Isle of Axholme

Isle of Axholme

The Isle of Axholme is part of North Lincolnshire, England. It is the only part of Lincolnshire west of the River Trent. It is between the three towns of Doncaster, Scunthorpe and Gainsborough.


The name "Isle" is given to the area since, prior to the area being drained by the Dutchman Cornelius Vermuyden, each town or village formerly lay on areas of dry, raised ground in the surrounding marshland. The River Don used to flow to the north and west (it has since been diverted), dividing the Isle from Yorkshire, the River Idle separates the Isle from Nottinghamshire and the River Trent separates the Isle from the rest of the county. There are three small towns: Epworth – birthplace of John Wesley and his brother Charles – Crowle and Haxey.

Other settlements on the isle include Garthorpe, Luddington, Eastoft, Belton, Sandtoft – home to Europe's largest Trolleybus museum – Westwoodside, Wroot and Owston Ferry.

Much of the northern part of the Isle has flat topography, with rich farmland used mainly to grow wheat and sugar beet. The land is particularly fertile due to its history of annual flooding from the Trent and peat soil which was created by dense ancient woodland which covered much of the Isle. Even today, in many parts of the northern Isle, petrified wood can be found at about 6ft below ground which is a relic from this woodland, locally called "Bog oaks".

A long-distance walking route, the "Peatlands Way" traverses the Isle.


"Axholme" means "island by Haxey", from the town name + Old Norse "holmr" "island". The name was recorded as "Hakirhomle" in 1196. (The Old English suffix "ey" in "Haxey" also indicates an island).

1833 description

Land Drainage History

The Isle is known for the early influences of the Dutchman, Cornelius Vermuyden who initiated the realignment of several of the highland carriers flowing through the district allowing increased agricultural production. This early agricultural activity has left a legacy in the unique strip farming which is still in existence around Epworth. The watercourses of the Isle and the surrounding area are managed by the Isle of Axholme Internal Drainage Board who maintain 302km of watercourse and 18 pumping stations [ [ Isle of Axholme Internal DRainage Board website] . The Internal Drainage Board also provide water level management to the adjacent Thorne Moors and the Hatfield Moors, both environmentally sensitive areas.

Road and railway

The Isle of Axholme Joint Railway traversed the area, but the line has now been abandoned. The M180 motorway now crosses the north of the area.

There was an Isle of Axholme Rural District from 1894 to 1974, which covered the entire Isle after 1936. This became part of the Boothferry district of Humberside in 1974, and since 1996 has been in the North Lincolnshire unitary authority.


External links

* [ History of the Isle of Axholme]
* [ Isle of Axholme website]
* [ Isle of Axholme Internal Drainage Board website]

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