Massachusetts.

The skyline of Boston is dominated by the church tower known as the Stump, which is the tower of St Botolph’s Church. Those who are feeling energetic can negotiate the 360-plus steps to the top of the tower, where they will be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The church contains misericords dating from 1390 with intricately carved satirical scenes. The 15th century St Mary’s Guildhall houses a museum where the cells which housed the aforementioned Puritans can be viewed. Had the Puritans succeeded in starting a new life in Holland, they would have felt quite at home, because there is a Dutch feel to this part of England, both in the flatness of the countryside criss-crossed with water channels or drains, and in the presence of picturesque windmills. In Boston, the seven-storey five-sailed Maud Foster Windmill is said to be Britain’s tallest mill in working order. It is open to visitors at weekends and on Wednesdays. The Grand Sluice was built in 1766 to control flooding, but it was not enough to prevent two major flooding events: one in November 1810, when a day of heavy rain and building winds culminated in a tidal surge overwhelming the town; and the second in 1953, when Boston was one of many towns on the east coast to be affected by flooding, although Boston, unlike other localities affected, was spared fatalities on this occasion.

For a list of events in Boston, see here.


Map
of the area.

'St Botolph's Church & Grand Sluice Bridge' photo (c) 2011, Paul King - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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