The Wild Wash Wander expedition

Made up largely of saltmarsh and mudflats, the Wash is a bay on the east coast of England, where Norfolk meets Lincolnshire.

It is one of the largest estuaries in the UK and is fed by the Rivers Witham, Welland, Nene and Great Ouse. A National Nature Reserve, it is one the country’s most important winter feeding areas for birds.

Wash path, between King's Lynn and Sutton Bridge
Wash path, between King’s Lynn and Sutton Bridge

I find myself attracted to The Wash and its littoral.  There’s a lot of space here, room to breathe. It’s an empty quarter of kinds, not many people venture out onto the paths that cut across the marshes and flats.  As a walker-adventurer, one is largely on one’s own.

Sounds enticing eh?

Well, maybe.  Let’s face it, this is not a landscape for the easily bored, there are no valleys, hills or woods in which to frolic.  Not much to break the never-ending straight lines of the horizon.  It goes on and on and on. No, maybe this is not a place for everyone…

So, the aim of the expedition is to walk around the Wash, from King’s Lynn to Skegness.

I won’t try to cover the Norfolk coast side of the Wash as I’ve already hiked this route as part of the Grand Norfolk Hike.

Map of route
Map of route

Proposed stages

  1. King’s Lynn to Sutton Bridge
  2. Sutton Bridge to Fosdyke
  3. Fosdyke to Boston
  4. Boston to Somewhere*
  5. Somewhere to Skegness

*to be determined at a later stage

No particular date to finish the expedition, could be this summer, next year, next decade, never.

Hey Ho! Let’s Go!

15 thoughts on “The Wild Wash Wander expedition

  1. I first started sailing around The Wash. Bought a boat in Peterborough, explored Wisbech to Sutton Bridge. And The Great Ouse to Kings Lynn and out into The Wash. Also The Middle Level to Salters Lode and The River Camb, Littleport, Ely and Cambridge. Which is why I follow your adventures 🙂

      1. A Halcyon 23 bilge keel sailing boat. Things went a lot further in the next decade, a 27′ Folk Dancer to West Africa, but The Wash was as dangerous as anywhere.

        1. Yes, I can imagine The Wash being dangerous, it’s quite shallow. Sailing to West Africa must have been thrilling.

  2. It looks beautiful, Martin but I imagine it might be hard to do stages 2 through 5 if you’re seeing the same scenery as stage 1. Looking forward to more photos!
    BTW ‘Town’ with Nicolas Crane screened her on Friday night featuring Saffron Walden. It mentioned the cathedral there as being very similar to Ely cathedral. It was stunning inside – possibly enough to get me to church on a regular basis 🙂

    1. Hi Melinda, thanks for commenting. I’m going to take my time over this walk to mitigate against any feelings of repetition. Ely cathedral is beautiful, I haven’t seen the one at Saffron Walden, I must go and take a look sometime.

  3. There’s something hypnotic about the ‘marsh-scape’ that reminds me of the horizon at sea. It is both hypnotic and haunting, melancholic and yet strangely uplifting. Perhaps, it’s the way the sky meets the horizon…. I will have to see about exploring part of the Wash at some point soon, eh?!

  4. Dear Martin,
    I so love all your projects! (You’re my kind of walker.) (Also we live very close to each other – in fact I wonder if I’ve seen you out & about . . .) As ever, thanks for a fun blog post. I’m looking forward to lots of your super photos as you walk this one, and expecting many to show the ‘big skies’ of this part of the world. Have fun.

  5. A great project, Martin. I have vague plans for walking across the fens – K.Lynn, Wisbech, Crowland – Stamford – later this year. No fixed route yet though. I have always been fascinated by the fact that the Boston church tower can be seen from the Norfolk side of the Wash on a clear day.

  6. That should be a fairly boring walk; as you say, the scenery is flat and the views limited. But it is actually surprisingly enjoyable, especially if you know about birds (which I do not). It’s also good if you manage to time it to see the bombing range in use.

    Keep an eye our for the two artificial islands in the Wash, the smaller of which you can walk to at low tide.

  7. hi Martin I have been reading your stuff, these are the walks me and my friend are planning, we have walked from kings lynn to hunstanton, (we did this for macmilan. we are walking from kings lynn to Sutton bridge this sunday, (weather permitting) I was just wandering is there any maps available to get me from Sutton bridge to Skegness as its now my intension to try and walk the whole of the wash…

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for dropping by. Hope you enjoy the KL to Sutton Bridge walk and hope the weather is good for you, it is quite exposed out there! You can get OS maps for the rest of the walk up to Skegness and Bing Maps have a good OS layer that makes it easy to plan routes. Let me know how you get on, are you going to blog your walk?

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