Voyage Award (2024)

Having finished the Trefoil 'Stars Award' I have decided to partake in the bronze 'Voyage' award. The award consists of  five sections, Service, Explore my world, Myself, Teamwork and Skills. I am going to start with  Explore my world and Teamwork.

Explore my World - Walk the Suffolk Coastal Footpath

The Suffolk Coastal Path covers an area of sixty miles. Although I enjoy walking I am not able to walk more than three to four miles at any one time. By splitting the walk into small chunks I hope to cover the distance by doing twenty separate walks. My first walk will be from Landguard Point in Felixstowe.

Landguard Point - Cobbold Point 

(Monday 4th March - 3.3 miles. Rout taken along the sea front. Time taken 1.25hrs)

Today is perfect for walking. Light cloud with sunshine and no wind. It is 9.55 and I am about to start my walk from Landguard Point.

The Point, one of the driest places in Britain, contains a 33 acre Nature Reserve of vegetated shingle which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. 
To my left I can hear the noise of machinery and lorries coming from the Port of Felixstowe. It is one of the largest container ports in the country.

I walk away from the nature reserve, through the car park and passed several holiday caravans before walking back to the sea front. There are a number of people out enjoying the best of the weather after several days/weeks of rain. I head towards the pier passing the children's play area and the gym equipment. (I'll not stop here today). The latest addition to Felixstowe, The Seashore Village, is now open and contains twenty-seven beach huts as well as a larger hut containing pods for hire.
Felixstowe Pier with Cobbold Point in the distance

The pier is very quiet this morning. From here to Cobbold Point always seems to be more noisy due to being nearer to the road. The Spa Pavillion is on my left and although there is no show on at the moment there are plenty of people enjoying coffee and cake in the restaurant.

On approaching Felixstowe Seafront Gardens I decide to cross the road and have a closer look. The gardens sit on cliffs between the town center and the beach. The eight Grade II listed gardens are of significant interest and given the town its title "The Garden Resort of East Anglia" The gardens were landscaped and planted over one hundreds year ago and were very popular in Victorian times. Many of the original plants still remain today.

Having passed the gardens and the Felix Hotel, which was built by Douglas Tollemarche in 1903. It was a hotel for nearly fifty year before changing to Harvest House which is a wedding venue and also sixty retirement apartments.
I can see Cobbold Point in the distance. Felix Thornley Cobbold erected the groynes known as Cobbold Point to protect his property which was becoming seriously threatened by the sea. It is now a popular landscape for photographers to take sunset shots.

My first walk is now complete. I have walked 3.3 miles between the two points and also another mile walking to Landguard Point to start the walk. 😊

Cobbold Point - Felixstowe Ferry 
(Wednesday 13th March - 2.2 miles. Route taken: sea front then Ferry Road and back to sea front. Time taken 50 mins)

It was a cloudy, but warm afternoon as I walked from Cobbold Point to Felixstowe Ferry. My husband, Laurence dropped me at the point and will meet me at the end of my walk.

The tide was in so after walking a short distance I climbed the steps which led me along a track to Ferry Road.

I continued on this road passing several beach huts until I reached the golf course where I crossed the green and walked along by the sea wall again. I found a good spot to take a photo of a Martello Tower
looking through the trees, across the golf course.

There were several people dotted around the golf course. The club was founded in 1880 and its 18-hole Martello course is the fifth-oldest in England.
Signs of spring are showing with bunches of daffodils in bloom.


Looking out to sea I can see Bawdsey Manor in the distance. Bawdsey became the world's first operational radar station in 1937 and played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The ground is sodden due to all the rain we have been experiencing and the path leading to Felixstowe Ferry is no exception. Felixstowe Ferry is a hamlet in Suffolk, approximately two miles northeast of Felixstowe at the mouth of the River Deben with a ferry to the Bawdsey peninsula.

I passed another Martello Tower and a group of houses which are former coast guard cottages, before reaching the ferry crossing. 

Deben ferries cross the river from Felixstowe Ferry to Bawdsey Quay. The ferry runs seasonally, from Easter to April at weekends only, 10am to 5pm, and daily from May to September, 10am to 5pm. Wave the bat at the end of the jetty to call the ferryman. There are several boats and fishing paraphernalia around and also some eating places.

Walking back to the car park I was fascinated by The Fish, which is made from odd bits of metal and spanners, washers and other metal tools. 

