Trish Takes Five: Spalding Today columnist Trish Burgess on the heritage trail
Last week I shared the first half of the new Holbeach Discovery Trail.
I left you on the corner of St John’s Street, about to head to Fishpond Lane for the second part of the walk.
Number 8 on the new digital trail is the Nature Reserve. I used to bring my son here in his pushchair when he was little, so he could feed the ducks. I’d forgotten what a lovely spot it is.
Holding my mobile phone against the QR code on the fence, an old map and photo popped up. The reserve was originally old brick pits before being turned into a swimming club in 1895. Hard to imagine locals playing water polo and other aquatic sports here.
The trail continued to Damgate where we were encouraged to imagine one of seven mills that used to stand in Holbeach. In Edinburgh Walk the location of a former chapel is highlighted near the Police Station.
The cemetery, number 11 on the trail, was established in 1849. I’ve written about the cemetery chapels in a previous column. I recommend you pick up separate walking trails here to read fascinating stories of the lives and deaths of those buried here.
We crossed the road and entered Carter’s Park, given to the town by Herbert Carter in 1929. The park has had a number of facilities over the years, including the bowls club and football pitch. Dougie flexed his muscles on the public gym equipment that’s one of the most recent additions.
Park Road is the next stop. I’ve walked past Park Hall hundreds of times and had no idea it was a former theatre, cinema and dance hall. It was also the location of a world record 12 hour piano-playing marathon in 1931.
The circuit began with the Olympic mosaic in the centre of town. It comes full circle at Market Hill, the location of another impressive mosaic. There are more historical revelations about Holbeach’s river which flowed underneath the crossroads. The trail makes a brief detour west to finish in the grounds of the former Stukeley Hall, which is now a primary school.
Dougie and I walked home from here, having spent an excellent morning in our town. I think the 1.5 mile trail is great for all ages. I’m sure kids will enjoy squabbling over who is going to flash the phone at the QR code. The route passes lots of places for refreshments so you can pick up a milkshake, ice cream or pop into a cafe or pub on the way round.
All the information about the Holbeach Discovery Trail can be found on the parish council website. There’s also a large map on Market Hill where the route begins. If you live in the area or just visiting, this is such a novel way to learn about Holbeach.
You can read Trish’s blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk