A Summer’s Day

Much of Lindsey faces the grey waters of the North Sea, which being shallow cools down appreciably in winter but only heats up slowly in Spring. When it is sunny with little wind and the sea is still cold fog banks can readily form and drift inland as mist or low clouds when a sea breeze develops. This is known locally as a sea fret and can happen any time between April and August but is most likely in June when the contrast between sea and land temperatures are most pronounced. (See Tetford Hill & Village Blog.)

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A misty early morning on the Wolds.

On the 16th June I set out early for Horncastle with jobs to do there. Overnight a sea fret had drifted inland  causing it to be grey and cool. The low cloud brushed the high ground of the Wolds making it misty as I drove over the tops. It was even grey inland when reaching Horncastle but by 11 am the sky started to brighten. By 1 pm it had become warm and sunny with no wind and by 3 pm the temperature peaked at 22 degrees celsius. By late afternoon and with my chores completed I made ready to set off home and checked the Metoffice website which showed thundery showers developing inland, especially over the Midlands, and the sea fret was still hugging the coast. In between was a strip of sunshine that followed the line of the Wolds.

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Asgarby. Storm clouds build further inland.

Partly due to road closures I chose to leave Horncastle by the Skegness road (A 158) then having climbed onto the Wolds turned off onto the B1195. After passing Snipe Dales nature reserve {NR) I turned off to head for the hilltop hamlet of Asgarby. The reason for this was that the sunny clear air would enable me to enjoy the distant views open to the southwest over the Fens and inland across the Witham valley. Arriving at 3.45 pm there was a light breeze which freshened the air and the view revealed large thunder clouds developing inland. These would drift slowly inland producing heavy rain over Lincoln and across the River Trent later in the day. 

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The ancient church of St. Peter’s Lusby.

Making the most of the lovely weather I then chose to drive down to Furze Hill NR near Hagworthingham to take a walk along the stream. From the hundred metre high Asgarby ridge the narrow lane passes through Lusby with its squat thousand year old church built of rough hewn sandstone blocks and then descends steeply along a narrow sunken hollow way. Where the lane crosses the stream by way of a ford there are two paths. One leads upstream to the extensive Snipe Dales NR and country park and in the opposite direction another allows you to enter the smaller Furze Hill NR. From this reserve paths also lead up to the hillside village of Hagworthingham offering a number of options for pleasant strolls through this sheltered leafy valley. A further attraction of this pretty stream side reserve is to maintain and improve floristic diversity it is sometimes grazed by ponies.

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The narrow lane between Lusby & Hagworthingham.

The weather was warm and sunny here and the air remained still  but the contrast in temperatures between the cloudy coast and the building heat inland had triggered a stiffening sea breeze to begin to pick up on the Wold tops. This became apparent to me after my walk when crossing over the A158 that follows the line of the ridge through Hagworthingham. Descending on its far side towards Stockwith Mill gave me a clear view to the northeast. This was at 4.20 pm and directly ahead I could see the breeze was bringing with it low clouds off the sea that was already passing over Brinkhill Rigg. Through the relative warmth and shelter of Lower Lymndale I drove up and then along this prominent ridge that overlooks the village of Brinkhill. After leaving the bright sunshine behind it felt dark and dull with visibility greatly reduced. The temperature had suddenly dropped too with my car registering just 15 degrees Celsius on reaching Ulceby Cross. (See Green Hill Blog.)

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Furze Hill Nature Reserve.

By 5 pm I had reached Calceby where there is a view southwest up the valley of Calceby Beck and it was apparent that the low clouds had now stretched inland across the Wolds with only a hint of brighter skies along the distant western horizon. By this time further west on the other side of the county the large thundercloud, earlier observed from Asgarby, was now causing it to rain heavily around the Lincoln area. 

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Near Stockwith Mill. Low clouds drifting inland.

The dull conditions would remain for the rest of the journey and the rest of the day. Later I read on the Metoffice website that Donna Nook had been the coldest place in Britain that day. The temperature had only reached 13.5 degrees C. with this exposed coastal outpost shrouded in mist all day. In the Midlands meanwhile there had been heavy slow moving thunderstorms with Market Bosworth just west of Leicester recording 50mm (two inches) of rain making it the wettest place in Britain on this day of extreme contrasts. Other Metoffice information revealed that at 3 pm the temperature at Coningsby had peaked at 22 degrees Celsius with barely any wind and a relative humidity of just 58%  while at the same time Donna Nook just 48 kilometres (30 miles) to the north east was nine degrees colder with humidity at nearly 100% and a raw sea breeze making it feel still colder.

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Calceby. By 5 pm mist & low cloud shrouds the Wolds.

Eventually the sea off the Lindsey coast does warm up so that by harvest time and the school holidays the sea frets have become rare although sea breezes remain to keep the weather bracing even when there may be a heatwave inland. By autumn though with the sea retaining the heat gained in summer and prevailing westerly winds returning the east coast benefits from its proximity to the North Sea with frost and fog less frequent than inland right to the end of the year. After this however when the westerlies give way to northerlies later in winter frequent snow showers produced by cold air picking up moisture off the sea sweep inland. This snow does not normally last long on the coast but can linger on high ground with deep drifts sometimes remaining in the lee of hedges for days along the high ridges of the Wolds. Spring can be late coming to these exposed tops compared with  the Tennyson villages where the young poet grew up under these Wold ridges, sheltered by belts of trees and standing on warm sandy soil.  (See Somersby & Bag Enderby Blog.)  

 

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