Bawdsey Quay - Bawdsey Lane East
(Monday 18th March - 2.2 miles.  Route taken: Bawdsey quay, through car park onto Ferry Road, School Lane and East Lane.  Time 50mins)

I'm glad today was a short walk as it was all on the road. I took a photo looking across the River Deben to Felixstowe Ferry where I finished my last walk.

I walked along Ferry Road, through the tree lined car park where I spotted a toad, and back onto Ferry Road. 

Walking along the road was peaceful with just the occasional vehicle passing. It was interesting to note the changes since my last walk. Most places are now drier, and spring has definitely sprung with spring flowers and green shoots on the trees.

Still some flooding

The birds were chirping merrily and a buzzard was calling while gliding on the currents. I passed Bawdsey Hall which is now a retreat and hotel. 
I turned right into School Lane. This is just a connecting road to East Lane and the home of the local primary school. Children from the nursery were busy having fun in the play area. A short walk along East Lane and I realised I was nearing the end of my walk when I saw the familiar line of trees in the distance and a  World War II communications tower.

Bawdsey battery was built and first occupied in 1942. The aim was to protect the stretch of coast line around Bawdsey. The battery observation post (which is on private land and dangerous to enter) is one of the best preserved examples of its kind.  

A hot chocolate and a snack was most welcome at the end of my walk.

Wild flower and birds seen at East Lane, Bawdsey

Bawdsey East Lane - Shingle Street
( Thursday 21st March - 2.2miles. Route taken: Sea wall. Time 1hour)

I have walked this part of the route before so am confident of where I am going. It is a warm day but overcast. The path on this part of the route is still very muddy and the track below is still water logged.

The coastline around East Lane has, over the centuries, experienced several episodes when defense works became necessary due to the risk of invasion. Recommendations for the defense of Bawdsey were made as early as the sixteenth century. In the early part of the nineteenth century fears of invasion by Napoleon led to the building of seven Martello Towers.
During World War II emergency coastal defenses were erected at Bawdsey to prevent invasions from the sea.

As I passed the various lagoons on by left I thought I saw the ears of a hare along the track below me. I expected it to have moved before I was near enough to get a photo but it didn't seem to know I was about. I took one photo and then moved forward to try for another. This time I did disturb it and it shot off up the side of the field.

Ahead of me I saw 'Found Tower', a luxury converted holiday let. It comprises almost a million bricks over three levels. There are 360 degree views and a roof terrace with panoramic views. Opposite the tower is another of the many lagoons along this part of the coast.

I heard so many birds on my walk. I saw Linnets, Oystercatchers, Egret, Skylarks and in one field I counted thirty four swans. (I wished I had my three hundred lens plus convertor with me).

Continuing along the footpath I passed another Martello Tower on my left and  a set of steeping stones on my right. I discovered that they were actual anti tank blocks.

From here I could see Shingle Street in the distance. It is always good to know when you are nearing your destination. Shingle Street is a remote stretch of coastline, known for it's shingle and pebble beach. The beach is at the mouth of the River Alde facing the 10-mile-long shingle spit, Orford Ness. The beach is a cove, with lagoons, where Terns lay their eggs nestled in the shingle and seals bask at the estuary entrance.

The houses in the above image were originally coast guard cottages. These were requisitioned in the 1940's by the military as they feared an invasion by the Germans. They are now holiday lets. The white line of shells running along the pebbled beach to the cottages were laid by two ladies, who were friends. They were diagnosed with breast cancer within two months of each other, and they laid the white whelk shells as part of their own therapy and vowed to return every six months to lay more. The tradition of adding to the trail has continued ever since.

The image above is much photographed by photographers with the lagoon in front of the bungalow. The lagoons at Shingle Street shift and move with the tides and the weather so each time you go you are likely to see something different from the last time you went.

Shingle Street - Boyton 2.7 miles
(Sunday 31st March - 2.7 miles. Route taken: Sea wall & marshes)

I was looking forward to this section of the walk as I have not walked here before. Unfortunately the weather was not as forecast and there was very heavy cloud and a strong north easterly wind. I found the going tough especially with the very uneven ground. However the wind surfers were having a great time.

I felt very alone, just me and my thoughts in this very desolate place. I heard the occasional call of an oystercatcher and a skylark. There were waders in some of the mud flats. I trudged on, battling against the wind. 
During World War II the quiet marshes became an area of strategic importance for siting defenses designed to stop a Germany invasion in this part of Suffolk.  July and September 1940, saw 633 pillboxes constructed in Suffolk. Several of these can be seen on the Suffolk Coastal walk. As I walked on I couldn't help thinking about the soldiers who had spent weeks/months in dugouts in all weathers defending our coast line.

