Walking the Suffolk Coast 6(i)


‘Today’s Waste for Tomorrow’s World reads the slogan  emblazoned on the back of the large rubbish truck ahead.  We are driving north up the A12, east of Ipswich, and Secret Informant is speculating the existence of  an on-line bucket shop where corporate slogans and mission statements are manufactured , displayed and sold, as it were, off-the-peg. It is possible that the true intention of such slogans is to distract from the  design of the organisations that use them. To provide, for example,  comfort to us compulsive consumers, busy producing the waste, so that we feel free to consume more because, after all, it is contributing to ‘’Tomorrow’s World’’, in which the more we throw away today, the more responsibly this particular waste company will be enabled to behave, and the better the world will be for our grandchildren, on the principle perhaps,  that the toys that fall from Christmas crackers are better than iPhones.  Leaving the A12 and heading towards Aldeburgh, another lorry proclaims ‘’Potatoes are our Business’’. We will leave potatoes to them then.

Ebb Tide has selected a particularly picturesque car park for our meeting point, complete with two  large rubbish containers for storing today’s waste until tomorrow, Just outside Aldeburgh with  the Suffolk Coastal and Heathland Path running straight through it. Perfect.  Secret Informant has broken cover for the second time, once more putting his credibility on the line by walking with us.  Not many people have done this, and Ebb Tide, Master F. and myself find it infinitely reassuring.

We drive back to the Butley Oyster, noticing, as we park in the car park that the lawn has been cut since our last visit. Tantalising. Is it just someone living there or is about to re-open. Any information???

Anyone who likes soft fruit will tell you that it is proving a very good year for soft fruit, and our first stop is under a wild cherry tree, approximately 15 yards from the Butley Oyster (i.e. across the road) to pick some wild cherries. Then on down the lane to join the Suffolk Coastal and Heathland Path. Plenty of heathland on this walk for we have chosen not to follow the coast exactly, as curving round the sea wall is exposed on a hot summer day. The weather turns out to be not particularly hot at all, but we remain committed to our route. Through the lane. Past the Butley Mills studio, in the grounds of which, a sculpture of a tea cup (cracked) sits, pouring coal, with an oak leaf springing from the pile.

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The studios are the artistic home of the sculptor Laurence Edwards, and more information about his work can be found here. Passing the studios, the lane is bordered to the right by sea wall, and scaling it, we can see that we are actually walking alongside the  head of the Butley River estuary, which is an expansive reed bed from within which the eyes of another sculpture bead upon us malevolently.

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A quick recap: this post is one of a series that began with a walk along the length of the EssexCoast, and we are continuing northward, up the Suffolk coast, and God knows where, if anywhere, next. We haven’t come across very much woodland along this route and so the dark coniferous woodland of the Tunstall Forest comes as something of a novelty. Apparently started in the 1920s as a pine plantation, the storms of 1987 devastated it, and the opportun ity was taken to diversify planting, although forestry is not necessarily reckoned to be an environmental benefit in this area, known as The Sandlings,  which,in Suffolk, represents 1% of the entire global total of lowland and coastal heath.

Pigs are big in Suffolk. We come across a pig farm, There are loads of them  and whilst the younger ones greet us with interest,  the elders are remarkably unfazed, even disinterested. It is axiomatic that pigs do not fly, but perhaps less well known that they build nests.  There is concern among local conservation groups about intensive, factory pig-farming , and whilst these pigs are obviously outdoors, and not showing any signs of the traumas effecting factory farming, even open-farming is a complex business in a fragile environment.

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After the pigs a field with a sign, bewilderingly, No slug pellets thank you. Do visitors to this field – lettuce-lovers perhaps – bring slug pellets with them to conserve their favorite veg, scattering them as toxic breadcrumbs to pigeons, a bulwark  in the face of slugular onslaught?  Disappointingly, our speculation on the subject is spoiled by a rational explanation ; another sign telling us that the field is the site of an agronomical control experiment – some rows are slug-pelleted, others aren’t. Boring.

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