Legal eating out in lockdown

2021 birthday picnic

I took the day off work and had a birthday lunch picnic this week.

Tim and I walked up the coast through a snow covered landscape, stopping for leek & potato soup and a ham sandwich in the dunes. It was wonderful. A few days of snowy weather has transformed Norfolk into a winter wonderland.

Some people (probably most people) would think we were a bit mad to want to sit out in all weathers eating.  Most people would prefer to eat pub food and drink.  But for us it’s quite normal, adds to a walk and is very convenient.  It means we can pick a time and place that feels best.  A packed lunch is better than a packed pub ….though of course there isn’t a choice at the moment!

Out of our packs we pull our faithful sandwich boxes and drink bottles. In winter we also have thermos flasks or even a camp stove to heat water but these are relative newcomers to our packs. It’s the same plastic boxes and drinks bottles that have been around for about 20 years or more.

So we celebrated this week with alfresco food & drink and we thank our plastic friends who have travelled with us on just about every walk we do, never letting us down.  

All of the following photos include our picnic boxes and/or bottles.

A quick drink before it snows again!

A very comfortable tree picnic

Somewhere along the south west coast path picnic with a view

A mountain top picnic

A cliff top boat filming picnic

Forest walk bench picnic

An inversion in the Lake District drink

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Plastic

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Green green grass of home

This weekend it’s hard to think of green.  We are being blasted with gales and storms with snow, hail and sleet – from the east.  This weather is coming from the east to us on the east coast of the U.K. and is always coldest – we haven’t ventured far these last two days.  Not that we can go too far anyway being in the midst of lockdown.

So thanks to Sue and GC for their weekend challenge it has been a joy to scroll through my photos for ‘green’ themed shots.  Here are a few photos taken during sunny spring and summer days, something to look forward to.

A view of the marsh near Minsmere, Suffolk

Somewhere along the south west coast path in Devon

East Ruston Gardens, Norfolk

Growing our greens in our garden

 

Weekly Prompts Colour Challenge – Greenery

 

A deer close encounter – our paths crossed

At this time of the year, to avoid slipping and squelching along muddy paths, we often head to the beach.  Luckily we can still enjoy our bracing winter walks and sea air in these lockdown days as we live only a mile away.  I haven’t actually looked it up but I’m sure it’s classed as a local walk.

Sunday 17th January 2021

There were some people way ahead of us in the distance walking along the shore and then there was this animal.  A dog maybe?  Their pet?  It wasn’t far behind them but looking out to sea.  We stopped and squinted and then, to our amazement, realised it was a small deer. 

A deer on the shore

We walked on after seeing it take a direct line to the dunes.  Then it ran back again, to the sea.  Then it returned to the dune, skipping, almost playfully. What on earth was it doing and why was it here?

At the spot where we had seen it we stopped and checked the tracks. Definitely deer.  We crossed many tracks close together.

Deer tracks

I decided to crouch down while Tim walked on and within seconds it appeared. Heading straight to me I could not believe my eyes.  It broke into a trot, ears up, looking at me as if it recognised me. My camera was ready and so was I – I took about six photos as it got closer and closer.  

A deer heading my way

When it got within 10 feet it slowed and I held my breath.  I was looking at a wild animal and I was frightened.  Hard to believe now but it was such a strange experience it unnerved me.  I gradually stood up – really slowly.  The deer stopped, turned and ran.

My last photo before I got scared and stood up

This was a fully grown (probably female Muntjac Deer.  A non native deer species about the size of a large dog.  They are slightly hunched in appearance.  Generally timid they live in shrubbery and woodlands, that sort of area – not on the beach.   I won’t forget crossing paths with that animal.

If anyone can tell me why this animal behaved in this way I would love to know.

 

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Path

 

 

Early to rise to catch the sun rise

I have never been a good morning person.  I haven’t really been an evening person either so what can I make of that?  I have a tendency to be a bit lazy.

My serious personality had me frowning and grumbling and dragging myself out of bed from as far back as I can remember.  I used to run to school and drive swiftly to work because I’d left myself just enough time to get to where I needed to be.

My Tim, on the other hand, positively bounces out of bed whistling.  A plan to get up before 7am used to have me raising my eyebrows in our early days.  I used to say ‘what, you mean leave before tea and breakfast?’.

As the years have passed I have learnt to love the early hours.  Our weekends, holidays and walks together changed my ways, though it’s still best to not expect too much from me til I’ve had my breakfast.

