Sandbanks are shifting at resort

WALKERS can today get a new view of Felixstowe – from the sea!Because of the ever-shifting sandbanks at the mouth of the River Deben, people can now walk out offshore even at high tide in perfect safety.

WALKERS can today get a new view of Felixstowe - from the sea!

Because of the ever-shifting sandbanks at the mouth of the River Deben, people can now walk out offshore even at high tide in perfect safety.

It is a big change from 18 months ago when Coastguards and rescue groups were warning people walking out onto the Deben bar at low water to make sure they headed back as soon as possible or risk getting stranded.

Now the bar has changed shape dramatically and people can walk across to it and back at all states of the tide, and many have been walking their dogs to and from the sandbanks as part of their daily exercise route.


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They have been enjoying views of the coast from Felixstowe Ferry to Brackenbury which normally can only be seen from a boat.

Ipswich sector manager for the HM Coastguard, Jo Arlow said there was currently no danger for walkers.

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He said: "We are not suggesting it is a great idea or encouraging people to do it, but I have to say at this time you would not have a problem walking there and back at any state of the tide.

"We, and the harbourmaster, are keeping a close eye on the situation because we all know how quickly this area can change - one good storm overnight and it could all be very different again."

After receiving a number of calls about the situation and whether it was safe, the Coastguards held an exercise on the bar two weeks ago, walking out across the dry shingle for 200 metres and then firing flares from the end of the shingle spit.

He said: "We found you could walk down the steps near The Dip and just go straight out with dry feet, turn right and go out along the bar for around 200 metres, and then walk back again at high water.

"The river has re-routed and people are not in any danger at all."

Another spin-off was that it had created a fairly safe swimming area on The Dip side, which will be excellent for beach users if it lasts for this summer.

Many people believe the changes at the mouth of the Deben are cyclical and have seen the sandbanks change shape numerous times.

During the very hot summer of 2003, many people were walking out to the bar, sunbathing for hours and then finding the water six to seven feet deep when they wanted to return. A number were brought ashore by the Felixstowe rescue boat.

n. Do you remember any other time it was safe to walk on the sandbanks? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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