A brief history of Far Ings

Target Lake at Far Ings / Barrie Wilkinson

For centuries the thick layer of clay which borders the Humber estuary has been used to make tiles, bricks and cement. The tile yards were abandoned in the 1950s, leaving the pits to fill naturally with water.

"Ings" is an old English word for the wet pastures to the west of Barton which, before embankment, were part of the Humber flood plain. Since Roman times the underlying clay has been used to make bricks and tiles.

In the late 19th century there were 15 brick and tile yards; hundreds of men were employed to dig the clay by hand. There was also a cement works which made use of the clay. Supplies of clay began to run out during the early 20th century when many yards were abandoned.

The clay workings soon filled with water and were colonised by reed and willow, forming a haven for many wildflowers, insects and birds. In 1983 the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust acquired the 100 acres of old pits which now form the Far Ings Nature Reserve.

In the 1980s the reeds in the old clay pits were thick and dense. The booming call of the bittern was just a dream. Over the years the Trust has developed the techniques of reedbed management to dramatic effect. Bitterns, kingfishers, water voles and an array of other wildlife can now be seen at Far Ings.