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Sunday, 9 July 2017

Dawdling up the Derwent.

After passing up the lock, or rather down, as the level of the Derwent was about 2' lower than the tidal level in the Ouse, we were directed to the floating pontoon that was out of sight round the corner. Once moored up we walked back to the control room and signed the form and paid our £12 for the certificate that basically says that you will not discharge sewage into the river. We were soon back to the boat after our chat with Rob at the barrage and after a bite to eat we went for a walk into the village to find a postbox and a pub.

The floating pontoon at Barmby the next morning once we had left as the camera battery was flat last night. There is room for two at a squeeze. We set off about 1000 when a pair of boats turned up at just after 0900 from Selby. I had expected them in the afternoon. One carried on up the river after stopping to pay for their certificate, and the other waited for a day's rest!.

The River Derwent had been navigable since Roman times and in 1702 an Act of Parliament  was passed to provide for improvements for fifty miles up from the River Ouse to the market town of Malton. With the coming of the Railways the Navigation was purchased by the North East Railway and was badly neglected. The right of navigation was rescinded in 1935 but a long battle has been fought for the right to travel to Stamford Bridge. This involved the Courts and the Law Lords in 1991. It seems that Yorkshire Water, who extract water from the river, along with landowners and environmentalists want to deny access, bu the local councils and tourist boards would like to open it. This is also complicated as the lock at Sutton are owned by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the weir by the Environmental Agency and neither will do anything until the other does as they would be each spending money that they don't wish to spend. I'm not sure how long the navigation has been closed beyond the lock at Sutton but after 2008. This is the second Loftsome Bridge. The first was a wooden design that had a swing section to allow the passage of vessels that was built in 1804 and replaced a ferry. The bridge was a toll bridge to pay for the maintenance. This remained in place until the early 1930's when the Hull - Selby A63 road was upgraded.

This cast iron bridge carries the Hull and Selby Railway over the Derwent. The line opened in 1840 and there was a station at Wressle, close by, in 1843.

Just past the railway bridge is Wressle Castle. (In fact you can just see it n the first photo). The building was never a defensive castle but a house of great stature that was built for the great Yorkshire landowners, the Percy family, in the 1390's. All that is left is one side of the building that had four ranges and four towers round a quadrangle in the centre. In 1403 Thomas Percy was beheaded by Henry IV for rebelling against him and he took control of Wressle. By 1471 it was returned to the Percy's until 1537 when it was again taken for the Crown following the Percy's participation in the Pligrimage of Grace following the dissolution of the Monasteries. Henry VIII visited the place three times in 1541. The other three wings were demolished during the Civil War and the remaining wing was devastated by fire in 1796. The site is private and not open to the public.

The views over the flood bank are not great but there is much to keep the interest with the winding river and trees with trapped debris in roots further restricting the width in places.

At Breighton there is a long line of moorings for small cruisers. The pub is called the Breighton Ferry to celebrate the ferry that survived here until the 1930's. Near the village is the airfield where the Real Airplane Company show historic aircraft and have held airshows.  There are no real moorings but you may be able to land on a vacant pontoon and report to the pub.

This is the former bridge for the York and North Midland Railway that was built in 1848. The line connected Driffield to Selby. Bubwith was know as a teasel growing centre to provide for the teasing or combing of wool in the West Yorkshire Mills.

One of the few buildings that gets close to the river are here at Bubwith with a lovely house and gardens overlooking the river and flood plain hard up to the large All Saints Church that was Norman in Origin with parts dating back to about 1200.

Bubwith Bridge replaced a very precarious bridge in 1798 and was a toll bridge until 1936. 10d for twenty Oxen would have caused a bit of a jam I'm thinking. Reading about Bubwith has made me think that I will return there one day as it sounds lovely. There are no obvious places to moor on the river section but there may be rough moorings to be had, but again I'm not sure if it is legal!

The river meanders around with very narrow tree lined parts that makes you concentrate. The bottom never seemed too close to the top and there never seemed to be a problem with weed either.

In other parts, as you pass through sections of the Lower Derwent Valley Nature Reserve the flood banks spread out and you can see more. The Nature Reserve is managed traditionally where the ground nesting birds have reared their young and the wild flowers have set seed the hay crop is taken. In winter the ings are managed by drains into the river and the land then becomes a haven for over 40,000 over wintering birds. Just another reason to come back.

Luckily there is only one 'tributary' of the Derwent, The Pocklington Canal, as I didn't see any indication that this was the turn to the right. Helen says there was some sort of a sign. We had heard that there was another boat ahead of us somewhere and this may well be it rough moored just in the junction.

The feeling that we had gone the wrong way was further enhanced as the cut seemed to get narrower and more shallow. I wondered if we would find a lock at all!

But round another bend there it was. There was even another boat just going up in it. It was the second boat that had arrived at Barmby this morning and had carried on about an hour ahead of us. The lock landings are short but the lock was easily worked with padlocks on opened by the C&RT key. The rise was about 4 ft. The lock was plenty long enough for our almost 59' length plus fenders. 

So that was another river navigation traveled. It is just a shame that we aren't able to get to Stamford Bridge. It was a feeling like on the Driffield Navigation, that we haven't really completed it. However unlike the Driffield navigation, which entails a trip down the Humber, there is much more likelihood of us returning if it ever does re-open.

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