I turned away from the pillbox and looked to the other side of the footpath. I could imagine what it would look like on this walk on a bright, sunny day with the plants in bloom and insects buzzing around. Birds nesting and maybe the odd grass snake slithering around. Definitely a walk to come back to in a few months time.

It started to rain as I approach Simpson Maltings. The maltings are one of the most exciting botanical sites on the Suffolk coast. The reserve was purchased for Suffolk Wildlife Trust by Francis Simpson, a well known Suffolk botanist, with the additional help of English nature.

Many coastal and saltmarsh plants grow among the various habitats which include sand, shingle, salt-marsh, inter-tidal mud and estuary creeks.
The salting's and other vegetation have survived due to the isolation of the area. Rare and fragile lichens grow here due to the fact that they haven't been trampled on.
Despite not having a heavy footfall humans still manage to litter the area with rubbish. Rubbish that is likely to cause harm to birds and other wild life.  When will humans learn that litter of any sort should be taken home, not dropped where they stand?

As I near the end of my journey I can imagine the beauty this marsh has to offer to wildlife. I am glad that it is free of todays 'business'. I will come back in a month or two, and sit and watch and listen and hopefully take some images of the the birds, the flowers and any other wildlife I see. This is an area that I hope will remain just as it is now.

Boyton - Butley - Orford
(Saturday 6th April 3.2 miles. Route taken: Sea wall, Butley Ferry, Sandy track, road.

I was a little taken aback when I started todays walk, face on into the wind. The plus side was it wasn't cold or wet. Once I turned onto the sea wall the wind was blowing into my side. The track was still very rutted so hard going on my ankles.
There were several more pill boxes along this section, some more intact than others.

The area was very marshy with many lagoons. There were flocks of Grey-lagged geese, Canada geese and swans on these.

It was good to hear and see Skylarks in flight. I did encounter a few more people on this stretch of the walk. (4 to be exact). I also saw two egrets and a cormorant. It is always good to see a sign showing I am still walking in the right direction. Over the stile and on I went.

As I neared Butley the boatmen were preparing their boat for the ferry crossing. I was a little nervous about going across in a rowing boat as it was rather windy. The husband and wife team in charge that day were very reassuring and informed me that they had rowed over 300 customers across in just one day.

The ferry crossing is the smallest licensed ferry in Europe. It has been operating from its present site since 1383 and is one of only two in Britain working under oars alone. As I boarded the boat my husband was taking photos.

Having braved the trip I arrived safely on the other side, walked the plank before arriving on dry land,  and continued my journey to Orford. 

 The walk from here to Orford was mostly done on sandy tracks and then country roads. It was mostly arable land with the occasional field of pigs.

The road sides are a mass of Alexanders (Smyrnium olousatrum) this year. They were an introduced species but are now widely naturalised especially in the south and southeast. There were also bluebells along the way. These are a good two weeks earlier than last year. There was also a mass of Springbeauty (Claytonia perfoliata) originally introduced from North America.

Once in Orford I visited Orford Castle. It was built between 1165 and 1173 by Henry II of England to consolidate royal power in the region. 

I also wandered around the quay before heading to the Jolly Sailor, (a 400 year old building) where I spent the night.

Orford - Iken
(Sunday 7th April. 3.5 miles. Route: Ferry Road 

Todays journey was all on country lanes. It made for easier walking but the scenery wasn't so interesting. Again it was agricultural with the occasion field of pigs. As I neared Iken I came across a house called Yarn Hall and also a hill with the same name. As I turned the corner at the bottom of the hill to head into Iken there was a sign with Yarn Hall Lincoln Reds. The Licoln Reds refer to a rare breed of cow which are reared at the farm. They have won various awards including the Red Crown at the Suffolk Show in 2023.

Iken is a quaint little village best known for St Boltophs church which is surrounded on three sides by water.

Iken - Snape
(Sunday 14th April - 2 miles. Route taken: From Church Lane Iken, the footpath taken was beside the River Alde through to Snape Maltings).

Today I had company. My daughter and grandaughter joined me for the walk. Looking across the marsh and the River Alde, Snape church can be seen in the distance.

It was a sunny day although the wind kept it cool. It was good to have companions to walk and talk with. We spotted black tailed Godwits on the water but unfortunately were too far away to get any photos.

It was obvious that this path was popular with walkers as we saw and passed several on our journey. My grandaughter was keen for me to take a photo of her and her mum.

It seemed no time at all before we saw the famous trees among the reeds that every photography takes a photo of just before reaching Snape.

