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Lincolnshire Wash
6 – 10 June 2022 *

Three days in the field on the Lincolnshire coast

* Suggested arrangement is to arrive on the Monday (6 June) with three days in the field 7-9 June. Participants might depart on the Friday morning (10 June) though could have an additional morning in the field, e.g. a return to Frampton Marsh, especially if you don’t have too far to travel.

This new break is open for bookings.

The Wash is the biggest single estuary in Britain and consistently the most important estuary for birds. The Wash is split between Lincolnshire and Norfolk and though the Norfolk side has had a higher profile, there are rising stars on the Lincolnshire side where there is lots to see – and with stories to tell.


Monday 6 June: arrival.

Tuesday 7 June: the RSPB’s Frampton Marsh nature reserve sits inside the sea wall, beyond which is one of Wash’s biggest blocks of saltmarsh. Where once the Wash graded into the fresh marshes of the Fens, land reclamation turned huge areas into farmland. Now the process is being reversed, with Frampton Marsh an impressive nature reserve created on former arable land. The driver for this is replacing freshwater habitats being lost to coastal change, linked to the warming change.

The outcome is a large freshwater wetland, a mixture of grazing marsh, lagoons and reedbeds. It ’s already the go-to place for birdwatchers in the East Midlands. The grazing marsh is managed for breeding waders, notably lapwings, redshanks and oystercatchers. The lagoons make for easy birdwatching on the edge of the vast Wash, with a lengthy list of rarities – waders especially – calling in here. There ’s a visitor centre and 3km of accessible footpaths as well as some impressive public art installations.

Expect to see avocets, marsh harriers, egrets and a good range of waders.

Frampton Marsh
Frampton Marsh by & © Andy Mabbett (Wikipedia), CC by-sa 3.0

Wednesday 8 June: Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve is on the northern tip of the Wash. It’s managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, and there is a bird observatory for ringing and migration studies within the NNR as well as a visitor centre. Breeding birds include little tern, shelduck, ringed plover and oystercatcher.

The extensive areas of coastal dunes make ‘Gib’ very different from the other Wash nature reserves. The foreshore has plants like sea-rocket and elsewhere in the dunes, which are dominated by marram grass, there is sea-holly, sea bindweed and sea campion. Sea-buckthorn dominates some areas and lime-rich areas have pyramidal orchids.

Gibraltar Point
AlastairG (Wikipedia) / Dunes and saltmarsh at Gibraltar Point / CC BY-SA 2.0

Thursday 9 June: Boston, Wash cruise and Freiston Shore. We will start off in the middle of Boston where, we hope, the peregrines that have nested on Boston Stump (the local name for St Botolph’s Church) since 2013 will put on a display.

Then we take a Wash 'seal and birdwatching cruise' on aboard the Boston Belle, sailing into The Wash and River Welland, departing from and returning to Boston’s Sluice Bridge Lock (subject to availability). These popular cruises have been run by RSPB volunteers for many years and are a good way to get close to the Wash’s wildlife and habitats from the seaward side. The cruise lasts 4½-5 hours and is included in your holiday price.

We will then make our way to the RSPBs Freiston Shore reserve, which is very different in character to Frampton. It was the last land claim of saltmarsh on The Wash and for many years was farmed by prisoners at HMP North Sea Camp. The old sea wall deteriorated and when the Environment Agency built a new sea defence farther back, the old creek system was reinstated, the outer sea wall was breached and, through this, 66 hectares of coastal farmland was returned to tidal saltmarsh.

A lagoon has avocets and you can expect to see ringed plovers, redshanks and shelducks here. On adjacent land, sheep fields and arable land have been converted into a wet grassland for breeding waders and winter wildfowl. Tree sparrows are often seen nearby.

Friday 10 June: depart, with optional return visit to RSPB Frampton Marsh.

Freiston Shore
Freiston Shore, RSPB reserve by Alan Heardman, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Hotel & meals

Accommodation will be at The Old King's Head in Kirton. Booking: contact The Old King's Head directly on 01205 337770 or enquiries@theoldkingshead.com and mention Honeyguide when booking.

