RV at TF344159 map sheet 131.
Walking from the Nene Estuary car park at TF494255 to the RV point at Shell Bridge.
Distance about 12 miles (20km).
Start Map (42k) Overview Map (116k) End Map (43k) Sketch Map (33k) next
This is the start and first leg of the Alternative Coast to Coast. The landscape on the flat Fenland country can be bleak and wind swept at the start and end of the year. There is very little cover from rain or wind, so be prepared!
The RV at Shell Bridge is pitched right on a sharp corner on the B1168, so take care when slowing and manoevering near the RV point. However there is a track that runs off the road, down to the South Holland drain, and providing it is not too wet cars can be parked there. The start point at the Nene Estuary car park has adequate parking, and a short walk seaward will bring you to the lovely little house from where the late great Peter Scott did many of his TV programmes.
Leg one is probably the easiest of all the legs to navigate; the first part is simply walking back along the metalled road from the start point to Sutton Bridge, and on the right you will see the small flotilla of fishing boats and the sole pilots cutter. When you reach the bridge that carries the A17 across the Nene turn right over the bridge and continue to follow the river, but now on the other bank.
After about a kilometre you come upon the sluice where the South Holland main drain joins the Nene. It is here that you turn and head almost due West as you join the Drains footpath running as it does on the North side.
At about six kilometres the drain doglegs first to the north and then West again up to Foremans Bridge (TF409198). After crossing the bridge you need to move over to the South side of the drain and continue to follow the footpath all the way to Shell Bridge and your car.