Dogdyke Steam Drainage Station
Dogdyke Steam Drainage Station
Sunday Ride to Dogdyke Steam Drainage Station, June 2nd 2019
After a bit of a non-starter last week, there was good support for today's ride to one of the club's favourite destinations and a visit to the Dogdyke Steam Drainage Station Open and Running Day. Rob Cook and John Ambler had sent their apologies and Chris and Ying Owen had arranged to meet up with the group in Woodhall Spa. Meeting up at Horncastle were Ride Leader Tim Newbery, Rob Whitworth, Bernie Hobill, Alan Hockham and a welcome appearance of Barry Jordan.
Initially following the Spa Trail, good progress was made along the first leg to Woodhall Spa. A pleasant route in warm and sunny Summer weather and with surprisingly few people using the shared multi user path. We might investigate the Viking Way by the side of the golf course for a future occasion but for now followed a route along the B1191 into the town centre. All was very busy due to the running of the Woodhall Spa 10k Community Road Race and plenty of cyclists too, transiting through on a sportive. We met up with Chris and Ying who advised that Jubilee Park would be crowded so instead decided on taking refreshments at Woodlands Cafe. A good decision as the bacon and sausage sandwiches would have passed John Ambler's stringent test and the tea cakes (large and small) were very tasty.
Departing Woodhall Spa we soon bade farewell to Chris and Ying (Ying's smile is always lovely to see and cheers us up) and just before the road race organisers closed the road out of Woodhall Spa, made our way to Stixwold, Bucknall to join up with the Water Rail Way Sustrans route at Southrey.
Following the River Witham in the sunshine and on an amazingly quiet track was a joy, and we continued the riverside route along Sustrans NCN 1 having safely negotiated Kirkstead Bridge. The track leading to the pumping station, whilst short is admittedly quite rough but we arrived exactly on schedule at 12.30 pm. The club have been here over several consecutive years and we always get a warm welcome. The home-made cakes (made with the flour produced at Maud Foster Windmill) are well worth the visit alone.
The drainage of the 2,500 acres of land around Tattershall was authorised in 1796 and the first pump was soon installed at Dogdyke with a wooden scoop wheel being driven by a small windmill. The mill came under the control of the Witham Third District commissioners in 1844 and a more powerful steam driven pump was installed in 1856. This is the engine which is still working today, built by Bradley and Craven in Wakefield. The ornate cast iron balustrade around the beam engine we were told was probably straight out of a catologue from Coalbridge. The steam engine was later replaced in 1940 by a Lincoln built Ruston and Hornsby diesel engine driving a Gynenes pump.
A fascinating visit and we left enthused with Barry taking home a bar of soap won in the Tombola (and with Tim carrying mint and asparagus for Bernie).
Only a few miles to a short stop at the Ebrington Arms at Kirkby on Bain, where we sheltered form a sudden downpour and on John Ambler's behalf sampled a glass of fine ale. Finally refreshed and with only a few spots of rain we continued our journey through Wood Enderby and into the historic Scrivelsby Court complete with deer park.
Scrivelsby Manor, shortly after conquest was given to Robert Marmion on condition he accept the office of 'King's Champion'. The Marmions had historically been Champions to the Dukes of Normandy and Henry I. The duty of the Champion was to ride armed into the coronation banquet at Westminster Hall and challenge anyone who doubted the monarch's right to the throne. The Champion would throw down his gauntlet to prove he would fight to the death anyone who dared to challenge. The custom was abandoned after the coronation of George IV in 1821!
The ford at Manor Farm was perhaps deeper than Tim had imagined and he got a very wet foot! Not surprisingly Barry, Bernie and Rob opted for the footbridge. Alan had previously, somehow escaped fine and dry having ridden through the ford.
Continuing north and after a short section of the busy A153 we finished the ride by riding along the banks of the River Bain into Horncastle and the Swimming Pool. Skies by now were darkening and foreboding and the rain soon started in earnest. We had timed our arrival perfectly. 39 miles covered and many thanks to all for their company.