River Ancholme
The River Ancholme is a river
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in North Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire is a county in the east of England. It borders Norfolk to the south east, Cambridgeshire to the south, Rutland to the south west, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire to the west, South Yorkshire to the north west, and the East Riding of Yorkshire to the north. It also borders...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, and a tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Humber
The Humber is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England. It is formed at Trent Falls, Faxfleet, by the confluence of the tidal River Ouse and the tidal River Trent. From here to the North Sea, it forms part of the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire on the north bank...

It rises south of Bishopbridge (west of Market Rasen
Market Rasen
Market Rasen is a town and civil parish within the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It lies on the River Rase northeast of Lincoln, east of Gainsborough and southwest of Grimsby. According to the 2001 census, it has a population of 3,200....

) and passes through many Lincolnshire villages and the market town of Brigg before flowing north into the Humber at South Ferriby
South Ferriby
South Ferriby is a village in North Lincolnshire, England situated on the south bank of the Humber Estuary 5 km west of the Humber Bridge and directly opposite North Ferriby on the Estuary’s north bank. It currently has a population of around 600 people.-History:It dates back at least to Roman...


North of Bishopbridge, where the River Rase joins the Ancholme, the river runs in two intertwining channels. In the town of Brigg, the river splits into two, the 'Old River Ancholme', which maintains its natural course through the centre of the town, and the man-made 'New River Ancholme' which flows almost straight through some of the former industrial areas of the town. The two rivers create an 'island' in the centre of Brigg, known as 'Island Carr'.

Today the river is mostly used for recreation, with over 600 boats registered. Responsibility for navigation rests with the Environment Agency
Environment Agency
The Environment Agency is a British non-departmental public body of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and an Assembly Government Sponsored Body of the Welsh Assembly Government that serves England and Wales.-Purpose:...

. The river is large enough to support small barges, and medium-large cabin cruiser
Cabin cruiser
A cabin cruiser is a type of power boat that provides accommodation for its crew and passengers inside the structure of the craft.A cabin cruiser usually ranges in size from in length, with larger pleasure craft usually considered yachts. Many cabin cruisers can be recovered and towed with a...

s. The river is also extremely popular with rowing, kayak and canoe clubs, with 2 nationally known clubs being based in Brigg. The Ancholme Rowing Club is the Rowing Club on the Ancholme, based in Brigg. The waterway is managed by the Environment Agency
Environment Agency
The Environment Agency is a British non-departmental public body of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and an Assembly Government Sponsored Body of the Welsh Assembly Government that serves England and Wales.-Purpose:...

, which requires all vessels on the Ancholme to be registered and in possession of an up to date licence.

The Ancholme boasts a number of marinas, including one in Brigg and another at South Ferriby. Each year numerous events take place on the Ancholme, from kayak races to boat races in custom home-built boats. Throughout the year, the water remains calm and the towpath alongside the river remains busy with pedestrians.


Boats have used the river for many centuries, and it was an important route for transporting cargo from the rural communities to the industrial towns. In the 19th century, a passenger packet boat ran from Brigg to South Ferriby and connected with a steamer to Hull
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull , usually referred to as Hull, is a city and unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It stands on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea. Hull has a resident population of...

. As early as the 13th century local landowners paid subscriptions for work to be undertaken with the aim of facilitating navigation and land drainage. The river's charter is one of the oldest in the country.

In its natural post-glacial state, the river's valley was flat-bottomed, for it had formed the bed of the glacial Lake Ancholme, on an outwash delta as the ice retreated, and consequently fen
A fen is a type of wetland fed by mineral-rich surface water or groundwater. Fens are characterised by their water chemistry, which is neutral or alkaline, with relatively high dissolved mineral levels but few other plant nutrients...

ny. Today, the river still has a distinctly rural character, and the landscape is agricultural.