First port of call on arrival at The Maltings was a snack and a drink. Once refreshed we wandered around the independant shops and galleries.
Snape Maltings is famous for the Snape Maltings Concert Hall, established by Benjamin Britten, and opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 1967.
Ever since Snape Maltings Concert Hall was created in 1967 artists have exhibited and installed work throughout the site.

The Family of Man - Barbara Hepworth

Snape Maltings through the eye

As we left Snape we stopped at Snape church. It's a village church that hasn't changed much over the years. Inside it has one of the best 15th century fonts I have ever seen. It is octagonal in style and each surface is covered with animals, and figures. It was plastered over in the early 1500s so it looked quite plain when William Doesing arrived in 1644 to wreak havoc.

Another part of my walk completed. I have now covered a third of the distance and am a little
ahead my set schedule.

Aldeburgh - Thorpeness
(Saturday 20th April -3 miles. Time taken 1hr 30min)

I was fortunate to walk this section of the coastal path with my husband as we were able to walk to Thorpeness and back. It was a dry day with a moderate northerly wind making it feel quite chilly as it blew directly into our faces. (Upside was, it would be blowing us back later on). The Scallop was my first stopping place.

This iconic shell, rising from the shingle is a tribute to composer, conductor and pianist, Benjamin Britten. He lived in Aldeburgh and walked the coastline from here to Thorpeness most days. Maggi Hambling, a local-born artist and a great fan of Benjamin Britten designed and made the sculpture.

Having checked we were going in the right direction we continued on our way. There were many wild flowers growing in the shingle and the gorse was a mass of bloom.

There are many houses, large and small, of which many are holiday lets or second homes. I think it would be quite bleak staying here in the winter time with the wind howling and the rain lashing down and the waves crashing against the shingle.
First stop in Thorpeness was a coffee shop. A hot drink, a piece of cake and time to warm up before exploring Thorpeness and the House in the Clouds.
Thorpeness was originally a small fishing village which Stuart Ogilvie bought to develop into a holiday village for self catering holidays. It is an unusual place with mock Tudor houses, a tree in the clouds and a mere with a Peter Pan theme.

The Mere is an artificial boating lake covering three acres with various streams running off the main lake. Various islands and buildings are named after J. M. Barrie's book Peter Pan.

The House in the Clouds was originally a water tower supplying water to the village houses. Water was pumped from the tower by a metal windpump. In 1920 Ogilvie bought an old post mill which he had dismantled and reassemble opposite the water tower to pump the water as he considered the metal windpump wasn't grand enough for his fantasy village. Today the water tower is a magnificent holiday let with amazing views across Thorpeness and beyond. 

Margaret Ogilvie Almshouses were built in 1926 for the workmen. Now they are retirement homes for clients over the age of 55 years, and who have lived in Suffolk for three years. There are twelve dwellings in all, each with one bedroom. 

We made our way back to Aldeburgh along the shingle beach. There were large swathes of sea kale growing in the shingle which will make a wonderful, flowering display in 4 -5 weeks time.

Once back in Aldeburgh we continued to walk along to the Moot Hall. The hall was built during the first half of the 16th century and is Grade I listed. It used to sit in the middle of the town but erosion over the centuries has brought it nearer to the coast. It was a key port and a center of ship building as well as having a large fishing fleet.  This coincided with the beginning of a period of prosperity in the town. 
It now houses the Aldeburgh museum, as well as being used for council meetings.

Fishing is still popular in Aldeburgh and there are several fishing boats and huts selling fresh fish. Much of the fish is sold to local resturants.

We walked a little further until the smell of fish and chips made us so hungry we decided to head back to the car and have some lunch. In all, we covered five miles but only three of those were on the Coastal Walk path.




Team Work - Warm Hub and Light Lunch

Last year I helped with warm hub sessions at our village hall in Layham from the end of November through to the end of March. The hub met every Tuesday morning from 10.00am - 12.00pm. Tea, coffee and biscuits were provided during the session. It proved very successful. We were awarded a grant from Babergh District Council to run the event.

Application for grants for the winter of 2023/2024 were not available until the end of December. No one from our village had come forward to run sessions for this winter. While listening to the news of how people were struggling over this period I decided to take the bull by the horns and put myself forward, with the backing of my husband. After deciding on a plan we met with the treasurer of our village hall to run our ideas passed her and to see if she would fill out an application for a grant. 
I wanted to do light lunches as well as the warm hub so I had worked out the cost for providing lunches for six weeks for twelve people.

