Whales, sharks and thousands of species of fish used to inhabit the Country Park as thousands of years ago it was under the sea !!
Over time the seabed raised leaving the area rich in chalk deposits which attracted paint manufacturers in the 19th Century who valued the chalk as “Whitening” for paint. The chalk was actually crushed at the “Black Mill” on Hessle Foreshore which is still there. From there the “Whitening” was shipped to many places but particularly Hull where paint manufacturing continues to this day.
Chalk extraction stopped in the 1950s and the quarry was left to go back to nature until the 1970s when it became part of the land acquired to build the Humber Bridge, at one time the longest single span suspension bridge in the world. The Humber Bridge Country Park was created by the local council at the time as an attraction for the thousands of visitors who visit the area.
In the 1990s the East Riding Of Yorkshire County Council became the owners with a view to managing the park for the wider community.
There are no known archaeological remains on the site. Along with the rest of the locality, the site was extensively covered by woodland known as Hesslewood. Chalk quarrying can be traced back 6 centuries to documents belonging to the Charterhouse Trust of Hull from 1317.
Quarrying was initially carried out with the aid of manual techniques, using wedges and crowbars in conjunction with hammers to prise the chalk away in blocks, which was then removed in horse drawn carts. Mechanisation, having more impact on the landscape, was introduced in the 20th century. Coal navvies, called Priestman Panthers, were used by 1919 to dig out chalk that was extracted by steam locomotives running on a basic rail network within the quarry. This railway system was subsequently replaced by dumpers.
The chalk was processed in a windmill on Hessle Foreshore. Constructed between 1810 and 1815 the five sailed mill lost its sails in 1925 but is still a feature of the foreshore. A second crushing plant, called a Raymond Hill, was built in the north east corner of the quarry in 1938 (management zone 1).
Throughout the six centuries of quarrying it is thought that the site was segmented in the extraction of chalk, beginning in the southern end and finishing in the northern most section. This had important implications for the survival and spread of wildlife species.
The railway opened in 1840 and passes through the southern end of the country park, as does the Clive Sullivan Way (A63), which opened in November 1985. The book of references (1835) for the plan of the railway line reveals four cottages situated adjacent to the line (and at the time considered on Hessle Foreshore). These correspond to being sited in management zone 19.
The site was used as target practice during World War II, after which quarrying continued until the late 1950's when the water table was reached. In these last years explosives were used to extract and break up the chalk.
Land use of the site remained in a state of 'suspension' for 25 years whilst proposals for a refuse tip were processed. Such plans were abandoned in the 1980's and in 1983 work started on developing the site into a country park that opened in 1986.
In 2002, the site received a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) designation from English Nature and the East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
Fuller information on historical land use of the country park and maps are available on file.
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