Day 51: English Coastal Path

Day 51: BUTLEY to MELTON

Wednesday 15th September 2021

Today miles: 22.9 Total miles: 787.0

I was rudely awoken this morning by the loud rumbling of a tractor/combine harvester. To be honest the farm machine wasn’t as close as it had first sounded and my initial fear of being turned into roadkill disappeared. A quick look outside confirmed that the enormous machine was heading slowly in my direction so I packed away quickly and was off before my alarm sounded.
The same soft sandy paths of yesterday continued all the way towards Burrow Hill and having ascended and then descended that particular geographical structure in less then two minutes I decided it was the right time for some breakfast. My standard fare of porridge (with maple syrup) and coffee was quickly consumed and I continued along the Northern edge of the River Ore. I kept looking over to my right for a glimpse of the Hollesley Youth Custody Centre and/or the Young Offenders Institute but these are well hidden amongst the tall trees.

I was looking forward to the next 3 miles along Shingle Street, mainly due to the four Martello Towers which are positioned along this section of the coastline. These 18th century towers which are based on an original design from Martella, Corsica were built to try and repel the perceived threat from Napoleons French Army. Of the original 103 Martello towers constructed in England 47 (nearly half)of them still exist in various states of repair and uses. At each Martello Tower in turn I paused to take photos and tried to imagine what interesting things may have happened in each one. I swear one of the towers was even smiling at me.

I continued along the Suffolk Coast Path until I reached the ferry at Bawdsey, the area was busy with cars and people and I must admit that I was tempted, just for a micro second to take the small ferry across the mere 200ms of water. I instead turned inland and strode along the sea embankment on the edge of the River Deben. This isn’t a public footpath and as such the vegetation on the embankment quickly got too thick for me to walk through. I checked out both options and decided to walk along the seaward side instead. It was reasonably dry and I easily managed the two miles into Ramsholt, it was slow going but straightforward. I was also amazed by the amount of marine rubbish laying in the mudflats. My next stop ’The Ramsholt Arms’. I’d already read mixed reviews about the ‘Ramsholt Arms’ but during my visit the staff were very attentive and the mountain of fries and pulled pork burger was the best I’d ever eaten.

The next eight miles into Melton was a combination of farmers fields, short stretches of woodland and more embankment walking. My right heel which has been bothering me for a few months began to ache so I took plenty of short breaks. I wasn’t sure where I was going to spend tonight and on checking the map I decided walking an additional 3 miles through Melton and Woodbridge wasn’t an option. I settled on sleeping in the car which I’d done a few times before. Not ideal but then beggars can’t be choosers.

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