Our application for a grant was accepted and our warm hub would run alternate Mondays to the Social Club. Posters advertising the event were put around the village and a notice was sent out via the Layham News as well as being advertised in the Hadleigh News. I arranged to take my food and hygiene certificate before the sessions started.

Monday 22nd January was our starting date. We opened at 11.00am. At 11.30am people began to arrive. All were greeted with a hot drink and a biscuit and introductions were made.  In all 14 lunches were served. Forms were given to all those present asking for their thoughts on the morning. The feed back was very positive and all said they would be coming again. New friendships were made during the morning.

The menu for the day was: soup with a roll, beans on toast or scrambled egg on toast ,followed by cake and a drink.

The kitchen was set out in a way that made it easy to work, with each person having their own working area. All cooking (except scrambled eggs) was done in the microwave. Toast was soon cooked in a newly purchased toaster.
All plates and bowls were kept warm in the oven.
Non cooked food was away from the cooked food area.

Review of the session
Plates and bowls to go in the oven earlier as the first two out were not warm enough.
To make sure temperature on the toaster is correctly set so as not to burn it.
Remove cakes and bread to a table in side room so toaster and kettle can be moved further away from the sink where washing up is done.
Kettles can be filled from hand washing.

Items Purchased
20soup bowls, 3 tea clothes, 1 whisk, 20 tins Heinz soup (varied) 6 400g tins baked beans, 30 soft rolls,
1 medium white loaf, 2 cakes, large packet biscuits, coffee, tea, sugar, milk, 1 home made sponge, 1 dozen eggs, 2 glass bowls, 2jugs.

Monday 29th January
14 lunches were served again today. The community spirit was good and all said they enjoyed the meal provided.

A few changes were made in the kitchen creating more work space. A small table was used to put cutlery, cakes and rolls on, plus some plates and bowls.
The toaster and kettles were moved away from the sink end allowing more room for soiled crockery and movement.
The cooker was used instead of the microwave and this proved more practical.

Items purchased
Scourers, dishcloths, 10 Heinz soups (various) Dettol multi purpose cleaner, nail brushes.

Monday 12th February

16 lunches were served today. People continue to enjoy being able to socialize and enjoy the lunches.
All lunches were prepared and cooked on the stove rather than using the microwave. This proved far more efficient. A cake was provided by one of the ladies attending the sessions which was much appreciated.

Items bought
2 cans soup, 1 dozen rolls, medium white cut loaf, eggs, milk, cakes.

Monday 26th February
Sixteen people sat down for lunch. Most people are arriving for a 12.00pm lunch although one or two ladies arrived soon after 11.00am for coffee and a chat.
All attendees are becoming well acquainted with each other and now move tables around so they can all sit together.
Scrambles egg and toast and coriander soup were popular this week, as was the chocolate cake.

As we near the end of the sessions we have decided to make apple crumble with custard instead of having cake for the next two weeks.

Items bought
Cut loaf, rolls, soups, cake, milk, eggs.

Monday 11th March
One new customer joined us today along with the local community police office who popped in to see how we all were. Sixteen sat down for lunch. The session went well and everyone appeared upbeat on such a miserable morning.
It is interesting to note how one week several soups are served and then another it is beans on toast or scrambled egg on toast. The apple crumble and custard was a great hit with every person having a portion. Many favourable comments and thankyou's were made for producing it.

Items bought
Cut loaf, rolls, soup, milk, butter pats, custard powder, chocolate biscuits.

Review of session
A small table was placed in the hall for dirty crockery so people wouldn't wander into the kitchen.
This worked well and meant washed crockery wasn't getting mixed up with crockery waiting to be washed.

Monday 25th March
Another new person joined us today. Some of the regulars weren't with us but we still served 15 lunches. A variety of dishes were served but all wanted apple crumble and custard for dessert. Attendees were sad today would be our last warm hub with lunches. Being able to come along and socialize with others has been most welcome in the village. Many asked if it would be repeated again next year.

Items bought
1doz rolls, cut loaf, baked beans, milk, flour, margarine

My overall Review 
I feel the sessions have been well received and that there is definitely a need for such sessions during the winter months so that people who are at home, often on their own have a reason to come out and enjoy the company of others - and have a warm lunch included.
Did I enjoy it? Yes, I did. It involved a lot of work before and after the sessions as well as during the sessions. The pleasure on hearing people having a good chat, in the warm and enjoying a meal, joining in with them was really heart warming.
Without my team I could not have achieved this and I am truly thankful to them. Their support has been invaluable.