Lots of steamer vessels used the Ancholme up until the 1980s for transport of cargo to and from the factories along the river bank in Brigg. On Tuesday 4 July 2006 a local history group held a meeting called "The story of the Swift", which was about a barge which worked between Hull docks and the River Ancholme. The vessel was called the "Swift" and is today privately owned and used as a houseboat. The owner of the vessel plans to bring the "Swift" back to Brigg in the near future. In 1635, Owersby
Owersby is a civil parish in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England, located about north west of the town of Market Rasen.The parish includes the villages and hamlets of North Owersby, South Owersby, Thornton le Moor, and North and South Gulham....

-based local landowner, Sir John Monson drained the Ancholme valley by cutting a straight new channel making two rivers at Brigg, which made the town less vulnerable to flooding. The draining of the Ancholme Level was a lesser project among the fenland "improvements"
The Fens
The Fens, also known as the , are a naturally marshy region in eastern England. Most of the fens were drained several centuries ago, resulting in a flat, damp, low-lying agricultural region....

 undertaken under contracts to patentees by the government of Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 in the 1630s; "With the possible exception of the Ancholme Level the draining of the fens was executed and defended by a continuous and unscrupulous use of the power and authority of the royal government to manipulate local institutions and to overawe the local populace." Just before the millennium there were plans to build a marina in the centre of the Brigg, similar to that found in Whitby
Whitby is a seaside town, port and civil parish in the Scarborough borough of North Yorkshire, England. Situated on the east coast of Yorkshire at the mouth of the River Esk, Whitby has a combined maritime, mineral and tourist heritage, and is home to the ruins of Whitby Abbey where Caedmon, the...

. These plans however never went ahead.

Boat trips

Daily boat trips were a common sight on the Ancholme in the Brigg area between 1999 and 2003, and proved to be hugely successful. The services however ended soon after 2003. Many local people, committees and businesses hope to restore these trips in the near future, possibly with the help of The Prince's Trust
The Prince's Trust
The Prince's Trust is a charity in the United Kingdom founded in 1976 by Charles, Prince of Wales to help young people. They run a range of training programmes, provide mentoring support and offer financial grants to build the confidence and motivation of disadvantaged young people...

 charity. Local businesses are also planning to raise money to launch a 'River Taxi' service in the area. It is quite easy for vessels on the Ancholme to exit the river at South Ferriby and enter the Humber. From the Humber, a vessel can access many other major waterways leading to the larger towns of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, as well as to the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...


Troubled Waters (campaign)

Troubled Waters is an ongoing campaign supported by many residents in the town of Brigg
Brigg is a small market town in North Lincolnshire, England, with a population of 5,076 in 2,213 households . The town lies at the junction of the River Ancholme and east-west transport routes across northern Lincolnshire...

. The campaign tries to tackle some of the issues regarding rubbish being thrown in the river, and the obstructions caused by fishermen on the riverbank footpath. The campaign has also highlighted the issues caused by youths along the river bank, such as the destruction and damage of tables, benches, lifebuoys, dustbins and decking, and general vandalism. In recent years, some of these problems seem to have been solved, with improved police patrols along the river bank in the trouble hotspots, and regular cleaning work which is carried out by the local council, as well as local residents on a voluntary basis.

External links

See also

  • Rivers of the United Kingdom
  • Hibaldstow Bridge
    Hibaldstow Bridge
    Hibaldstow Bridge is an iron arch bridge that spans the River Ancholme, near the villages of Hibaldstow, in North Lincolnshire, and North Kelsey, in the West Lindsey district of Lincolnshire. A plaque mounted in the centre of the bridge reads "Erected By JTB Porter & Co...

  • Caistor Canal
    Caistor Canal
    The Caistor Canal was a 4-mile canal in Lincolnshire, England, constructed between 1793 and 1798. It fell into disuse sometime after 1850 and was legally abandoned in 1936. It ran from the River Ancholme, near South Kelsey toward Caistor through six locks, terminating at Moortown, 3.5 miles away...

  • Tiddy Mun
    Tiddy Mun
    Tiddy Mun was a bog spirit worshipped in Lincolnshire, England, who supposedly had the ability to control the waters and mists of the Fens.-Legend:...

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