West Deeping to Tallington #RunMyAge

During January 2021, I am participating in Age UK’s ‘Run Your Age’ event by running a total of 51km. It would be great if you would SPONSOR ME to raise funds to support older people across the UK!

Today, 2nd Jan, I ran from West Deeping to Tallington and back. The wiggly route I chose was 8km bringing the total so far to 13km.

Today, 2nd Jan, I ran from West Deeping to Tallington and back. The wiggly route I chose was 8km bringing the total so far to 13km.

After the ‘brisk warm up walk’ that the C25K commentator always used to rave about, I started running from the Roman Road of King Street which forms the main street through West Deeping.

I followed the footpath which runs behind the pub and then splits; I followed the left fork which leads toward the Tallington. Meeting a couple of dogs, and their owners, along the way, I soon spotted the incongrous dry ski slope – you don’t get many of those on the edge of the fens! A little bit further and I arrived at the Whistle Stop PH next to the notorious Tallington level crossing.

Most of Tallington village is on the other side of the level crossing and after a few hundred yards I was able to follow a footpath next to the former post office which leads through to a well-equipped playground and onto a section of the Stamford canal. The canal was the first post-Roman navigation in the UK and was designed to take shipping from Stamford, through the Deepings and out to the sea at Spalding. It took over a hundred years to complete, leaving just a little bit of time for operations before being made irrelevant by the railway revolution. The sections in Tallington are well marked but mostly dry.

At the end of the village is the church of St Lawrence of Rome. It has closed due to Covid each time I have visited but a good description is here. In the porch there are some hints for how to be effective in worship, which have aged well.

Last time I ran this way I bumped into Parish Councillor Ken Otter a long-time campaigner for an alternative to Tallington Crossing. During 2020, Tallington Parish Council had published a proposal for a Stamford East-West bypass which would include a bridge over the railway which would reduce the current congestion and traffic in the village caused by the level crossing which is sometimes closed for more than 50 minutes in the hour! The route would also ease congestion in Stamford by providing an alternative route for vehicles heading from our direction onto the A1.

Stamford North Bypass
A Stamford bypass proposal presented by Tallington PC.

After a brief pause at the church I headed back to the Tallington crossing which, as per usual, had just closed. As a pedestrian I was able to cross via the footbridge.

I then turned left onto the public footpath which runs behind the Jet filling station and the concrete works. One of Tallington’s claims to fame is that it is was the UK birthplace of pre-stressed concrete. Production has recently been increased thanks to a contract to produce segments for a new 25km sewage tunnel under the Thames.

Ironically, sewage is a problem in Tallington as well as London. Some residents in West Deeping face regular problems of sewage backflow in their homes which Anglian Water claim to have been investigating for years. Sadly, there is still no firm conclusion regarding the cause or the solution to the problems.

Many have suggested that a contributory factor is the seemingly relentless increase in static caravans at Tallington Lakes Leisure Park being connected to the same sewer as West Deeping. Tallington Lakes was the next landmark on my run. The site was originally granted planning permission for a caravan park about 20 years ago on the assumption that there would be around 100 caravans. There are now around 400 households living on site as well as touring vans, campers, outdoor swimming, dry ski-slope, waterskiing and other activities. Undoubtedly, Tallington Lakes has a significant and positive impact on the Deepings local economy but there are also inevitably questions relating to the traffic, noise and other issues relating to the site. In February 2020, there was a multi-agency visit to the site involving Environment Agency, South Kesteven District Council and the police. It is my understanding that the investigation is ongoing and hasn’t been helped by the Covid pandemic.

The next milestone was the smaller water-ski operation of Moorelake House which was granted planning permission during 2020. I was originally concerned about the introduction of more caravans to Tallington but on reading the planning application I discovered that there would be no discharge of waste to the public sewer and so I was happy to speak in support of the application at SKDC planning committee. The new facility will enable people to learn water-ski and wakeboarding skills from professionals including wake-board legend Ollie Moore.

On reaching the junction with Stamford Road, I crossed over and found a clear path to run along behind a hedge for a few hundred yards. Sadly, when this path ran out I had little option but to run along the busy Stamford Road. For a few hundred yards there was no footpath or cycleway to keep me safe from the traffic and I felt very vulnerable in the middle of the day. It is a dreadful road to walk or cycle along especially when it gets dark. The foot-path alternatives are muddy, they have no lighting and they are not suitable for bicycles. Lincolnshire certainly has room for improvement when it comes to safe and sustainable transport!

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