A walk through Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Trimley Marshes
- Credit: Archant
Bill Baldry finds quiet in the countryside very close to the noise and bustle of Felixstowe docks
Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Trimley Marshes nature reserve is now a wetland of international importance for birds, but this was agricultural land until about 25 years ago when Felixstowe docks expanded and this area was created.
From the car park go back down the road for 100 yards and turn left onto Keeper’s Track. Where this swings right maintain direction and reach a well-walked tree-lined green lane, leading to the wonderfully named Finger Bread Hill. Descend and then go left at a pond with fine overhanging willows.
Emerge from a small wood and go right, pass the farm buildings at Grimston Hall and go left and then along another straight stretch through mixed woodland. Follow the lane to the right past Alston Hall and then go left at the bend in the road onto a broad access track lined with pine trees.
Turn left, re-enter the Trimley Estate and descend to the River Orwell foreshore. Having enjoyed the woodland and field birdlife so far, now is the time for the lake and estuarine birdlife at Loompit Lake and on the river mudflats. Having paused to take in the bird activity, and the yachting and shipping on the river, go left up the rising path with the Orwell on your right. Soon join the raised river bank with the cranes of Felixstowe docks ahead. Little egrets love the streams and pools here.
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Use the link on the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Trimley marshes website http://www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/reserves/trimley-marshes to check for high tide times as this affects the number and type of birds to be seen at this area of tidal mudflat which was created in 2000. Follow the river wall into the SWT reserve, drop down to the lower path and look at the ducks, swans and other birdlife on the lagoons from one of the hides. When you reach the visitor centre, which is open most Wednesdays and at weekends, look for the notice by the door showing the level that the sea water reached in December 2013 – even the river wall, as high as it is, was not enough to hold back the tidal surge that night.
Walking away from the visitor centre, following the access track, the hum and noise of the docks slowly fades and bird song mixes once again with the crunch of gravel underfoot. Where the lane goes left you can take a short detour (quarter of a mile each way) to the right to Fagbury Cliff to see the activity of Britain’s largest container port with lorries swarming ant-like in the foreground and the North Sea and the church spire at Harwich beyond.
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Return to the track and follow uphill back to the car park.