Just this week I noticed a warm red glow though the bathroom window whilst getting ready for work.  I rushed out mid-way through brushing teeth to grab my camera and, in dressing gown and slippers and wet hair, went out into the garden to stand on a chair and photograph the sky.  

Some things are worth it.

Sunrise over the garden wall

Oh and since our first lockdown in March 2020 I have been making earlier starts for work as I have been working from home and don’t need to travel so I am quite proud of that.

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Morning

 

 

 

A local walk from the door (again)

The sun was shining and we decided to stop and sit below a row of Alder trees in a meadow surrounded by boggy grass and ice covered waterways.  Such a silent peaceful spot you could almost forget about all the bad and sad news.

‘Right, pass the hand sanitiser’, said Tim. ‘Oh, have I got it?’ I asked.

‘Yes, in your pack’, Tim replied.  ‘Ah yes, here it is’ I said, after a quick rummage.  ‘Just under my emergency (just in case) face mask.’

We have a constant reminder of how things are, no matter where we are!

Better safe than sorry. Always use a sanitiser if you are not able to wash them.

We are now restricted to local walks.  Once again our village is full of strollers of all shapes and dog walkers of all sizes and we do our best to avoid them! Keeping our distance, dodging into people’s driveways if necessary and sidestepping into roads – it’s a dangerous game out there.

Last weekend we ventured to our neighbouring village Hemsby.  And I know we shouldn’t actually have done this but I feel that crossing fields and meadows puts no risk to anyone.

Saturday 9th January 2021 – Ormesby St Margaret, Norfolk

On foot, from our home, from our village and back.

Five minutes from the front door a footpath runs out to a small wood and fields beyond.  It starts alongside Station House on Station Road.

Station House, Ormesby

From 1877 trains ran from the Midlands bringing holidaymakers and day trippers to the Norfolk Coastline.  The station of Great Ormesby (as our village used to be called) was one stop away from the beach.  Unfortunately it really wasn’t profitable enough and closed in 1959, as did the whole line.

Remnants of that past life still exist, as the photo above shows, and around the back there is a ‘hidden’ platform, surrounded by garden. It’s certainly a unique place to live and we always stare at it as we go past and think about what we would do to the place if it were ours.

From here we passed through the wood and onto a footpath running next to fields.  The sharp frost of the night before meant muddy pathways were icy and crisp.

How did this sheet of ice end up sticking up like this?

This lane had to be walked along with some care.

An icy back lane

There are three large arable fields are between us and our nearest neighbouring village to the north.  The fields were all muddy and bare having hard their crops harvested but as we got close to Hemsby we passed a small flock of nervous sheep huddled together on their grassy patch. I assumed they were worried about something but it’s hard to tell how sheep are feeling – their expressions don’t give much away!

Sheep near Hemsby

Hemsby is a good sized seaside village with holiday makers increasing the general feel of the place in the summer months.  The true centre of the village is about a mile inland which is where we headed, to the parish church.

The church from the pavement

Medieval churches still stand in almost every village in Norfolk and Hemsby is no different. We decided to stroll slowly through the churchyard and around the 14th century St Mary’s, reading some of the headstones. 

In the land where there were newer graves Christmas decorations had been placed with flowers at several headstones. There were two people paying their respects.

Out on the street and we could see a small masked queue outside the local pharmacy. Swiftly we went through the quiet village to the footpath leading through marshy meadows.  

Often there’s an element of extra excitement here with grazing and nosey cattle but not this time.  Perhaps they’d all fallen in the dykes?

Note on a gate

Half way across the meadows we found a dry sheltered spot to sit and really enjoy the warm winter sun. And get the hand sanitiser out.  Joking aside, it is always important to clean your hands – and we had pushed open two gateways along our route.

After a little bit of fun with the cameras we headed for home.

Reflecting in a reflection

We crunched our way across surprisingly still frozen grass to a lane to exit the meadows.  Farmland on either side looked flooded and roaming quacking ducks enjoyed a bit more swimming space. 

A glimpse of Ormesby Broad makes us pause every time we go along this lane.  From where we stood the end of the broad was still frozen.

The closest we can get to Ormesby Broad

A little way along from here we spotted a deer but it was too far away to photograph.  Then we passed two stray sheep.  Where had they escaped from?  Perhaps the small holding behind them or a farm?  They were brave looking and too busy eating to worry about.

