Eastbridge: A treasured coastal landscape
- Credit: Archant
Richard Tyson makes a circuit from Kenton Hills to Eastbridge, including some countryside threatened by construction activities at Sizewell
Start the walk by going through the wooden gate at the far corner of the car park. Continue ahead on the pretty path through the wood and in four minutes take the right hand path. Fir trees are on the left and rhododendrons on the right; the latter will look nice in flower but are actually an invasive nuisance (our climate suits them, being similar to the Himalayas where they grow wild).
Keep straight on at the next junction then pass an open area on the left. Keep straight at several more left hand tracks until you pass a meadow on the right and reach a T-junction ahead. Turn right here – you are now on the Sandlings Walk (but the waymark to the right has been stolen). Wind about past a metal gate (two minutes) and go right at a crossroads of tracks (marked Sandlings Walk)
The forest is on the left as you pass a seat and information board for Goose Hill Marshes and in a couple of minutes your route crosses two wooden footbridges just after a right turn. This is one of the areas which might be affected during construction of a new power station – a road from the work area (see later) is planned to enter the site here although we are promised that access to the beach will be maintained.
The path goes ahead towards the sea with the proposed site of the new power station on the right (note the notice “construction site”).
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Reach the concrete cubes constructed about 1940, hopefully to deter German tanks, and turn left. The beach is beyond the dunes. Recent storms have eroded some of the dunes on this wild coast and thrown shingle over the dunes in places. I sat down for coffee and noticed something I had never seen here before – a guillemot swimming close to the shore being mobbed by gulls until it dived underwater!
We continued towards Minsmere Sluice where works are in progress; take the temporary bridge to the left so the straight channel of the Minsmere River is on your right (do not enter the RSPB reserve). We used the higher path with views across the reserve where a marsh harrier flew low along the far side of the reeds. Your direction is effectively straight on for over a mile but at three places you need to go left for a few yards then right to resume direction. Brent and barnacle geese grazed beside the route and an egret rose up from a ditch. Pass through a wooden gate at one point and at another the track becomes private while the route goes onto a footpath towards the houses of Eastbridge. Reach the tarred road and turn left ignoring the fact that the Eelsfoot Inn is only 200 yards to the right.
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We decided that our duty in writing this walk included checking this 200 yards and then enjoying sandwiches and a drink by the fire at this pub, which seems little altered from the time 70 years ago when rustic singing and dancing took place there on Saturday nights (the singing continues, but now on a Thursday night).
Resume the walk along the road towards Leiston passing a huge thatched barn then turn left onto a hedge-lined bridleway past a fairly new house. Continue for some time and pass a farm shrouded in scaffolding, which is labelled “EDF property services”. Land here on both sides may be used as a construction base for Sizewell C with car parks, hostels materials storage, etc. Pass woodland and hedges until in about 10 minutes your rustic bridleway reaches the start.