Evening meals: at present, The Old King's Head is not open in the evenings for meals. The Kirton Cottage, The Black Bull and Everest Indian are all within walking distance of The Old King's Head for evening meals.

Lunches: some sites we will be visiting have visitor centres with cafés for lunch, toilet facilities & shop, or we'll find a shop for buying packed lunches. The Old King's Head can supply packed lunches (and takeaway breakfasts!), if booked in advance.

Holiday details & how to book

Step 1: tell us you wish to come. Step 2: book a room at the hotel.

No Honeyguide booking form is needed. Just keep us informed!

Days/dates: the dates above are three days in the field, Tuesday to Thursday. We expect most people to have four nights at The Old King's Head, to arrive on the Monday and leave some time on Friday. If anyone would like to extend their stay that may well be possible.

Hotel cost: depends on the choice of room. Rates for rooms can be emailed, along with the special arrangements for Honeyguiders.

Price: £100 per day fee for your guide (including guide's expenses, Wash cruise and conservation contribution).

Deposit: none to Honeyguide. You will be invoiced after the break.

Local travel: in your car, or in Rob's vehicle, or car sharing by mutual consent. No minibus is being booked.

Maximum number (one guide): 8 plus guide, minimum 3.

Conservation project

£40 per person will be donated to the RSPB for Frampton Marsh nature reserve.

Lincolnshure Wash map

Kelisi at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Rob Lucking

Rob Lucking, Honeyguide local leader for this break.

Rob Lucking lives in a small village near Fakenham in North Norfolk and worked for the RSPB for 23 years, latterly as the Area Manager for North Norfolk, Lincolnshire & The Brecks.

Rob has led and co-led wildlife holidays for Honeyguide to Lesvos and Crete and is now a freelance ornithologist, ecologist, horticulturalist and tour guide. 

Rob is a trustee (Council member) of Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Photos on this page are by Rob Lucking and Chris Durdin or as noted.

Rob's Honeyguide holiday reports for Lesvos in April 2009 and September 2010 (for interest and fun!)

Little tern

Little tern (Kevin Simmonds)


Redshank Christoph Müller, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Boston Stump

Boston Stump (St Botolph’s Church)
By BardofL - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Little egret (Rob Carr)

Little egret (Rob Carr)

sea holly

Sea holly

Pyramidal orchid
Pyramidal orchid

Reports and blogs

A selection of Honeyguide breaks and walks led by Rob Lucking

North Norfolk break Holiday report, October 2021.

North Norfolk break Holiday report, May 2021.

Guided walks with Rob, on the Honeyguide blogspot:

Holkham, 17 January 2022. 

Snettisham and Dersingham, 13 September 2021. 

West Runton and Beeston Common, 23 June 2021.

Kelling Heath and water meadows, 5 May 2021.

Burnham Norton and Holkham 16 Aoril 2021.

Wells, 1 April 2021 

The Old King's Head, Kirton

The Old King's Head

"The Old King’s Head is a unique 16th-century grade II listed building situated in Kirton, a rural village near Boston in Lincolnshire.

"This former inn, pub, hotel and family home has been at the heart of Kirton for over 400 years and is a rare example of the Fenland Artisan Mannerist style – a building technique which reveals a unique history of the ebb and flow of Britain's people.

"Heritage Lincolnshire, the Buildings Preservation Trust for the county, came to the building's rescue in 2016 as the building stood proud, but vulnerable to irreparable damage.

"Through fundraising and grants the Trust raised enough money to purchase the building and carry out the extensive restoration works that have been ongoing since February 2019.  The building now fully restored and transformed into a 9 bedroom B&B."

Customer protection

Honeyguide normally offers customer protection through our Air Travel Operator's Licence (see our ATOL page). There are no flights so that doesn't apply.

Your accommodation contract is with the hotel and with only guiding provided by Honeyguide, there is no holiday 'package'.

Create your own Eastern England break

Variations on the theme of this, our North Norfolk break and our Norfolk break in the Broads area could be possible.

We are in the market for ideas for what Honeyguiders would like to do.

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Atol protected

The air holidays shown are ATOL Protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is ATOL 3253. ATOL Protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom. Click on the ATOL logo if you want to know more.

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