Richard's Rambles: A stroll to see one of Suffolk's symbols
PUBLISHED: 16:03 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:03 29 August 2018
Bit of a longer walk this time to stretch the legs – but a lovely stroll any time of the year with landscape that changes throughout the seasons. Perfect to Enjoy Felixstowe More.
Walk 2: Trimley Nature Reserve and foreshore
Distance: 6 miles
Map: OS Explorer 197
Route: Mix of paths – some gravel tracks, river wall is often uneven, some paths are muddy in winter, and there is quite a bit of up and down (who said Suffolk was flat?)
Parking: Cordy’s Lane, Trimley St Mary (just before Searson’s Farm)
Having parked just off the track at the end of Cordy’s Lane, Trimley St Mary, in the designated area off to your right, just before the entrance to Searson’s Farm, set off down the path towards the river, signposted nature reserve.
It’s just over half-a-mile (nearly all gently downhill) to the turning for the reserve and there are fine farmland views across to the river, an avenue of young horse chestnut trees to walk through, and Christmasyards Wood to enjoy en route.
The turning for the reserve is on your right and clearly marked.
A heavily-planted earth bund towers over you on your left on this stretch of the walk – this is the edge of the Port of Felixstowe and which hides the dock from view and muffles the clangs and thrumming of its machinery. The bund and the path edge are a haven for wildlife – birds, butterflies and lots of insects. Look out for the striking day-flying moth, the pink and black Cinnabar.
Follow the track for a mile to reach Trimley Marshes nature reserve, a 250-acre complex run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, where wildlife lives happily cheek by jowl with the busy industry of the port. Just before the end of the bund and the river, there is a high point on the bund accessed by steps which gives an interesting view over the reserve.
The wetland reserve is an important stopping off point for migrating birds and there is a large variety to see at all times of the year. It is home to one of the symbols of Suffolk – the avocet. There is something quite lovely about seeing avocets in spring with their young feeding in the shallow lagoons.
The reserve has a series of hides which you are welcome to visit to watch the birds – so make sure you take a pair of binoculars in your rucksack. Enjoy the sight of oystercatchers, redshank, curlews, lapwings, cormorants, wigeon, Brent geese, ringed plover, hobbies, and little egret to name just a few.
The walk continues upriver along the river wall – it can be a bit uneven in places – and we follow this for the next two miles. There is plenty to see! On the river side there are close-up views of cranes working some of the largest container ships afloat, the stunning scenery across the river to Shotley, and lots of craft of all sizes coming and going. On the landward side the farmland and nature reserve constantly changes in colours and texture throughout the year.
The path swings inland after a while where a section of the river wall has been breached to create a new tidal feeding area for wading birds, and goes right round the edge of this extensive area.
It’s then through some trees and up Sleighton Hill, where the path narrows. Near the top of the climb there is a bench in the trees offering lovely views of the river.
The path descends to Trimley Foreshore, a popular beach enjoyed by locals. At this point, take the path on your right and climb away from the river up a sand and gravel track that goes past the angler’s entrance to Loompit Lake before opening out with woods on your right and fields sloping away to your left.
At the top of the rise, just past a bench and at a junction where old building material has been dumped, take a path to your right, through an avenue of trees. It can be quite muddy here in places in winter. Look out for deer through the trees on either side – especially if you are walking early in the day. The path comes out on Grimston Lane, Trimley St Martin – turn right and when the road runs out opposite Alston Hall, take the next path on your left, also through an avenue of trees.
This brings you to Grimston Hall and the path swings right between barns and a field – about 100 yards ahead take a path on your left into the trees and down to a pond. In spring this wood is pretty with bluebells. Look out for small chub in the pond.
The path follows the pond edge and then immediately right to the bottom of Fingerbread Hill, go left and up.
Why is it so named? I am sure the much-missed, dear old Ray Howlett, the original ‘Mr Trimley’, would know. In spring this hill is lined deep with the white of cow parsley. There is a bench half-way up for those with tired legs – or who simply want to admire the view. Keep following this track – it eventually goes past Keeper’s Lodge – back to Cordy’s Lane. Turn right and the parking places are ahead.