Far Ings

The Lincolnshire side of the Humber estuary suffered severe flooding, as the Humber bank was overtopped. North Lincolnshire regional warden Lionel Grooby describes the immediate impact:

The situation was particularly bad at Far Ings Nature Reserve, and North Lincs regional warden Lionel Grooby, of the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, commented:

"Our reedbeds and claypits are of national importance but have now been inundated with brackish water which has risen the water level of the pits of between 0.5 and 1.5 metres. This together with the amount of silt will chemically change the quality of the freshwater, which is a threat to fish and invertebrates. This will now doubt have a knock-on effect on our birdlife.

The water is already being monitored and will continue to be so and it remains to be seen what the long-term effect will be.

The water is already being monitored and will continue to be so and it remains to be seen what the long-term effect will be. It could take up to two years for the freshwater areas to desalinate. On a positive note, the reedbeds and pits have been flushed out by the surge and a lot of litter/debris has been washed away, plus a number of nutrients will have entered the equation. The water areas to the west of the reserve were extremely low before the surge hence no flooding in that area and...they will remain full so by next spring they will be off to a good start. We must also remember to keep the faith that Nature will fight back and the balance will be redressed over time."

The Humber Bank itself was been eroded on the landward side. The public right of way on the Humber Bank was been closed by North Lincolnshire Council due to the severity of the damage (following repairs, the bank re-opened in July 2014).

Within the nature reserve many paths and tracks were damaged including the access track to the visitor centre.

The Far Ings visitor centre suffered minor flooding which was initially cleaned up by a dedicated team of volunteers. However, after further investigation, the damage caused by the saltwater was discovered to be more severe. The visitor centre and the access road were closed. 

Fortunately Ness End Farm (the North Lincolnshire management base for the Trust and former visitor centre) did not flood. The car park and facilities were opened temporarily at Ness End Farm including toilets and a small shop. 

The pits at Far Ings appear to be recovering well from the inundation, the salinity has fallen quickly and there is no evidence of high fish mortality.

Other nature reserves along the Humber Bank were also affected. Barrow Haven Reedbed was topped up by two feet of brackish Humber water. At Fairfield Pit the water was level with the car park, the tern raft has disappeared and the drain was submerged. This Pit has, historically, been the one most prone to saline intrusion.  

Far Ings National Nature Reserve