New walk for Felixstowe

PARK and ride are the buzz words when it comes to getting in and out of town centres, but on the coast it's a case of park and walk.That's the new concept being encouraged at Felixstowe to try to ease the congestion at the picture-postcard fishing hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry.

PARK and ride are the buzz words when it comes to getting in and out of town centres, but on the coast it's a case of park and walk.

That's the new concept being encouraged at Felixstowe to try to ease the congestion at the picture-postcard fishing hamlet of Felixstowe Ferry.

To help visitors reach and enjoy the Ferry without clogging it with cars unable to turn round and with nowhere to park, a new circular walk has been created.

The idea is to leave your vehicle at Clifflands car park, Cliff Road, Old Felixstowe, and then stroll down to the hamlet at the mouth of the Deben, have a meal or a drink, or buy some fresh fish from one of the stalls, and then amble back along the Tomline Wall, through the golf course.

Countryside officials reckon it should take about 20 to 25 minutes each way.

It is certainly a beautiful walk - hot in summer, sometimes bracing, always something new to see.

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Setting off from the corner of Clifflands, where Suffolk Coast and Heaths have placed a very helpful information board with a clear map, it's down the wooden steps to the sea wall.

With the golf course on one side and the sea on the other, there is plenty to watch - and the shoreline here changes with every visit.

The shifting sandbanks at the mouth of the Deben are testing for sailors and the sea defences, which find themselves redundant at present, stranded inland and far from the waves, protected by thousands of tons of shingle. Come back months later and it will look very different.

From the tarmac path on the top of the wall, it is possible to see across to Bawdsey Manor.

Built by Sir Cuthbert Quilter in the 1880s and today a private school. But, of course, it is better known as the home of radar - where Sir Robert Watson Watt and his team worked on the invention which was to win the Battle of Britain.

Walkers also pass two Martello Towers from a much earlier conflict. Built in the 19th century when it was feared Napoleon would invade, the chain of 103 towers was the first line of defence.

They are striking features of the landscape even today.

With walls around 13ft thick on the seaward side and comprising 700,000 bricks, the squat towers were never put to the test.

Arriving at Felixstowe Ferry, walkers are greeted by the sound of the wind slapping halyards of boats against their masts, a place where it feels time has stood still.

There is the choice of two pubs - the Victoria and Ferry Boat Inn - or the café, and whether to float across the Deben to Bawdsey on the foot ferry or take the walk back.

The walk goes up onto the river wall alongside the café car park and past the houseboats until it meets the Tomline Wall on the left.

The wall, a giant dyke built as a sea wall by landowner Colonel George Tomline in the 1870s to protect the area, bisects the golf courses. For years there was a wrangle over whether people should be walking on it or not and now it is a permissive path, which means you can.

Beware the grass is long in places and it is uneven as it is not well walked, but it gives great views of the countryside, golf and sea, and takes you back to the golf club with the car park just behind.

What do you think of the new walk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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