December's Humber Bridge Country Park E-Newsletter

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Humber Bridge Country Park
Humber Bridge Country Park

Season's Greetings from all of us at the Country Park!

This edition of your E-newsletter will be the last of the year. 2021 has been a huge test for many people, however, the Country Park has remained open throughout and has been a place of huge importance for thousands. More than ever, it has been a place where people have safely exercised, socialised, enjoyed nature and learned. The opening of Hessle Whiting Mill and the Chalk Walk heritage trail as part of East Riding Museums was one of many highlights during the year. After 25 years of closure, and thanks to National Lottery heritage funding, the mill opened its doors in May. Since then, over 4000 visitors have safely enjoyed exploring the 5 floors of the mill's tower, learned about its rich history and the story of Little Switzerland in its lifetime as a quarry.    

November was a hugely busy time at the Country Park and in this month's newsletter you can find out all about what we've been up to including our conservation activities, historical research and some more fantastic art work. Although the year is coming to an end, we still have one more fantastic event coming up this month! Read on to find out more!


This breathtaking photo of the Country Park's autumnal tree tops and mill tower was taken last month from the bridge by Jo Byrne.

'Wonderful Winter, a seasonal celebration event' at Hessle Mill and the Country Park.

By Bev Hylton, Countryside Access Officer


Sunday 19th December. Free drop-in activities, 10am – 12pm and 1pm – 3pm.

Take a little time out this busy December and enjoy a mid-winter visit to the woods of the country park and the mill on the spacious foreshore. Explore inside the mill which is open for this special day, and make some beautiful natural decorations for your Christmas or outdoor trees.

We challenge children and families to spot all our red robins hiding on a trail around the mill, climbing up to the upper levels for winter-themed storytelling, activity sheets and popular colouring-in.

Walk into the country park for a drop-in workshop to make tree decorations using natural materials. We invite you to select and cut a fresh willow stem from our living willow screens at the bird feeding station, and artist Michele will guide you through making festive stars, trees, snowflakes and wands.

On the day you will also have the chance to meet the Victorian mill and quarry owner, Mr William Hearfield!

Enjoy some peaceful and festive times with us.


Painting the Park: Part 3


Fungus in the Country Park by Cheryl Maston.

Christmas has come early! We have been treated to another lush and vibrant painting by Cheryl Maston. Alongside her previous works showing the Country Park's willow tunnel and a scene from the foreshore. Cheryl recently painted this very detailed scene of fungus growing in the Country Park. Whilst many of us love to see the greenery of the Country Park's woodlands and meadows or spotting creatures as they go about their day, few of us stop to pause and look at fungi.

Did you know that there are over 15,000 species of fungi in the UK? They live on land, in the water, in the air, and even in and on plants and animals. They vary widely in size and form, from the microscopically small to the largest organisms on Earth (at several square miles large). You can see many of the smaller examples as captured by Cheryl's painting and Jacob's photo below. 

Please be aware that fungi can be deadly poisonous, so please do not touch or pick any fungi you see in the Country Park. Thank you. 


This excellent photo of Fairy Inkcap (Coprinellus disseminatus) was taken by Jacob Jackson.

Robins and Christmas

By The Friends of the Humber Bridge Country Park

Robins are a common site in the Country Park, particularly at the bird feeding stations. They are resident in this country all year round, so why do we tend to associate them with winter and in particular with Christmas cards?


A festive Robin, on one of the Country Park's birdfeeding stations.

Letter carriers or postmen in the early to mid 1800s wore a predominately scarlet uniform and became know as ‘redbreasts’. At Christmas time postmen were obviously more in evidence and so the robin ‘redbreast’ began appearing on Christmas cards as a representation of the postmen and their ‘red breasts’. The robin’s ‘real’ name is redbreast. ‘Robin’ is a familiar and affectionate nickname – ‘Robin’ Hood has the same origin.

The robin is a common sight in Britain all year round and can be seen in gardens, parks, woodlands and hedgerows. They are very territorial birds and have an aggressive nature. However they are very confident around people and often when gardening, you will find a robin appearing a couple of feet away from you, ready to pounce on any worms and insects you may have uncovered whist digging. They can even be trained to take food from your hand.


