Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cycling the Water Rail Way (The long haul back) part 5 Boston at last

Thursday, 1st August 2013: I forgot to mention in Part 4 I did stop before Kiksteard, at a pub along the way in Southrey, for a pint of diet coke and an ice cream. I would have preferred a beer but felt that on such a hot day it would have impacted my cycling speed and I was slow enough as it was. It was the Riverside Inn and it was so hot that I couldn’t eat my ice cream quick enough before the last bit fell of the stick.

So now I have cleared that up – back to the ride – in the last post I had finally arrived at Kirkstead Bridge, with the distance board reporting that I was almost half way back. I had cycled 16 miles (from Lincoln) and there were 17 miles to get to Boston. The next 13 miles was on country lanes and roads though.

The first bit was ok, as you follow the River Witham on Witham Bank. Which provides a view and the road wiggles a bit. It helps take your mind of the wind blowing against you!  You also pass one or two visual milestones that help to break up the journey, with Tattershall Bridge (with an old and a new bridge) being one of the first along the way.)

Then comes Dogdyke and Chapel Hill followed by what seemed to be miles of straight country lane through to Langrick Bridge. It is only 8KM/5 miles between Chapel Hill and the bend  in the road to Langrick Bridge – it seemed like double that distance. It must have been a combination of the straight, featureless road, the moderately strong wind and the merciless sun beating down on me. (Alright a bit of artistic licence). Fortunately I did have something to drink although that was tepid.

Here are the Disused Stations links for Tattershall Station and Dogdyke and Langrick.

Reaching Langrick Bridge was marvellous, it was like getting a new pair of legs. The last stretch of my journey was underway, all of which would be on a shared-use path (except for my meandering around Boston to find my car.)

Apparently fishing was a big thing in the 40s and 50s and could see up to 800 (yes eight hundred) anglers turn up on a Summer Sunday. The Ferry Boat Inn was well-known to Anglers throughout the Midlands.

As you might expect some form of artwork exists – The Brook by Griffin Memorials. The fish are a trout and Grayling and the lines are from The Brook by Tennyson. You can see it being carved here (pdf).

The Brook – Griffin Memorials – Water Rail Way

I am not sure whether I have stuck my pictures into this post out of order or whether they have been moved around since the various maps were published. They differ though.

This is Dark Leaves by Mick Burns according to the guide to the route and artworks, however on the carver’s website is it called the Gardner's Daughter. The piece also doubles as a seat for weary travellers. The piece was inspired by the Tennyson line from The Gardner’s Daughter

“And sitting muffled in the dark leaves. you hear the windy clanging of the minster clock”

The Gardner's Daughter or Dark Leaves – Water Rail Way

A welcome sight and visible for miles – The Stump – St Botolph’s Church Boston. According to  Wikipedia the tower is the 14th tallest in England.

The Stump – Boston – Water Rail Way

Another seat/carving  - Love and Lost by Mick Burns.  The artist and Sustrans seem to agree on this one. The Tennyson poem – In Memoriam A.H.H, the lines from the poem

'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

Love and Lost by Mick Burns – Water Rail Way

As you get closer to Boston there is also a small viewing tower you can climb up.  The tower reaches over the Water rail Way path. This is the view looking back. It is called The Boston Pendulum.  The final version looks a little different from some of the Architect’s designs.

View of the Water Rail Way from the Boston Pendulum

This is the view looking away from the river – I think it is Witham Marsh Farm. If in doubt I do a Google Image Search which means I can scan lots of images for something similar – this.

Witham Marsh Farm seen from the Boston Pendulum -  Water Rail Way

As you get much closer to Boston there are loads of boats moored. The Stump is also visible.

The Boston Stump – Water Rail Way

It was a hot day – kids were playing in the River Witham.

Kids playing in the River Witham, Boston

And finally the Stump – so large I couldn’t quite fit it in. Also it isn’t really bent – I was took close and using a wide-angle lens at its extreme.

The Boston Stump – not really leaning

The river wiggles around Boston before getting to the sea. As it happens so did I trying to find my way to the railway station.  My advice is don’t use a mix of pedestrian signs and road signs – you get in a mess – well I did anyway.

All in all my distance cycled was 116Km/ 72.5 miles. It was delightful – despite my moaning about the last stretch. It does take a bit of time admiring the various works of art along the way though. My speed chart logged by my GPS shows a pretty reasonable continuous ride out and then a slower and heavily spiked (every time I stopped) journey back.  It took me two and a half hours to get there and three and a half hours to get back. That does include my stops as well though.

I would definitely recommend this for a very pleasant and interesting ride – although check the wind direction first.  It would also make a rather pleasant cycle one way, train the other way type of ride as well. The train takes around one hour to one hour 45 minutes to get from Lincoln to Boston – with one change (Sleaford).


To recap the one-way distance is around 35miles/ 56Km and it is flat. There are alternate routes at Bardney/Southrey – so I used one going up and the other coming back. Here is the Bike Route Toaster Link. The route is flat, there are places to get refreshments along the way, but I would recommend taking something to drink.

Both Lincoln and Boston have stations – although Boston is a little bit off the beaten (railway) track.

Boston to Lincoln


  1. Swaffham Bulbeck CyclistSeptember 4, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Looks like a brilliant ride and some great inspiration to explore new terrain. One idea- I wonder about getting the train to Lincoln from Cambridge or Ely and then riding all the way along your route to Boston but then continuing on to King's Lynn to get the train back from there? Certainly would be a full day but a lovely ride, as long as you avoid the awful A17 of course.

    Also, there have been some test runs of a new ferry between Skegness and Hunstanton using an amphibious vehicle - could open up a few more opportunities (Lincoln-Skegness-Hunstanton- Lynn) if it gets the go ahead for next spring. Time for some route planning! There's more here...

  2. I have cycled NCN1 from Boston to Cambridge and the route from Boston to King's Lynn was a pleasant one. Although there are places where it does seem to meander. A quick plot of the route suggests that the NCN1 distance from Boston to King's Lynn is 94Km, but I reckon. A more direct route, avoiding Wisbech, but still taking country lanes is around 64Km.

    I tried to get the router (Bike Route Toaster) to use the ferry in King's Lynn - but it wouldn't. But that would be rather nice. I think they take bicycles. (They are also getting an amphibious craft apparently.)

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