Oh, hello you two

We are perfectly happy thank you

We were home in 15 minutes from here.  It’s a 7 mile walk that we will probably repeat more than once over the next month or so.

 

Snowdonia mini-break part 2 – Happy next to water

This is a second post about a 4 day last minute break to Snowdonia, North Wales in September.  In any normal year we would have taken a two week holiday at this time but this has not been a normal year has it?  

The 4 days were probably the best we’ve experienced in this part of the world.  Maybe that was because we were just so grateful to have time away, in the mountains and in good weather.  It’s fair to say we were in our happy place.

If you’d like to check out Part 1 please click on the link below.  Part 1 describes a mountain adventure. 

Snowdonia mini-break Part 1 – Crib Goch (Red Ridge)

The following describes watery lower level places :- 

14th to 18th September 2020

‘But this sign seems to say that we shouldn’t go down there’ I said quietly reading the words.  No response from Tim.  He was crouched down and getting through a gap in the wall behind me.  Then, seconds later, he’d stretched his legs down to the river boulders below.

It’s a sign

Sometimes I wonder whether Tim, who is becoming a little bit deaf, really can’t hear me or whether he’s ignoring me.  No he hasn’t ignored me (well not this time!) its the thunderous ‘dangerous current’ that he is now much closer to which is drowning my quiet voice!

Oh well, nothing for it, I followed him down.

Close to our picnic spot amongst the boulders

Snowdonia has some impressive spots.  For a few years we were peak bagging the mountains over 3,000 feet in this area of North Wales.  Getting up to these 14 summits was challenging as was pronouncing their names.  Names such as the tongue twisting Garnedd Uchaf and Elidir Fawr.  But once bagged we moved onto other challenges, elsewhere.

This post is a part 2 of our short stay back in September 2020 – when we managed a 4 day escape from our Covid world.   Its about a couple of wonderful places and some impressive waterways missed on previous visits.

Conwy Falls

On our 4 day break this was our first real stop since leaving home at 5am some six hours earlier. Park at the Conwy Falls Cafe on the road into Betws-y-Coed and follow the route suggested on the board around the back of the building.  Just watch your step on the stone stairway.  You can hear the falls before seeing it.

Here are just a couple of photos from where the warning sign (mentioned above) is positioned.  The lower riverside level is probably best avoided or attempted unless you are irresponsible have decent walking boots and are without small children.

The safest viewing spot of the falls

Always a thrill when you see a waterfall like this

Beddgelert

A lovely village to visit, have a wander and eat an ice cream. 

When I first started writing this post (in October) it was impossible to travel in and to Wales from England. The Welsh Government set this up as an effort to slow the spread and protect the elderly and vulnerable from Covid-19 – we got to have our visit just before that time.  Various parts of the country now have different rules and its best to find out what you can do, where, before travelling.  This will be the story of our lives until the vaccination programmes kick in.

When we were there we witnessed good hygiene almost everywhere, including at our wonderful b&b.  However we avoided cafes, pubs and restaurants simply because, as middle aged folk with elderly parents, we have to be sensible, protect ourselves, them and our population in general. We enjoyed picnic lunches and dinners everyday.

Back to the lovely place called Beddgelert.  Folklore associates Beddgelert village with a faithful dog called Gelert but is more likely to be linked to an 8th century missionary called Celert.  Either way it’s an old settlement in a very beautiful spot, in a junction of two large rivers surrounded by high mountains.

Unfortunately rivers do occasionally flood and when we were there we saw signs on a few buildings telling visitors that they were closed and still recovering from recent summer floods.

Shop with a carved bench closed due to flooding

Rainbow sign

I love old stone bridges and can’t take enough photographs of them.  This bridge handles all the road traffic going through the village.  It’s tricky to stand on it and admire it without causing an accident unless you can make it to the bay’s as Tim is doing in the second photo below.

Tim on the bridge at Beddgelert

Then we decided to take a chance and buy an ice cream.  We had watched to see how this shop dealt with the whole process of ordering, paying for and delivering ice creams and thought it was worth the risk.  This may sound ridiculous but, as mentioned above, we are being careful.

By the way, this shop sells the best ice creams – anywhere.  And I have tasted a few.

Ice creams at Beddgelert

Glaslyn River and Aberglaslyn Gorge

The river Glaslyn flows away from Beddgelert and within a short walk alongside it you reach the small path that leads through the gorge.  We visited twice – once as part of a 7 mile walk and again on another day because we loved it so much.  Here are just a couple of photos.

