Day 52: English Coastal Path


Thursday 16th September 2021

Today miles: 18.8 Total miles: 805.8

I grabbed myself a quick cup of coffee from Woodbridge Costa before the half hour drive down to Felixstowe. I then parked up in Felixstowe town centre and jumped onto not one but two trains to get me back into Melton. There was a sea mist hanging around but it burnt away quickly so by the time I set off walking out of Melton the sun was already beating down through the clouds. I initially set off through Melton and then Woodbridge not exactly sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the walk actually was along the Western side of the River Deben. I passed by the famous Woodbridge Tide Mill, which is over 800 years old and still produces cornflour every day. Once out of Woodbridge I bumped into several dog walkers and when I mentioned todays plans a couple of them suggested that a break in the sea defence wall might cause me problems later. I quickly checked the map and confirmed the potential problem on the footpath about a kilometre North of Waldringfield.

So far today I’d been following the same route as the Sandlings Walk however shortly after rounding Martlesham Creek I left the excellent path behind and instead stuck close to the riverbank. As I continued along the sea wall the vegetation across the top got gradually thicker and thicker and I was forced to climb down and walk along the side of the mudflats. I finally reached the problematic gap in the sea wall and the tide was already high and the footpath covered with deep water. I decided even if the tide had been out the soft mud would have still made it impossible to walk across safely. I instead carefully headed inland, attempting to avoid the numerous ’trespass’ warning signs posted on my route towards Waldringfield. I continued to enjoy the walking despite the obvious confusion over my route. on checking the map there’s another potential gap in the sea wall about a mile away, adjecent to Hemley Hall. I decided to stick to minor roads until Hemley before I was able to then rejoin the river bank.

The sea wall after Hemley was much improved from the one I had experienced earlier today and the walking was fairly easy. It was still reasonably early in the day so I took plenty of short breaks and drank lots of water as I walked the next 3 miles towards Felixstowe Ferry. At FF I popped into the 1960’s American themed cafe and managed to pick up some additional water and a can of fizzy pop. I then sat on a wooden bench and enjoyed my drinks whilst looking over the River Deben towards Bawdsey. On the way into Felixstowe I passed a further two Martello towers, tower U in now an occupied dwelling and tower T located on Felixstowe golf course is currently unused

As I arrived on the Eastern edge of Felixstowe I got my first glimpse of the huge dockside cranes. These 100 metre high gantry cranes dominate the skyline as they work day and night lifting intermodal containers onto the enormous waiting ships. I sat down on a well manicured piece of grass, studied my map trying to decide on my options for the next few days. It took me a while to consider things and I ultimately decided that I’m going to leave my car in Felixstowe and walk for three days to Harwich before catching the ferry back to Felixstowe. There’s a lot of options for refreshments along the coastline towards Felixstowe but I resisted all of them. Instead I continued along the coast and headed towards Landguard Point before turning 180 and heading inland towards The Orwell Hotel, my chosen accommodation for tonight. It’s been a fantastic days walking but I’m looking forward to a nice bath, a comfortable bed and some proper food.

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