Walk the England Coast Path – Sutton Bridge to Skegness via Boston
Distance: 92.7 km
Ascent: 80 m
Time: 3 days
Start and Finish: Sutton Bridge to Skegness via Boston
Shops and pubs in Sutton Bridge. The Rising Sun isn’t far off the path at Gedney Drove End. The Ship Inn, Fosdyke Bridge is also convenient for the first section (not accommodation).
Plenty available in Boston, with Plummer’s Hotel in Freiston Shore offering overnight accommodation with nothing on the entire stretch to Skegness.
Keep an eye out for:
Skegness has a railway station where you can catch a train to Boston but pubic transport then becomes a little sparse.
Beaches and Places to see:
England Coast Path Guidebooks:
Businesses on this section of the England Coast Path:
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Walk the England Coast Path – Sutton Bridge to Skegness via Boston Details
The England Coast Path from Sutton Bridge to Skegness is currently under development. Much of the section from Sutton Bridge to Boston can be followed along current right of ways, which include the established Sir Peter Scott Walk and the Millennium Way into Boston.
However, the section from Boston to Skegness is largely along newly created access.
With the route being around 90km in length, the best way to split this down is into three roughly equal sections. Starting from Sutton Bridge to Fosdyke, from Fosdyke to Frieston Shore and then on to Skegness. There’s no public transport on the initial sections, but there are trains from Boston to Skegness, which provides some options. You’ll need to organise local accommodation, or in the case of Freiston Shore you can order a taxi into Boston without breaking the bank. Splitting the route at Boston is the easiest logistically, but involves two epic days of around 50 and 40km. Considering how flat the route is, that’s not as bad as it seems, but would probably be too far for most to consider.
Note that the map below is purely indicative of the route and does not imply any access rights.
Walk the England Coast Path – Sutton Bridge to Skegness via Boston Route Map and GPX Download
Sutton Bridge to Fosdyke Bridge
Setting off from Sutton Bridge, a small port on the A17 close to both the Norfolk and Cambridgeshire border, the route is long but without fail quite flat. Sea embankments dominate the walk, with salt marsh towards the sea and flat farmland landward which is all reclaimed from the sea. From Sutton Bridge the coastal path heads along the River Nene towards the shores of the Wash once more. Along the way, you’ll pass two lighthouses – with the Guy’s Head lighthouse on this shore (and the Sir Peter Scott Lighthouse on the east shore) which are now far inland but marked what was once the coastline before the land was reclaimed. The route continues in much the same vein along the sea wall, remote and quiet with the exception of the Holbeach bombing range which the route passes, before heading far inland along the River Welland to Fosdyke Bridge.
Fosdyke Bridge to Boston
From the former port at Fosdyke Bridge, the England Coast Path again returns to The Wash along the embankments. This section follows the Macmillan Way, and is an established route. Try and see how soon you can see the Boston Stump, or St Botolph’s church, which is visible from a considerable distance. After endless embankments, you’ll arrive at the The Haven, the estuary of the River Witham. The route into Boston along here isn’t the most salubrious, with warehouses and a landfill, but the large ships that ply their way across the North Sea to Boston add some interest. The route enters Boston via London Road, a road lined with numerous historic Georgian buildings that point to a more affluent past. Many are converted into flats, and some were falling into decay including the home of Thomas Garfit JP, founder of the 1st bank in Boston in 1754. This was for many years an eyesore, but has recently been saved by Heritage Lincolnshire. Anyone with an interest in buildings of that era will be spoilt here.
The official route is set to cross the Haven along the through pass (one of those failed ideas from the 1970s and 80s, the building of which bulldozed numerous historic buildings) and back out along the Haven. You should enter the town along here instead, with an opportunity to visit The Stump and the fine marketplace.
Boston to Skegness
The final stretch along the Wash is again a remote walk. Once out of Boston, the route reaches Freiston Shore and it’s historic Plummer’s Hotel. You would be forgiven for wondering why there’s a hotel at this point, but at one point this was a seaside resort complete with sandy shores. That all changed in the 19th century as the fens were drained and the beach was replaced by salt marsh. Despite this, it was still popular with locals as recently as the 1960s and known as the poor man’s Skeggy, the blog linked to providing a fascinating account of this bygone era. Today, it’s bird watchers who visit Freiston Shore, and presumably with the completion of the England Coast Path, walkers will help keep the local economy going. Near Freiston Shore you might spot sections which were once reclaimed from the sea, but are now being allowed to flood. This is managed realignment of the coastline and helps improve the habitat for wildlife and reduces coastal erosion by creating a buffer zone, maybe the sandy beaches will return once day?
There are absolutely no facilities from here until you reach the Gibraltar Point Visitor Centre. If you are looking to reduce the section into two, you can divert inland towards one of the villages along the A52 if you absolutely must, but would make an already hefty walk even longer if you think you can just divert to find a spot of lunch. You’re on your own. There will be plenty of choice once you arrive at sunny Skeg to make up for it.