The river and gorge taken from the bridge – Pont Aberglaslyn

The path is relatively flat near Beddgelert

Then it has a few tricky bits where wooden boardwalks have been placed or metal hand holds put into the rock. This might be a bit hairy when the river is full.

We saw people turn around at this point

Hang onto the metal hand holds if need be

It was so nice we had our picnic on the rocks.

Picnic lunch on the river

 Pont-y-Pair Bridge, Betws-y-Coed

Walk along through Betws-y-Coed passing the church and small shops you reach an impressive ancient stone bridge crossing the River Llugwy. Originally built in 1500s for pack horses it was later enlarged for more traffic.  That’s such a shame because it’s so busy now you are likely to be run over just taking a photo from it.  

Even though it is such a magnet for visitors and impossible to find a quiet spot anywhere near it we perched ourselves on the rocks below and, in the warm afternoon sun, dozed off.  Never before have I dropped off in such a spot and on rocks too, I must be getting old.  By the time we came to it was tea time and we almost had the place to ourselves.  With only the sound of water moving over rock we took to scrambling about like a couple of kids.

Tim near the bridge

Pont-y-Pair with no one in sight

My recommendation is to visit early or late in the day and walk up stream to Swallow Falls.  It’s a real treat.

Finally here is an image taken from a bridge at the start of a walk.  It’s a view of the river Glaslyn close to the Sygun Copper Mine, near Beddgelert.  A great view at the  start/end of any walk. 

Hope this encourages anyone reading this to visit Snowdonia and North Wales.  It doesn’t always rain and when the sun shines is quite beautiful.

 

Linked to Weekly Prompts challlenge ‘Happy’ – thanks to Sue and GC

Weekly Prompts Weekend Challenge – Happy

The Lake District in Autumn – 2020

Just enjoying a few days in the Lake District.  It’s a long seven hour drive from home but worth it.

We never take a break in October but this year, well this year it’s different. We have been so lucky to see as much colour as we have as the wind and rain can shorten the time of these wonderful displays.

 

 

Linked to the Weekly Pormpts Wednesday Challenge. Thanks GC and SueW.

 

Weekly Prompts Wednesday Challenge – Autumn Strolls

 

 

 

 

Snowdonia mini-break Part 1 – Crib Goch (Red Ridge)

Snowdonia, North Wales – Tuesday 15th September 2020

At 1,178 feet (359 meters) we sat on a wooden bench, put muesli, banana and milk into our cereal bowls and silently tucked in.  It’s not everyday that you find yourself eating breakfast at a mountain pass, next to a bus stop alongside a car park.  Well, I thought, this certainly is different and took a photo of Tim for the record. It was 07:30am.

Picnic breakfast at Pen-y-Pass, Snowdonia, North Wales

The Pen-y-Pass Car Park is a great place to set off for Snowdon and the surrounding mountain peaks.  We have been here before, making early starts to our day, but this morning we had been shocked to find the entrance closed and a ‘Car Park Full’ sign at 07:10am.  Two security guards looked over at our horrified faces as we cruised slowly past and pointed down the long steep road. The overflow car park, with a park and ride facility, was at Nant Peris, 3 miles away.

We think we just missed the last space by only a few minutes so our drive to Nant Peris was one of disappointment and disbelief. Should we change our plan for the day? Should we risk getting on a bus for the journey back up the road?  How often did the buses run?  Why were so many people parked by 7:10am?  How could we have missed out on a parking space?

The overflow car park was almost empty which confirmed our guess that we had only just missed a space at the top of the pass. The ticket machine charged £5 for the day but it took a minute or two to understand how to pay for the ticket as our selection of ‘contactless’ turned into putting card into machine and tapping out PIN number (not very virus free friendly)!   Like magic the Sherpa bus arrived!  We snatched the ticket from the machine and tossed our map, water bottles, lunch, hats, hand sanitiser, sunscreen, sweets and walking poles into our packs.  We also had cereal bowls, a zip locked bag with cereal, bananas and a pint of milk.  Our plan had always been to eat breakfast once parked – in the car.

We jogged over to the bus, put on our masks, paid the £3 return ticket and clomped up the stairs to sit on the front seats up on the top deck.  Oh no, we had left our spoons behind.  I clomped back down the steps, asked the driver to hang on, ran over to the car, grabbed the spoons and sprinted back.  Phew.  The bus pulled away with us and 5 others on board.

