Walking beside the North Sea at Bawdsey and Shingle Street

shingle street walk, richard tyson, oct 31

shingle street walk, richard tyson, oct 31 - Credit: Archant

Richard Tyson enjoys some bracing sea air on this walk, which starts at the fortifications from both world wars at the end of East Lane. It then follows the recently-improved coastal path towards lonely Shingle Street. Continue via Alderton then return to the coast using marked footpaths.

shingle street walk, richard tyson, oct 31

shingle street walk, richard tyson, oct 31 - Credit: Archant

Many readers will have encountered paths such as the Norfolk Coast Path and the Cornwall Coastal Path. Recently it was announced that it is hoped to create a continuous path round the English coastline by 2020. Some of our route will probably become part of this “National Trail” if the project is completed.

At the East Lane car park go up to the top of the bank at the information board and turn left (north) so the North Sea is on the right. Until a few years ago the path also went south but severe erosion has destroyed the path for nearly a mile in that direction and a diversion inland (blue/gold signs) is now required to reach the mouth of the Deben. Our route stretches ahead towards the distant houses of remote Shingle Street hamlet. One Martello Tower lies behind and three others are seen in front. They are part of a defensive chain constructed in the early 1800s from Aldeburgh to Seaford in Sussex.

Erosion has been contained here with huge boulders but a wide shingle beach is soon on the right. Fresh water ponds popular with wildfowl lie on the left while sea and marsh are popular with birdwatchers. Pass the first Martello; the lagoons on the right are said to be natural but may have been created or enlarged during World War 2 to quarry shingle. Five minutes after the first tower there is a gate in front. Turn left down the bank; pass two heaps and your path follows the bank of a wide ditch on the left. Ignore a concrete bridge and continue to until you cross a wooden footbridge. The path now is easily followed towards white houses ahead in Alderton.

Reach the street where we were glad to drive away the damp with a coffee in the shop.

Bawdsey Walk map

Bawdsey Walk map - Credit: Archant

Turn right along “Hollesley Road”. Pass some new houses and a turf field then turn right down the Private Road past Buckanay Bungalow. This is a public footpath despite the footpath sign at the road pointing in the wrong direction. Pass the house and then veer left. The road passes between trees and an old sandpit with many bird and animal holes in the bright orange crag sand. The sea defence wall is reached again near Shingle Street; turn right along the wall to return to East Lane by the path or you can walk along shingle (or sand at low tide) nearer to the sea back to the start.

Most Read

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter