Saturday, 25 June 2016

Walberswick (2016)

Patrick (P) and I have holidayed at the caravan site in Walberswick for about 15 years (see Cycling – a way of Life This year our stay was unusually short but eventful.

We arrived in the late afternoon on Monday. Bryony took pity on P and made sure I was armed with ready-made food. It had rained on and off all day so we both stayed resolutely in our caravan.

Early morning Walk

Early morning walk
There are real similarities between camping and caravanning. The first night always results in early morning waking. I got up for a prophylactic pee and decided my legs were still on the lurch (see – Fatigue and the Lurch I returned to bed and woke again just before 7. This was much more reasonable, so dressed and stomped off.

This walk has been refined over many years. It is designed to take in the sites of Walberswick and pass by the village shop for milk, newspaper, eggs and other essentials as necessary. It is designed such that it can be both shortened and extended at will, but nearly all versions pass by the shop.

It is time for my first glimpse of the sea.

I trudge pass by the empty camp site. Twenty years ago it teemed with activity from Whitsun to the end of September. However, local “do-gooders“ tried to put a stop to it in account of the unruly behaviour of some of the campers. These were mostly teenagers (including my own crop) having just been just released from exams. I acknowledge there was an element of bad behaviour, but for the most part it was not excessive. The end result though was that camping has been restricted to the standard six week school holiday.
Wooden structures in Walberswick

Over the dunes to the beach. The tide is very low. It must be the effect of the summer solstice. I was not tempted to test the water temperature. 

The walk takes me along the beach towards Southwold Harbour. The Walberswick side is astonishingly picturesque and much pictured wooden structures near the harbour entrance.

North bank harbour buildings
The harbour itself is really a series of moorings along the banks of the River Blyth. The picture above shows the north bank together with the workshops and harbour masters offices. The river grows shallow fairly rapidly but sailing craft are definitely stopped by the Bailey Bridge. 
Bailey Bridge - looking south

This is a footbridge that links Southwold and Walberswick. The bridge structure us quite unusual. It’s certainly very solid for a foot bridge. My best guess is that it was originally a narrow gauge railway bridge. See Wikipedia – Walberswick, Transport – which suggests that it formed part of the Halesworth to Southwold branch line and closed in 1929.

I follow the footpath back to Walberswick, bearing left just before the housing begins. Fortuitously, this leads to the village shop. 

From here there is a back route to the campsite. Unusually, I was quite tired after this walk.

The Ferry

It is tradition for P and I to walk to Southwold and we set off that afternoon through the village and passed the green, heading for the ferry.

Route to the ferry
The ferry is a rowing boat capable of holding 11 passengers or assorted passengers, bicycles and pet dogs.

Walberswick ferry
 My balding head definitely needs protection. In this case, a loose fitting cloth sun hat. Typically a light breeze whipped my hat off into the river just before the safety of the bank on the Southwold side. 

Forgetting that I’m 65 and over weight, I whipped over the side of the wooden landing and climbed down a thick wooden upright. My river soaked hat is little more than 12 inches below my feet but no matter how I position my hands I cannot reach it. My tummy is definitely in the way. Fortunately, a kindly gentleman, lies on his stomach and reaches my hat directly.

My fellow passengers were a little worried at my recklessness. One woman, concerned that I should get back in one piece, tried to help. But she blocked my route back so effectively that I nearly did fall in. However. I managed to return to solid ground and my soaking wet sun hat was returned to me.

P was only mildly perplexed at my silliness, but we continued with our walk to Southwold.

Ferry to Southwold
One of our favourite shops has always been Nutters – a delicatessen of deservedly high reputation. Unfortunately, Nutters is designed for the healthy, salt loving tourist, not for the recovering stroke patient. P went and investigated its delights on his own whilst I did some mundane grocery shopping.

Our return journey was uneventful, but after this round trip of nearly 5 miles, and associated adventures, feeling of fatigue was even more profound. I compensated by avoiding cooking that evening. We walked to the Bell Inn for food. 

P managed make his rather high class burger last until the following afternoon. Great for me, since I was basically let off cooking for yet another day.

The Reed Bed

One of the beauties of Walberswick are the serene reed bed walks. This one takes in the much pictured windmill in the reeds.

The serenity is itself a kind of perfection in relaxation, even though I was still tired from the previous day’s exertions. It is for me an essential part of a holiday in Walberswick.


  1. I need a hat these days for the same reason!


    1. Bryony feels that I should either tie it on with string or have a closer fitting hat. I feel that the string would look silly (or at least sillier) and the latter would be uncomfortable. I'm quite stubborn about these little things.

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