‘Was the ticket on the windscreen?’ Tim asked.  ‘Yes, of course’ I said ….keeping fingers crossed!

Selfie on Sherpa Bus top deck mirror

During breakfast we watched a steady stream of cars arrive and leave.  We could see them from ‘our’ bench.  The car park attendants didn’t always offer advice to latecomers – they were too busy showing off their hi vis jackets!  Two ladies were grateful for Tim standing up (mid-breakfast) and kindly offering the alternative parking option.

Tim giving advice to those who also missed a car parking place at Pen-y-Pass

Thankfully the Pen-y-Pass toilets were open and clean!  I have to say that almost every public toilet I have visited since the pandemic hit our country has been well looked after.  It’s about time these often tired and grubby facilities had a bit more time spent on them.

Our cups, coffee, tea and camp stove had been left them in the car as that would have meant extra weight to carry about all day.  Nothing for it – we set off for Crib Goch (Red Ridge) – the most exposed, exciting, thrilling, scramble we have ever experienced. It was 07:40am.

Two weeks previously we had watched a YouTube clip of someone doing the Crib Goch approach to Snowdon and thought wouldn’t that be great to do that again. A last minute b&b with a 4 night vacancy was found and here we were. It was in a dream like state that I took the first photo looking back down towards the valley where our car was parked.

Looking down the A4086 in the direction of Nant Peris and Llanberis.

Up we went following the Pyg Track until it meets a junction with a standing stone and this magnificent view.  It was 08:35am.

Way below, crossing the lake is the Miners Track. Our return route.

We turned right towards the ridge leaving the relative safety of the Pyg Track.

It starts off all nice and easy then you come face to face with the rock face and it’s time to use your hands and scramble.  A group of four young men joined us just as we were dealing with a tricky situation.  We discussed the best approach. These nimble, polite and encouraging young people were probably old enough to be our children or even, as Tim so wonderfully calculated, grandchildren!  Actually the young 20 somethings we encountered all day were I found, more respectful than the 30 to 40 somethings.  But more about that later…

Pausing, further along, I spotted another bus heading up to the car park (not quite visible) below.  The building (just visible) is a youth hostel.  Recently refurbished I would say that this must be a perfect spot for anyone interested in exploring the area.

Can you spot the red bus on its way to the car park?

Nearing the top of the approach to the ridge my face was starting to glow and shine at the same time.  It was 10:05am.

Hot, sweaty and nearing the start of the Crib Goch ridge

YouTube viewing has encouraged us to film our adventures and at the start of the ridge Tim set up the Go Pro action camera to capture this event!  After resting for a minute or two we walked, scrambled chatted to camera and did our very best to stay alive.

Three points of contact at all times is always a good idea.

First steps across the ridge – only two points of contact!

Scrambling 3/4 points of contact!

The rock was warm though jagged in places.  We sat a few times along the way just to take in the views.  No words can express the feeling.

Then just near the end are ‘The Pinnacles’. Here there is a bit more than scrambling in my opinion.  It’s a climb without ropes.

Obviously I was ready to catch Tim if he fell as he scrambled up.  Well, I was ready to catch it on film!  It’s good to offer encouraging words to your partner as they take their life in their hands though I found it hard to concentrate with this amazing view over to my left.

Feeling a bit distracted by the view!

Once over the final Pinnacle it’s down to a nice flat section where we gave each other a congratulatory kiss and considered our lunch spot.  Somewhere just up there?

Walking towards our lunch spot

The above photo shows Snowdon on the left. It looks like an impossible climb doesn’t it but there are six classic approaches.  All are far far easier than our route.  Ahead of us is Crib y Ddsgl (Dish Ridge) and that was our next challenge.

Lunch.  I took a photo looking back at Crib Goch.  It was 12:29.

Looking back at Crib Goch

A group of young people passed us chatting and ready for anything.  I was feeling very old, tired, haggard and worn out but I thought ‘Come on Selina, you can do this’.  I can’t seem to cope when it’s hot on long walks and it was very warm.  We quickly followed the group to make a start on the ridge line that continued…their voices drifted away as they left us for dust.