Robins are not fussy where or when they nest. Nests have been recorded in every month of the year although their normal breeding season is March to June. Most nests are located on or near the ground in any place that provides a fully concealed cavity e.g. hollows, nooks and crannies, climbing plants, hedgerows, tree roots, piles of logs or more unlikely places such as kettles, hanging baskets, sheds and boots! Robins will readily use nest boxes with an open front sited in a hidden location. The female builds the nest from moss and dead leaves, and then lines it with hair. Both the male and female robins sing almost all year round and only stop for a short time in late summer while they are moulting. They can even be heard singing at night!. You can listen to the Robin's bird song by clicking here.

From the Newspapers

By Sally George, Quarry to Country Park Volunteer

The final 'From the Newspapers' article of 2021 is from the Hull Daily Mail and is dated 21st April 1934. It discusses the unusual place names found around Hessle, such as the Wraye, Mammen Land and the Skidry, Skyri or Skiddie.




Hesslewood it appears, passed into the possession of the Hull Charterhouse in the year 1406.  At a somewhat later date it became known as Charterhouse Wood.  The wood covered all the land now used as a golf course, and probably a good deal more. 

The Skidry was certainly on the eastern side of Hesslewood and was crossed by a public way.  It was probably not far from what is now known as Little Switzerland.  Possibly it was in this direction and that Earle Garth and the Calkelyne were situated.  It seems to me that in olden times every field and pasture must have had its own appropriate name.  It is a pity that so many of these old names have disappeared from use and I, for one, would like to see them revived."


A fantastic aerial view of the Hesslewood Estate (bottom, centre) and the surrounding area, mentioned in the article. Taken 2014.

The Friends of the Humber Bridge Country Park


In November, our volunteer team, The Friends of the Humber Bridge Country Park, undertook conservation work, under the guidance of Bev, our Countryside Access Officer. On Saturday the 13th they improved the bird feeding area in the park. This included the repair and upgrade of exiting tables, as well as the construction of four new tables. Upon completion, the tables were immediately visited by robins, blackbirds, blue tits, great tits and several adorable tiny coal tits too. 

Well done to the Friends, your efforts are greatly appreciated!



The Friends and the newly revamped bird feeding area in the Country Park.

Hessle Local History Society: Programme of Talks 2022


Hessle Local History Society has recently published their programme of talks for 2022:

17 March Eve Johansson: Joseph Walker Pease

21 April Keith Hare: Hessle’s very own Comical Fire Brigade

19 May Peter Richardson: Rowley Church, the 40s at Grosmont, Walkington Hayride, the Beamish Museum and the Holocaust Memorial Centre (Beth Shalom)

16 June Paul Schofield: Hull’s Georgian suburbs

21 July Robert McMillan: Historic Hessle

18 August Michele Beadle: the R38 disaster

15 September Michael Free: Chalk quarrying in Hessle

20 October Ian Wilkinson Hessle: an eclectic view

17 November :AGM and Michele Beadle, White City 1920–38

Poet's Corner: A Poem for December

This is
 John Clare’s 'December' which speaks of the simple pleasures of a child’s Christmas, which, despite our more material, comfortable, and increasingly digital times, can still make winter memorable.


While snow the window-panes bedim,
The fire curls up a sunny charm,
Where, creaming o'er the pitcher's rim,
The flowering ale is set to warm;
Mirth, full of joy as summer bees,
Sits there, its pleasures to impart,
And children, 'tween their parent's knees,
Sing scraps of carols o'er by heart.

And some, to view the winter weathers,
Climb up the window-seat with glee,
Likening the snow to falling feathers,
In fancy infant ecstasy;
Laughing, with superstitious love,
O'er visions wild that youth supplies,
Of people pulling geese above,
And keeping Christmas in the skies.

As tho' the homestead trees were drest,
In lieu of snow, with dancing leaves,
As tho' the sun-dried martin's nest,
Instead of ickles, hung the eaves,
The children hail the happy day -
As if the snow were April's grass,
And pleas'd, as 'neath the warmth of May,
Sport o'er the water froze as glass.