beach huts, beach shop, cannon.Battle of Sole Bay, community radio station, flowers, fungus, GunHill, herring gull, high tide, lichen, life guards, pier, promenade, sand dunes, sea, seaside, shrubs, Southwold, Southwold & Walberswick ferry, Suffolk
My last but one post featured a walk we took on Dunwich beach. This post is about a walk at Southwold.
As most people who live near the sea know, the best time to visit the beach is after the end of the school holidays. There are fewer visitors and there’s a greater chance of finding somewhere to park your car. The sea is warmer than at the beginning of summer and with luck the weather is good too.
We have been having fairly changeable weather this summer so when we saw that the weather was bright and breezy the other Saturday afternoon we decided to make the most of it and go to Southwold. When we arrived we saw that the tide was right in and the northerly wind was causing the sea to be quite lively.
The waves were rolling in round the base of the steps that go down to the sand so we couldn’t get onto the beach just yet.
We walked along the promenade while the tide started to recede.
As I mentioned in a former post about Southwold, the pier was restored a few years ago. It is fun to walk out there when the tide is in and see the waves splashing just under your feet. There are places to sit and watch the waves and there are places to buy food and drink and shelter from the wind. The end of the pier is very popular with fishermen. This is a link to the Pier Cam which will show you a little of what we like to see. There isn’t much to see at night except the lighthouse flashing but during the day-time it’s quite interesting and you get to find out what the temperature is on the coast too. Don’t forget the time difference if you live overseas!
There seemed to be a number of young Herring Gulls about. (Larus argentatus)
It was a really pleasant walk along the front with other promenaders. As the sand started to appear people ventured onto the beach and the life guards marked out the safe bathing areas. Huddled in coats and blankets, the beach hut owners were sitting with the doors opened as they read or drank hot tea or coffee.
Elinor bewails the fact that our sea isn’t blue. The North Sea is not deep and the sand on the sea-floor gets churned up especially in stormy weather. Our sea is brown most of the time.
At the end of the prom. the path goes up the slope to Gun Hill.
On the 28th May 1672 a famous sea battle was fought just off-shore from Southwold. This was the Battle of Sole Bay when the English and French fleets clashed with the Dutch fleet. It was the first naval battle of the 3rd Anglo-Dutch War and ended with a tactically indecisive result though a strategic Dutch victory. The English and French fleets combined had a total of 71 warships and the Dutch had 61 vessels and the total number of men taking part was said to have been 50,000. There was great loss of life. James, Duke of York the brother of King Charles II was Admiral of the English Fleet and took up residence for the duration of the battle in Sutherland House in the town.
There are six 18lb cannon on the green and were given to the town in 1746 by The Royal Armouries as protection to shipping against raids.
Their last known firing was in 1842 to celebrate the then Prince of Wales birthday. Southwold was bombed during the First World War because the German army considered that Southwold might be a fortified place because they had seen the cannon. The cannon were buried for safety during the Second World War!
Another feature of Gun Hill is the radio station building.
The primary radio transmitting studio is located in an old WWII bunker in the grounds of St Felix School Reydon, a village next to Southwold but further inland.
A few naturalised garden plants thrive on the slopes up from the beach.
I don’t know what this flower is; I see it is suffering from mildew!
These plants are often planted for soil stabilisation or to act as a wind-break. They aren’t native but have been established here for a long time and do very well on the coast.
There are beach huts all the length of the sea-front.
This is one of the two kiosks that sell food and drink.
Walberswick is the seaside village next to Southwold going south down the coast. The two places are separated by the River Blyth as it flows out to sea. There is a ferry operating during the summer months.
We thought we might walk through the sand dunes to the ferry.
The Marram Grass (Ammophila arenaria) was bending in the strong wind.
I found a rather shrivelled fairy-ring.
The tree is small and suckers easily. It has thorny twigs that have silvery scales that rub off. The bark is fissured and peeling.
The leaves are long and thin with silvery scales on them. I couldn’t see any fruits on these trees so they were probably male trees.
There is a camp-site on the outskirts of the town.
We almost got to the River Blyth but Elinor began to get a back-ache and we had to turn round and make our way back to Southwold.
As well as the lighthouse you can see the tower of St Edmund’s church and the water tower.
Here we were approaching the pier again and the car park beyond it. You can also see the two-storey pavillion building at the end of the pier built in 1936.
I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Southwold.
Thanks for visiting!