D53: FELIXSTOWE to CHELMONDISTON
Friday 17th September 2021
Today miles: 20.9 Total miles: 826.7
Finished off the last two slices of my large pepperoni pizza for breakfast before driving towards Landguard Point and parking up somewhere I hope is secure for the next three days. Last night I managed to clean my clothes in the bath, there still a little damp but hopefully the clear blue sky will help with that. As I walk out of town I’m passed by literally hundreds of HGV’s all heading towards the Felixstowe docks. When I reached the Western fringes of Felixstowe I encountered a set of locked metal gate blocking my access to the railway line. The attached sign tells me to use the nearby phone to contact the signalman before crossing. I follow the instructions and a few seconds later the gates are unlocked and I’m safely walking along the Stour and Orwell Walk towards Trimley Marshes. The noise from Harwich Harbour was quickly left behind and replaced by the sound of birds feeding on the marshes. I’d been walking for about 2 1/2 hours and was now starting to crave a strong cup of coffee. I hoped to find that particular refreshment at the Levington Marina so was disappointed when the footpath appeared to be diverting me away from the marina’s facilities. I was verbally cursing my luck when I stumbled across the ’Harbourside Kitchen’ Minutes later I had been provided with a latte and a slice of walnut cake, lovely.
I continued to follow the Stour and Orwell Walk past Levington. It’s a pretty area and very popular with dog walkers but what’s the fascination with black labradors in Suffolk. The S.O.W left the coast behind and now headed inland towards Nacton. I momentarily considered sticking to the coastline but the tide was still too high and I didn’t know how difficult and/or dangerous it might be. Instead I took to walking along the road. The route was very easy to follow until I reached the Southern edge of Bridge Wood. The signs had led me to a old bungalow surrounded with lots of small wooden sheds, old caravans and other bric-a-brac (ie: Scrap) lying around. I tried to find a path through the grounds but completely confused I ended up turning around and finding a different route. On finally exiting the woods I caught my first glimpse of Orwell Bridge. I’ve seen lots of different bridges on my various walks and this particular bridge, which crosses the River Orwell will not be winning any prizes for the prettiest. It’s a concrete box girder Bridge, that just about says it all. Having arrived under the bridge there’s a short steep climb until I found the metal stairs leading to the A14 road. Before crossing the bridge I sat down on the stairs and decided to eat some food, nice views but a bit noisy. The 800mt crossing of Orwell Bridge was uneventful and I arrived on the Western side of the River Orwell in the early afternoon.
I left the Stour and Orwell Walk behind and after a 30 minute stroll along a minor road I then ended up walking along the edge of the mudflats until I arrived at the Woolverstone Marina. My iphone battery was low and the staff at the marina restaurant allowed me to plug into their electric for two hours whilst I sat on the marina balcony and enjoyed two cold pints of beer. Now feeling fully refreshed I left the marina around 4pm with more then three hours of daylight left. I now had plenty of energy in the tank so having rejoined the Stour and Orwell Walk I continued past Pin Mill and enjoyed some nice woodland walking. I noticed lots of derelict, rotting and half sunken boats in the mud around here, also lots of occupied house boats on the river bank.
I reached the point on the River Orwell where I could see the Levington Marina on the opposite side of the water, the sun was also now beginning to descend in the sky. I continued for another few hundred metres until I found a nice flat spot on the top of the sea wall, ideal for pitching my tent. I could also see and hear the works at the Port of Felixstowe in the distance. I boiled water for a hot drink and some food and watched the container cranes doing their thing. Just before the sun set I erected my tent and settled down for what I hoped would be a good nights sleep.