Autumn 2012

Peldon to Tollesbury | 31.10.12

Returning to the Peldon Rose, I find myself alone in the breakfast room. Heading out into narrow lanes that take me through the Wigboroughs, dodging traffic and finding nowhere for a late morning cup of tea.

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A left turn across a field leads me to Salcott Cum Virley and the tip of the creek i am to follow out to Old Hall Marshes. Walking past the village church I notice an invitation on the noticeboard to visit the church where tea and coffee facilities are available –  I jump. Inside a familiar name catches my eye but one which i had never expected to see in a church. i later discover that Rev. EP Starbuck had been the rector of the parish in 1878 – a long way from Seattle.

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Refreshed I turn left out of the church, over a gate and onto the sea wall where a familiar sigh greets me – a long grassy path snaking its way into the distance, mud and choppy grey sea. head down I follow the right hand bank of Salcott Channel and as I turn the blunt end of the peninsular I get a better look at the grey hulking shape of Bradwell Power Station, now decommissioned.

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I continue, through intermittent bursts of rain with Old Hall Marshes on the right, the grey landscape occasionally broken by the delightful colour of wild mushrooms and the cries from a flock of soggy sheep.

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A little later I pass a few drenched photographers with their eye on the sea birds and turning inland, past stables, i head out towards Tollesbury Fleet and finally to the charming Marina at Tollesbury. i am drenched, cold and hungry but am about to meet the kindest tea shop ladies in the World. not only do they let me owe them a meal. (I only had a plastic card) they also point me in the right direction of a B&B for the night. That evening, having finally found somewhere to rest my head i venture out into the ghoulish Halloween night to find something to eat. i find the Indian restaurant and as at breakfast, sit alone watching the young indian waiter, who has never been to India, fold napkins obsessively with his fine elegant fingers.

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Tollesbury to Maldon | 1.11.12

An early morning bus takes me back to Tollesbury where I push an envelope containing £10 through the door of the closed teashop. On the other side of a gate with information about Tollesbury Wick Marshes, the first part of today’s walk. The sky is grey but some weak winter sunshine lights up the far side of the marina, and walking on for a few more miles I come across an area of dead trees not unlike the ones on Southwold beach: in the same way they lift their branches in a silent entreaty to the heavens.

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A little later an information board points out the sight of the disused railway that was planned to take holidays down to the pier, blown up as a security precaution during the second world war.

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Leaving Tollesbury Wick Marshes I follow the coast passing Mill Point and on to Goldhanger. The weather has brightened and it is easy walking although hunger starts to become an issue – I must learn to be a bit more organized about provisions.

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As the sun is setting I walk into Heybridge Basin and stop to talk to a man working on his boat shed, eager to fill me in on the local history. Knowing I had to get back to London that evening I was forced to cut him short and hobble to the pub on the front where I am lucky enough to catch a taxi to Maldon. After a pint in Maldon I catch the bus to Chelmsford and the train back to London.

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