Humber Bridge Country Park August Newsletter

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Humber Bridge Country Park
Humber Bridge Country Park

Coming up this August!

With the summer well and truly underway, there is much to look forward to at the Country Park over the coming weeks! In this month's newsletter you can read about our exciting upcoming Kids Go Wild learning sessions including Woodland Art and Rusticus Adventure Trail. There are also more opportunities to reflect on the long and fascinating history of the Country Park. You can find out about what Marshall's Whiting Mill was like in the 1950s and read about Hearfield's whiting windmill in the 1860s. We also explore the more recent history of the Humber Bridge, which celebrated its 40th birthday last month!


A spectacular sunset looking across the Humber Estuary from the Foreshore.

Kids Go Wild: Woodland Art


Explore the Country Park’s woods and meadows, getting creative with natural materials. Be inspired by the world around you, and create your masterpiece under the magnificent trees. Or you may like to go on a minibeast hunt, and have a really close look at some beautiful bugs and boggle-eyed beasties! Your woodland art can feature an imaginative clay creature, with multiple legs and extra-long antennae!


Every summer we hold our popular Kids Go Wild discovery days. This year you can carry on exploring the brilliant habitats and wildlife on the local nature reserves with us. Join in and be assured that you will be kept safe and distanced while enjoying the trails, safaris and art activities.

Enjoy up to 1.5 hours at the event, with easy walking around the reserve.

Tutored by wildlife artist Michele Davy. Suitable for children, accompanied by adults.

Event details and tickets: Children £2.50, accompanying adults free

Phone 01482 395320 for further information

Meet at the Hessle Foreshore entrance to the Country Park, next to the black mill. HU13 0HB. Grid ref: TA 023 254. Free car park

From the Newspapers

By Sally George, Quarry to Country Park Volunteer

This month's 'From the Newspapers' is an auction notice for Hessle Whiting Mill from an 1862 edition of The Hull Packet.


The Hull Packet 17 October 1862.


"HESSLE CLIFF. To Whiting Manufacturers, Colour Manufacturers, and Others.  TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION on TUESDAY, the Fourth day of November, 1862, at Three o'Clock in the Afternoon (subject to such conditions of sale as will be then produced).  The Valuable WHITING MILL, situate at Hessle Cliff, in the Township of Hessle, in the East-Riding of the County of York, with the Drying Sheds, Pits, and Buildings necessary for the manufacture of Whiting.  Also two Roods, more or less, of valuable CHALK or WHITING STONE, situate in the Quarry behind and adjoining to the above Mill.  Also all these Four COTTAGES or TENEMENTS, situate adjoining to the above, with the Gardens and Out-buildings to the same belonging, with the Mill Yard and sand about the same, the whole together containing an area of 2A. 1R, 26P., or thereabouts.  The above Property is now in the occupation of Messrs Pinning, Ward, and Co., Whiting Manufacturers, who for a many years past have carried on a very successful business.  The Mill is in good working order, has two pair of Stones for grinding wet and dry, with all necessary gear and tackle.  The premises are well adapted for the Whiting business.  There is an abundant supply of pure spring water upon the property.  With little cost the premises may be easily adapted to a Colour Manufactory, Oil Mill, or any other business requiring space.  The foreshore frontage to the Humber affords good Wharfage for shipping, and the Hessle Railway Station being quite near, also affords the advantage of land carriage.  Further particulars may be known on application to Mr JOHN BRIGGS, the Managing Partner, at Hessle; the Auctioneer, Bowlalley-lane, Hull; or to Messrs ENGLAND, SAXELBYE & ROBERTS, Solicitors, Quay-street Chambers.  Hull, 8th October, 1862."


Hessle Whiting Mill as it would have looked at the time of the auction.

The Big Butterfly Count


Photograph courtesy of our volunteer Gill Sinclair.


Despite a rather cloudy day on Saturday 24 July, The Friends of the Humber Bridge Country Park managed to see a few butterflies flitting around the Country Park including Small White, Green-veined White, Meadow Brown, Comma, Holly Blue and the day-flying Silver Y moth. These records will be submitted to the Big Butterfly Count.  This national annual event runs until 8 it August, you can learn more about it and how to take part here

Now that Covid restrictions/rules are more relaxed, The Friends are now holding their first activities and events of 2021. Everyone is welcome to join in.


You can find out more and the Friends and their activities here.

Contact them by email: for further information or to be added to the email list.

Rusticus Adventure Trail: The Magical Kingdom


Rusticus is a provider of fresh-air adventures for visitors – a combination of interactive performance, and a good old walk in the great outdoors!


Calling all magical creatures! The fairies are causing mischief and the enchanted trees of the Humber Bridge Country Park need your help! Your journey will take you to the hidden corners of the park where you will follow the clues, enjoy puzzles and activities, and meet the King and Queen of the Fairies!

If you are a family who love an adventure then come and join Rusticus on the Magical Kingdom Adventure Trail - and don’t forget your imaginations!

Tuesday 24th August: 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am, 12pm, 2pm or 2.30pm

Rusticus have had 10 brilliant years of creating open-air family-friendly immersive adventures that place audiences at the centre of the story. Set in the spacious parkland of the Humber Bridge Country Park, you can join in the adventure knowing that you will be kept safe and distanced without compromising on fun and excitement! Enjoy up to 1 hour with us, with easy walking.

Event details and tickets: Children £2.50, accompanying adults free

Phone 01482 395320 for further information  

Meet at the Hessle Foreshore entrance to the Country Park, next to the black mill. HU13 0HB. Grid ref: TA 023 254. Free car parking, toilets available.

Memories of Marshalls Ltd, Whiting Manufacturers of Hessle Foreshore

By Sonia Little, former clerk at Marshall's whiting mill.

Marshall's chalk whiting mill was located on Hessle Foreshore, roughly on the site of what is now the Country Park Inn. The mill was established in 1852 and had greatly expanded a century later.


"I left Hessle County Secondary School in 1953 at the age of 15. At 13 we were transferred from Boothferry Road School up to the school in Heads Lane and I was selected for the Commercial Class training, i.e., Shorthand, Typing and Book Keeping. I cycled in all weathers from Hull Road down to the Cliff. The Office hours were 9-5 Monday to Friday, with 1 hour for lunch, during which time I did some shopping for Mrs Lily Atwood, Book Keeper. We also worked Saturdays 9-1.

I believe an interview appointment was probably arranged through the School, and I remember going for an interview.  Shorthand and typing letters and invoices. Making tea (in a teapot), and washing up. Also answering the telephone when we had to start with “William Marshall Hessle Limited”. There were two Secretaries, although at that time I was not regarded as a Secretary at 15. We had a more mature Lady as Secretary to Mr. Marshall. I was shorthand typist to Mr. Eric Downey, who had returned from the War when he had served as an RAF Fighter Pilot. He was Mr. Marshall’s Assistant.


The Office was a small building rather like a Bungalow. We had a front door entrance leading to a small corridor off which to the left was the Book Keeper’s Room. Mrs. Atwood lived in Denesway, off Swanland Road, and had a Taxi (3 days a week) from Mr. Adamson’s Taxi Firm, the Taxi driver was Mr. Harold Poole. (a very pleasant man loved by all the ladies). Off the corridor to the right was a full width room being the general Office where I worked. We had a hatch in the wall, opening to the corridor, where the workers came on a Friday for their wages.There was a door in the general Office leading to Mr. Marshall’s room. He was a Gentleman. In the 1950’s Office Management wore suits and ties, were very respected, and called Sir. Backing Mr. Marshall’s room was a Laboratory where Mr. Dixon and his Assistant worked. Fronting the River Humber was Mr Tom Roberts’ (Foreman) Cottage, which part of it is now incorporated into the middle of the Country Park Inn.

The crushing of the chalk was done in the area where the Country Park Inn main Car Park is situated, opposite a row of Workers Cottages, which now provide accommodation for Visitors to the Country Park Inn. There was a lot of chalk dust coming from the crushing plants, from what I can remember, it was a long open building with a corrugated roof, and had crushers for the various levels of chalk.


The chalk, when crushed, was bagged into paper and hessian sacks, and either transported by lorry around the UK, or taken by lorry to Hessle Station Goods Yard for transport by rail. The men would have all come from Hessle I presume, and would have got to work on bicycles (only Bosses had cars). I think we had about 4 men down at the Cliff and the rest were working in the Quarry at the top of Ferriby Road. It was very tense on the days they were blasting the chalk. Mr Roberts always made a visit to see Mr. Marshall before-hand. Considering the Quarry was quite a way from the Office we could hear the blasting and rumbling of the chalk in our Office."

Building Bridges


The visit of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to the opening of the Humber Bridge on July 17, 1981


Last month saw the 40th anniversary of the official opening of the Humber Bridge. While the first car crossed the bridge on 24 June 1981, the Queen performed the official opening during the following month, on 17 July 1981. Forty years on, many people have recently spent time recalling this occasion as well as the dramatic story of the bridge's construction, which lasted almost a decade.

Our Quarry to Country Park heritage project volunteer, Dianne has kindly shared a collection of remarkable photographs (left and below) taken by her husband John in the 1970s. They show the early stages of the bridge's construction.    

If you would like to share any or your personal photos or memories of the Humber Bridge's construction, just email them to and we will feature them in next month's newsletter! 


Some of the photographs taken by John Smith during the middle of the 1970s.

From the Archives


A building plan for new locomotive sheds at Hessle Quarry, 1926 (Archive Ref: UDHE/6/2/2/257)


This month's feature from East Riding Archives are a set of building plans for new locomotive sheds at Hessle quarry (Archive Ref: UDHE/6/2/2/257); a site which now forms the Humber Bridge Country Park. The plans were submitted to Hessle Urban District Council in 1926. The sheds were for the locomotives of G & T Earle Ltd. Earle’s quarrying operation involved a standard gauge, locomotive-worked internal railway. The locos carried quarried chalk from the cliff face to a crushing plant located on the Foreshore. The crushed chalk was then carried by a belt elevator to a silo which emptied into rail wagons for carriage to the cement works at Wilmington in Hull.


A building plan showing the location of the new locomotive sheds at the western edge of Earle's Hessle Quarry, 1926 (Archive Ref: UDHE/6/2/2/257)

Project Volunteers Needed!


Would you like to volunteer on our Quarry to Country Park heritage project? We are currently recruiting volunteers to join our team. In the last two and half years the project has seen the opening of Hessle Whiting mill as part of the new Chalk Walk heritage trail. None of this could have happened without our fantastic project volunteers. Now that we are up and running we need more volunteers to:

  • Steward the mill on our open days (Tuesdays and Fridays).
  •  Conduct oral history interviews to help create an archive of memories of Little Switzerland and the Mill.
  •  Support our learning events and school visits

If you are interested in volunteering or would like more information, just email our Heritage Project Officer Alex at