The Humberston Fitties is a wonderful area to visit and take in some coastal fresh and walks. Huge golden sand beaches, sand dunes, big sea views and plenty of quirky history to discover.
I was in Lincolnshire so took the time to head here to the coast for something different. This stretch of coastline really surprised me. It was a beautiful day of weather too.
Before we head out onto the dunes and beaches, we should take a look at the history that created this area what it is today. For here beside the beach you come across a village of chalets. Not uniformed or lined out in pristine caravan site style, but each hut, cabin or chalet being unique in its own little plot of land.
A very unique place.
The word fitties comes from local dialect here and is translated as ‘Salt Marsh’. And this village community of plots and one story buildings, made of all manner of materials, dates back over 100 years.
During WW1 the area was used for billets for soldiers stationed here manning the Humber Forts (more on those later). When they left this plotland became an area for people to gain some wellness by the sea. They came and stayed in tents, old buses, old railway wagons and built chalets. And so it began to form, chalets being built on plots in all manner of forms and materials.
In fact this was one of many fitties on the coast way back when.
In 1938 the local council gained the freehold of the site and since then many land laws and holiday home laws have changed in the country. They later added roads, telephone lines, sewage etc to improve the area for the dwellers. The small streets have names like 1st Avenue, 6th Avenue and so on, plus 1st main Street running down the middle.
Currently anybody staying here cannot stay overnight during the months of January and February to comply with the 10 month rule. Even though council control has caused friction through the times it is worth noting that planning permission here is stringent in the reverse! The dwelling must be unique and in keeping with the historic quirkiness of the place. It was given conservation status in 1996.
There are now over 300 chalets of all shapes and colours. Some looking their decades of age and some more recent and modern additions. In recent years the council sold The Fitties to a private company.
Humberston Fitties is a couple of miles south down the coast from Cleethorpes, North Lincolnshire. As you will see that became my walk of the day.
From the quietness beauty of The Fitties, along the coast, beach and dunes to Cleethorpes, for lunch, and back.
Humberston Fitties Beach
Before heading onto the beach and front let us talk about parking.
There is a small car park just off Anthony’s bank Road. On warm days get there early as it is not too big. This car park gets you walking straight out onto the beach and dunes within a couple hundred meteres.
The area of golden sand nearest to the car park is the most populated with visitors but head left and right from here the sands become more and more spacious for everyone who wishes to enjoy.
I must say here, please check tide timings before you head out. The tide goes out a long long way, and the sands become vast and incredible to wander and play on. But when the tide comes in, it is fast and comes all the way in so please be careful.
The beach and dunes here is completely dog friendly. In fact you will find plenty of bins along the paths to help discard any poops.
The dogs were in their element. I actually headed south first away from Cleethorpes direction to get a good run around in the dunes done before the walk.
Malc has always loved his dog walks amongst the dunes. It reminded me of how much he loved it over on the west coast at St Annes Dunes.
Pete and Gladys had lots of fun too. Sprinting around, playing hide and seek within the deep grass.
The Sand Forts
As you look out to sea there are two manmade structures rising up out of the water. On a clear day like today they are unmissable.
These are the Humber Forts. For here we are on the bottom edge of the Humber Estuary and during the wars it was an important area for ships to come in and out of.
The forts were actually designed and built for WW1 to protect the shipping. These concrete bunkers in the sea had accommodation for 200 soldiers and fitted with guns.
The larger one further out on the other side of the estuary entrance is Bull Sand Fort. It was so difficult to build it was not operational until December 1918, after that war ended.
The one closes to Humberston in the pic above is Haile Sand Fort which was ready in 1917.
During WW2 they were used heavily and a wire net was laid between them, under the water, to stop German submarines getting into the Humber. Both forts became abandoned by 1956.
Tetney Marsh Nature Reserve
At the bottom end of The Fitties is another little gem, Tetney Marsh Nature Reserve. Dogs respectfully back on their leads I took a little walk around the marshes and natural marsh ponds.
There are great pathways and notice boards all around the reserve and plenty of opportunities for bird watchers to get a glimpse of some great wildlife.
Plenty of geese, ducks, gulls to see. Oystercatchers and redshanks too. I need to come back minus the dogs to catch a whole lot more for sure.
The Meridian Line
So, it was time to head north from The Fritties and walk the golden beaches and marsh pathways to Cleethorpes. As I have said it is only a couple of miles to the Victorian seaside town and plenty on offer there. But getting there on foot in this way was a joy.
Half way along you come across where the Meridian Line passes across the path.
The Greenwich Meridian is a line runs from the North Pole to the South Pole and is set as Longitude 0 degrees. It is used to standardise the time around the globe. It is from this line that time is measured forwards and backwards east and west around the earth.
As it heads North it passes here by Cleethorpes and Humberston and they are proud to say ‘The world revolves around Cleethorpes’.
There is also a signpost here that displays prominent places around the world, their direction and how far away they are. Eg, North Pole 2517 miles. New York 3481 miles and Sydney 10,483 miles.
Alas, after a good lunch in a more bustling Cleethorpes it was time to head the couple of miles back.
More happy running for the dogs, more sea air for me. More sea views for all.
The Humberston Fitties and surrounding coast area, gave me a whole lot more than I was expecting. I saw a lot, I learned a lot, I experienced a lot. And the dogs absolutely loved it. They were shattered.
I look forward to discovering even more along the Lincolnshire coast in future.