Monday, May 04, 2009

Between the shining waters - Dunwich to Walberswick

Saturday April 25, 2009:

Today we’re going north, to Walberswick and another nature reserve. The Suffolk coastal walk takes us on a rutted path between thorn edged fields and houses with sweeping drives and hidden lawns. I plod along, for I AM TIRED, HAVING WALKED ALREADY FOR TWO HOURS IN PERSUIT OF MORNING BIRDS. #


Sun shines down from a cloud scudded sky. It feels more like July than April. I feel very much “on holiday” and don’t mind my tiredness.

I am glad though when we sit down for a snack and a rest. I sit on a bank whilst my companion describes the surroundings. Over the hedge, on the edge of the river, for we are now walking beside the River Dunwich, swans go about their business. Suddenly, one rises up into the sky and flies past us, gracefully pooing as he goes!

Our guide, a little fixated by animal bodily functions is intent on allowing us the experience of encountering otter sprint – an oily liquid poo smelling rather of carbolic soap. ON side of the path, the grasses have been flattened by something beating a straight path to and from the water.

Rested, we climb to our feet and trudge on. Now we are shoulder high amongst the reeds on the nature reserve just south of Walberswick. Here, the river Dunwich meets other water courses, pools of shining silvery water ringed by dark reeds are all around us.

Suddenly, I have had enough and I retreat to sit by the river on some steps and wait for the Twitchers of our party to return. Whilst there, my companion spies reed warblers, herons and another high flying bird of prey circling overhead. The second of a group of teenage Duke of Edinburgh Awarders stagger past under their impossibly heavily looking stuffed rucksacks. I raise my face to the sun and breathe the slightly fishy salty air.

Now we scramble over a bank into a wood. Here we will eat lunch and rest before walking on into Walberswick. Here too the wetlands have stretched, the boggy ground under our feet traversed by means of narrow and slippery duckboards. Still, we make it and scramble up to a circle of trees.

The woods are relatively quiet. Only insects and small creeping creatures rustle about in the undergrowth and amongst the dry leaf mould. The wind, sharper now, reaches into the coolness to remind us that indeed, it is still only April.

We edge our way down the steep path, seeking the driest route. Out of the woods, we move towards the sea. Climbing up into a shifting pebble bank, the sea wind smacks at us, making me wobble slightly as I march doggedly forward. My knees are killing me – they hate this unstable terrain. Thinking of tea and cakes, I walk on.

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