Guide books say that this section isn’t as difficult as Crib Goch, and it really isn’t, but with the workout we’d just had its hard enough in my opinion.  I was on my last legs more than once, muttering to myself and the mountain – trying not to think of a mountain rescue situation!  Here I am grinning through my teeth, pleased for a bit of a sit down.  It was 1:05pm

Me almost at the top

It’s surprising when you think a mountain top will never be reached and then it is.  Passing the trig point and a large cairn there was a wonderful uninterrupted view west at distant lakes, mountains and the sea beyond.

We could also see the ‘easy’ path coming up from Llanberis.  In the photo it’s the cream coloured horizontal path running right to left. It looked busy all the way up to Snowdon.

Passing a large cairn our path meets the Llanberis path

And looking slightly left – here is Snowdon.  A path that joins the Llanberis route, the vertical path in the photo, was the start of our route down.  Before that we sat in peace and ate a nectarine…it was a delicious treat.

Snowdon and a glimpse of our route down

A collection of walkers were at this meeting of the paths – sitting about talking about their experience.  All social distancing advice seemed to be forgotten for these 30/40 year olds and they were just getting in the way.  There’s plenty of room in these remote spots and absolutely no need to gather.  Sometimes people are just stupid.  We pulled out our walking poles from our packs and headed downwards – quickly.

Snowdon itself, as the highest point in England/Wales, is one of the busiest places and we gave it a miss because we wanted to avoid all those people standing about taking photos and probably complaining that the cafe wasn’t open.  Thankfully we’d been to the top several times – five times from memory and only once didn’t have a view.  If planning a trip the summit Cafe is, at the time of writing, closed and the train isn’t running – all perfectly understandable.  Take you own drink and food and be prepared to sweat of bit.  Just saying…..

So, this blog wasn’t really supposed to be about our route back to the car park but felt I should share a few photos to help anyone out who hasn’t done this before and is considering it.

The track is known as the zig zags.  Photo taken at 2:00pm

Down we go

Further down the path splits as it meets a route taking you to the small mountain lake Glaslyn.  This is the Miners Path.

On track to Glaslyn

As you can see the path is stepped with large rocks.  It’s like this most of the way but there are a few places where a bit more care and time is needed because the the route is less path, more rocky mountain.

More than once I felt as if we were in a race with people hot on our heals. What is wrong with some people!  I hate that.  And I hated that I slid on some small stones and went down onto my behind. ‘Oh are you ok’ said the people behind.  ‘Umm’ I said. I was fine it was a softish landing!

After a long descent you reach the water.  My knees were so grateful.

Often people and dogs take a dip on sunny warm days and today was one of them.

Glaslyn with bathers

From here the path curves down and round, down and round…a rocky path at first then a gravel path. It crosses he final lake on a causeway.  Finally we could see the car park.

We crossed it and waited for the bus – masked up & ready.  We didn’t have long to wait and as we were first in a short queue four people we clomped upstairs and took the front seats again.  It was 04:46pm.

Back on the bus, heading back to the car

Tim, by the way, is sitting on the bus wondering.  He has been along this ridge 3 times – in his 40s, 50s and now 60s.  Will he try again in his 70s? Who knows…….who knows.

An epic day.

An older blog post includes detail and photos about previous visits to Crib Goch and Snowdon – for anyone who has made it to the end of this blog (thank you and we’ll done!) and would like to take a look click on this link.WordPress Challenge : Scale

 

Sunny Suffolk – The same walk twice

Two summer days : 2020

My coffee fetching crusader.

Tim with coffees

This is an image of our masked life. Getting on with it, not moaning, being safe.

One hour earlier….

As I pushed a handful of small coins into the donation box a voice called out ‘you could build a new church for that’. I glanced round and a cheeky greyed haired couple smiled out of their car window. I said that if I stood here long enough, getting rid of our small change, it might encourage others who might otherwise have missed their chance to do the right thing. They agreed.

Here in the village of Dunwich, they have a ‘history’ with churches which isn’t a good one. Once a thriving large town, in the Middle Ages, it was reduced to almost nothing by several storms. Legend has it that church bells can still be heard ringing from the many, now submerged, churches.

I love this place and its history.

We have just recently done two (identical) walks and, as I have plenty of photos of both days, I thought I’d share them and a description. If necessary I’ll identify the photos as First Time and Second Time!

Dunwich Beach

We ambled over to the beach to take a look at the unusual sight of a cruise liner parked out at sea.  All around the coast these large liners are enjoying a summer holiday, with no where to go and no one to transport. This is the first I’ve seen on the east coast.  Apparently it’s the ‘Queen Victoria’ – a Cunard ship.

