Great Heck

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Great Heck
West Riding
Great Heck, Heck Lane - - 89858.jpg
Great Heck, Heck Lane
Grid reference: 59348&y=4 21069&z=120 SE 59348 21069
Location: 53°40’54"N, 1°6’23"W
Post town: Goole
Postcode: DN14
Local Government
Council: Selby

Great Heck is a small village in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the broad flood plain of the River Aire, which forms part of the low ground of Yorkshire approaching the Humber. Great Heck is a few miles south of Selby, between the M62 motorway and the Aire and Calder Navigation canal, with the Aire itself, flowing between high embankments against flooding, further to the north. The main railway line between Doncaster and Selby crosses over the canal and under the motorway through Great Heck.

The population of Great Heck was just 201 people at the 2011 census.

The village may try to keep away from the news, but in 2001 it was the site of the Great Heck rail crash, which slew ten, and in 2015 it was again in the news by reason of the pollution blowing over the village from a vast, burning waste dump upwind of the village.[1]

The village

The village of Great Heck is a rural community. It consists of mainly detached residential housing and small companies such as Great Heck Brewery. It also comprises a number of farms and a nursery.

Little Heck

Little Heck is a minor hamlet to the north of Great Heck, north of the M62, where the A645 crosses under the railway line.


The 1881 census recorded a male population of 116, of whom 36 of the worked in agriculture while the other male workers were spread out in categories including transport, food and lodging and textile fabrics. There were 110 women and girls and the data shows 39 of unknown occupations. Other women worked in occupational categories such as agriculture and domestic services.[2]

Numbers had barely changed by the 2011 census. There were just 111 people employed though out of 201, 57 men and 54 were women, for the most part employed in wholesale and retail trade, construction and manufacturing.

Great Heck rail crash

On the morning of the 28 February 2001, a Land Rover towing a loaded trailer swerved off the M62 motorway just before a bridge over the East Coast Main Line. The vehicle then ran down an embankment and onto the southbound rail track. The driver of the Land Rover, Gary Neil Hart, tried to reverse the car off the track but could not, and left the car to call the emergency services. A southbound GNER InterCity 225 from Newcastle to London Kings Cross, travelling at over 120 miles per hour, struck the car. The leading bogie of the DVT derailed but the train stayed upright. Points to nearby sidings then deflected it into the path of an oncoming Freightliner freight train carrying coal[3] from Immingham to Ferrybridge. The freight train hit the wreckage resulting in severe to moderate damage to all nine of the InterCity 225's coaches.

Just before the impact of the two trains, the speed of the InterCity 225 was estimated at 88 mph while the freight train was travelling at an estimated speed of 54 mph, therefore the closing speed between them was 142 mph, making this the highest speed railway incident in the United Kingdom.[4]

Ten people died in the crash.

Transport links

Great Heck is accessible through a number of lanes such as Heck and Pollington Lane, Heck Lane and Long Lane. Following Heck Lane and then taking a right turning into Baine Moor Road, you will eventually meet the A19 Road or Selby Road. This road joins up with the M62 motorway.

Though the main line runs through the village, there is no railway station in Great Heck, and the nearest railway station is at Hensall, which is a mile away. Whitley Bridge railway station and Snaith railway station are also very close to Great Heck.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Great Heck)


  1. The villagers of Great Heck living by a burning pile of rubbish BBC News, 16 November 2015
  2. Bartholomew, John (1887). Gazetteer of the British Isles (1st ed.). Edinburgh: Bartholomew. Retrieved 12 March 2013. 
  3. "Rail crash 'unavoidable' - report". London: Mail Online. 24 February 2011. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 
  4. Wainwright, Martin (5 December 2002). "Rail crash enquiry". closing speed (London: Guardian). Retrieved 18 March 2013.