Peter Scott Lighthouse

Another glorious early autumn day, ideal for the Lincolnshire Naturalists' Union field trip to the Sutton Bridge area. There was a good turnout so the group split and I ended up mostly recording around the Peter Scott lighthouse near the outfall of the River Nene. It was good to refresh my memory of estuarine plants, a bit rusty as I don't often visit the coast. The sense of space and the silence was also wonderful - an antidote to the hustle and bustle of modern life.

Built in 1830 at Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, UK, the Sir Peter Scott lighthouse (also known as East Bank Lighthouse) was an essential part of navigation for the new river Nene cutting; a vast straight drainage channel excavated to help drain low lying inland areas known as the Fens.

Unusual in that it was always intended to be lived, or worked in, the basic lines of this small lighthouse are similar to those of a windmill. For the first 100 years of its life the lighthouse was lived in by a selection of families associated with the local farming communities and the river Nene authorities.

Constructed three miles straight out into the tidal marsh itself, the lighthouse justified the description given to it by Paul Gallico, in the ‘Snow Goose’ story. ‘Desolate, utterly lonely and made lonelier by the calls and cries of the wildfowl that make their homes in the marshlands and saltings’.

In 1933 this small lighthouse was to become home to 24 year old Peter Scott, son of the famous but ill fated Captain Scott of the Antarctic. It was here that he underwent a seismic conversion from wildfowler to famous artist and writer before going on to become the most influential naturalist and conservationist the world has ever seen, founder member of the World Wildlife Fund and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.

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