We headed off following the coast to a place where a priory once stood. Greyfriars. 

Greyfriars ruins

Theres a fair bit of history here and it’s well worth visiting.  If it all gets a bit much just lay back and take it easy – as can be seen by these people who are lying on one of the paths!  How I love taking candid photos.

People laying about in the sunshine

Into the wood we went.  These woods are fantastic in the winter with their snowdrop displays.  There’s a small bridge – no idea why it’s here but it’s fun.

Me under a little tiny bridge

The properties that are scattered between woodland in this area are often hidden, such as East Friars, with the grand gates in the photo below.  Several others have similar names that have links to the priory.

Grand gates

On warm days it’s always a pleasure to walk through sheltered woods.

Footpath through woodland

Out of the trees we were immediately onto Dunwich Heath.  This is national trust land and quite beautiful in mid/late summer with the heather.

Walking across Dunwich Heath

The building called Coastguard Cottages is on the edge of the Heath.  It has a fairly big car park, toilets and cafe.  They were busy checking cars on entry as we walked by – apparently you need to book ahead if you want to park at national trust properties. We didn’t need to worry about that, oh and could almost smell the coffee now!

We sheltered from the hot sun at a picnic bench under a pine tree, feeling like we were on a Greek island.  After enjoying our coffee we strolled slowly away across the car park then followed a sandy path down to the beach.  On both days there were small pockets of families enjoying themselves, on the beach and in the sea.  The clouds were amazing here so I took one photo looking back at the cliffs below the white building of Coastguard Cottages

Looking back at the sandy cliffs below coastguard cottages

I took another photo looking at Tim walking away – the sea on our left,  Minsmere RSPB nature reserve on our right and Sizewell Nuclear Power Station on the horizon.

Along the Suffolk coastal path

It was a long warm walk to Sizewell.  Both days had lovely breezes coming across the reserve.  

On the second trip we stopped near the beach for lunch – close to the fenced boundary of the power station.  In the only comfortable shade we could find we rested our backs up against the World War II concrete tank traps.  

Lunch stop on the second trip

I photographed our lunch spot from the dune looking towards Sizewell.  Currently two power stations exist here – Sizewell A (the ugly block) and Sizewell B (the giant golf ball).  I’ll mention expansion plans about this place later.

Tank traps and Sizewell Power Station

From here we headed inland following a sign named ‘Kenton Hills Walks’.  This path starts all lush and green like a wildlife reserve then pine trees replace smaller shrubs and it becomes more like a forest.

Walking through a green lush land

It seems that this must be snake country as we passed several mats placed on the sides of the path which I think are used to survey these reptiles.  Tim bravely looked under a few but we didn’t spot any.

Checking for snakes

Trees become bigger along the way

Pine trees tower over us

After a couple of miles we turned right out of the wood and onto an access road/track.

A mile later we were onto a minor road and every now & then cars passed forcing us to get as close as we could to the hedges.  A notice on a post along the way came to my attention.  ‘Sizewell C Not for me’.  Then further along a poster on a wooden stake with a warning about the building of another power station.

Sizewell poster

As we approached Eastbridge village we saw more posters.

Sizewell C posters

They have stark warnings.  I do hope that the surrounding areas are going to be protected some how but I have a bad feeling about that.  It’s the remote places that often bear the brunt of ‘progress’.

Eastbridge village is the gateway to RSPB Minsmere.  It’s a popular spot and on both days, as we passed the Eels Foot Inn it was busy.  It was obvious that this was where all the cars were headed to.  We would have loved a cool drink but couldn’t face the queue through the front door or to be honest the numbers of people.  It just isn’t worth the risk.

An Eastbridge cottage

A tiny road leads on towards the Minsmere.  It’s wonderfully surrounded by marsh and woods. A perfect reserve for wildlife.  We’ve visited a few time in the winter with our twitchers hats on!

A view of the marsh

The roadside verge

Into, around and out of the woods at Minsmere we followed a path back to Dunwich Heath.

Heading back to Dunwich Heath

Through another bit of woodland – we were on the home straight.

The woods between Dunwich Heath and Minsmere

Across the Heath, back past the ruins of Greyfriars Priory we made it back to the car.  Here we peeled off our boots and socks and sat enjoying the afternoon sunshine and people/car watching. 

What a great 12 mile walk – quite possibly our new favourite.  Let’s hope that next time we do it we can pop into the Eels Foot for some refreshment.