Our family day out began as a spontaneous trip to discover an area we’d not previously stopped long enough to explore, usually we would only pass through Sutton Bridge to reach another destination. Little did we know the Sir Peter Scott lighthouse was so close and what a stunning area we were passing by. The lighthouses on either side of the river Nene, are West Bank Lighthouse and the East Bank Lighthouse, (The Sir Peter Scott Lighthouse.) Walking along the river Nene is so relaxing, picnic areas nearby and a car parking area near to the lighthouse.
Sir Peter Scott, son of the famous Captain Scott of the Antarctic was the founder member of the World Wildlife Fund and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust. The Sir Peter Scott Lighthouse with its history connected to Sir Peter Scott is ‘The most iconic and inspirational building in the history of conservation.’
Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire is an underestimated place, we’d decided to stop for a stroll along the banks of the river Nene but had not bargained for it to be such an interesting destination. The river, yes certainly a lovely place to walk along, but the area itself is full of interest and history we had not realized before our spontaneous visit. Once we’d parked up, it was lunch time and the smell of fish and chips was carried on the breeze, the lunchtime decision was made purely on the aroma from the local fish and chip shop. A delicious start to our visit for sure, fish, chips and peas eaten outdoors on a picnic bench, perfect!
We started our days exploration by walking across the swing bridge, from the west bank to the east bank which is on the A17 road. We’d often wanted to do this but had always been heading elsewhere, usually Norfolk, and so continued our journey, but not on this day, we were there to discover more and to stand on the swing bridge to watch the river Nene flow beneath us. It was a fine sunny day and with a gentle breeze, lovely weather for a riverside walk. We noticed a memorial on the opposite side of the road and took the underpass to go and visit it. Dedicated to all members of The Royal Air Force of all nationalities who served at RAF Sutton Bridge, from 1926 – 1958
The plan was to walk along the riverside to enjoy the beautiful weather and with no other destination planned. I have always enjoyed riverside walking, and this was no exception, apart from the speed that I was walking at using a crutch as support while recovering from a knee injury. It soon became obvious this walk was not going far at this rate. We’d noticed a sign to a lighthouse and soon enough our plan changed, this seemed like an exciting option. We walked over the swing bridge and back to the car, a short drive along the river Nene on the East bank is the Sir Peter Scott Lighthouse where you will find a car parking area and an outstanding area of natural interest.
The lighthouse was constructed in 1830 in Sutton Bridge Lincolnshire and was essential for navigation on the new river Nene cutting, a deep straight drainage channel designed and excavated to help drain the Lincolnshire Fens, low laying inland areas.
The East Bank Lighthouse was constructed in a very desolate location, 3 miles out into the tidal marshes where the only sounds to be heard would have been the calls of the wildfowl who made the marshes and saltings their home. It was toward the end of the war that the sea walls were moved half a mile seaward to reclaim land needed for farming after the war in order to feed the nation who were still on rationing. If you visit today you will realize that although remote to some standards, the lighthouse and surrounding land is not at all as it would have been when Sir Peter Scott arrived in 1933. On our visit the surrounding farmland was in throws of harvesting, not a scene that would have been expected or perceived before the war.
Once we had parked up near the lighthouse our walk along the sea bank began, it is so tranquil here. To the rear and side of the lighthouse are a collection of geese a cockerel and some guinea fowl, from what I could see at least, so lovely. To the left of us was the river Nene and to the right of us large agricultural fields being harvested as we walked by. The walk continued along the sea defense bank for miles, and on the west bank the opposite lighthouse can be seen over the river. Such a beautiful place to walk, and a peaceful place to sit too, some perfectly placed benches on the walk. I wasn’t able to take in as much of the walk as I would have liked on my visit, but I shall be back to take in the full walk on a future visit.
When Sir Peter Scott moved into the East Bank lighthouse in 1933 his life changed, he was already very accomplished in many areas of his life, including many sporting acheivements and son of the famous Captain Scott of the Antarctic, who died on a Polar expedition, and his mother, a famous sculptor, Kathleen nee Bruce. Sir Peter Scott was a wildfowler who became a famous wildlife artist and writer, who would go on to become a very influential if not one of the most influential naturalists and conservationists to date. Known as a friend to all wildlife and all people.
Our visit was a brief one, but so peaceful and meaningful. I shall be back for certain as this is such an interesting and inspiring area that needs more exploring, a real eye opener. We finished our day by taking a steady drive home through parts of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, all of which border the area. Sometimes a gamble on a spontaneous trip pays dividends, I’m so pleased to have discovered this gem and found the story of Sir Peter Scott in the process, what an inspiration he is indeed, he’s credited with many wildlife campaigns such as Save the Whales and for the Red Book endangered species list to mention just a little of his accreditations. Peter Scott 14th Sept 1909 – 29th Aug 1989.
Some places surprise and inspire when outwardly looking so humble. 😊