Alkborough is a remote village in the north of Lincolnshire, overlooking the Humber Estuary at the Trent Falls, the confluence of the Trent and the Ouse. It also overlooks an area of low-lying arable land known as the Alkborough Flats.
Alkborough is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Alchebarge, which literally translates as 'the ridge-like cliff above the mooring pool of the river'. The village name goes through various spellings such as Alchebarue, Hautebarg, Alke Bere and Awkeburgh. In 1900, Alkborough had an alternative name or spelling of Aukborough.
Alkborough's main name to fame is that it is the site of a medieval turf maze known as Julian's Bower, one of the few remaining medieval labyrinths in the country.
According to Arthur Mee, writing in his county guide Lincolnshire, the maze was cut by monks in the 12th century.
The maze is also reproduced in the chancel window (above the altar) in the village church of St John the Baptist, is laid in the stone floor of the oak porch of the church, and can be found on the gravestone of James Goulton Constable in Alkborough Cemetery.
The parish church of St John the Baptist dates from the 11th century.
Flood prevention measures are usually hard measures, concrete barriers and the like. As has been found on the south coast, of England where areas of the coast have been returned to salt marshes, soft measures are far more effective. It is better to work with nature, not against, creates valuable wildlife habitats, and is far more cost effective.
This is being done with Alkborough Flats. The area will be managed as a flood plain and allowed to flood.
The area will form an intertidal zone on the upper reaches of the Humber Estuary. It will be managed as reed beds, grassland grazing and lagoons.
The Alkborough Flats Project, as it is known, will, at 440 hectares, constitute one of the largest intertidal wetland habitat creation projects in the UK.
There are panoramic views over Alkborough Flats and the Humber Estuary from Julian's Bower, situated as it is on the northern limit of the Lincoln Edge (or Lincoln Cliff), the oolitic limestone escarpment that runs north-south through Lincolnshire, broken at Lincoln, the Lincoln Gap, by the River Witham.
The site of Julian's Bower may be a more ancient spiritual site.
Julian's Bower is not the only historical feature of interest. The other is Kell Well.
Located close to the cliff path between Burton-upon-Stather and approximately a mile to the south of the Alkborough, Kell Well is an ancient spring which issues from the hillside and descends to the Trent through a series of tiny waterfalls. Diarist Abraham De la Pryme recorded its presence in 1697 and although the petrifying qualities the spring is reputed to have had are no longer present, the waters which emerge from between the layers of Lias rock are rich in iron salts.
It was this richness in iron salts and the quarrying of the Lias ironstone that formed the basis of the iron and steel industry at nearby Scunthorpe.