A Blast on the Heath

2015-05-25 12.05.02

Dunwich Heath

2015-05-25 13.05.59

Proof if you need it.

It’s Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK; spring break to use an Americanism and we are in Suffolk, dangling off Britain’s rump as it contours into the cold, cold sea. Today, unusually for a Bank Holiday is warm, often sunny and free of even a small squall so The Textiliste, Dog and I set off for Dunwich Heath and Mount Pleasant Farm for a walk and, after, a well earned cake.

2015-05-25 12.10.34

Spring in evidence with vibrant greens

We started at the National Trust Coastguard cottages which nestle on the end of Dunwich cliffs before they slope down to the marshes that comprise the Royal Society for the Protection of Bird’s site at Minsmere – which this week hosts the BBC’s Springwatch, a set of live programmes watching nature unfurl for a new year.

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Bird watchers out in force

The path, with the coast behind us sets off inland along silver sand through dead looking heather and scrubby gorse. The heather will take its time but by late summer the explosion of purple will damage the eye, falling off the light spectrum beyond violet in its intensity.

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A little water feature

Right now it’s the contrast with the fresh green of the ash and oak as they bud and leaf amongst the conifers that draws the eye.

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In amongst the trees

The path, westerly, wends its subtle way to an old mixed wood where the gnarled and crusty silver birch dominate. Rotten wood, the occasional dew pond or wetted rut break the dry monotony.

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the woods extend, endless enjoyment

Then as it seems the path will continue for ever it turns north and widens. Blossom appears at last in the open spaces less buffeted by the easterly salt winds off the north sea; the corn-like spikes on the conifers give the finger to the cold and presages a deepening of the undergrowth.

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Some trees are just beautiful in their isolation

We skirt Dunwich Heath, mixing narrow paths with bramble before reaching Mount Pleasant farm. This, curiously, was acquired, so a sign tells us, by the kind generosity of Pizza Hut customers. An incongruous if pleasing thought. The path, heading for the cliffs now is perhaps the most flower-packed with Campion and worts of various sorts.

2015-05-25 12.29.15

rude pine cones


The occasional building peeps through foliage and reminds us we are near Dunwich itself now. A caravan and camping park is well screened, though, so as not to irritate the vistas. But the road is close and the birdsong deadened by the combustion engine’s ubiquitous growl.

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Gaudy gorse

Out of the wood, the grey murky sea is to our left, in amongst the heather. We stop, distracted by a sticky popping sound; it can only be the gorse seeds exploding daintily by our feet. More people appear: we must be near the coast guards’ cottages again and the attractions of the tea room and beach.

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Fifty years ago my dad joked at the reluctance of people to leave their cars and whatever veneer of civilisation they had parked close by for the uncertain attractions of the countryside beyond the fence and tarmac; and it is still true today. We walked six miles and passed maybe ten people during five and half of those miles; but maybe thirty to forty people clustered in the remaining half mile by the car park. Go figure.

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they missed this by staying by the cars

There it is, perched on high and drawing us on with the promise of a barbecue or scone, tea of other temptation.

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coastguards cottages

We refuel. Dog begs daintily and finishes my roll hungrily. The beach and the pond take us on another detour before we sneak back to the low oven that is the car and home for a late lunch and snooze.

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and there’s the sea

This forms part of Restless Jo’s Monday Walks.

Other pics

2015-05-25 14.02.55 2015-05-25 14.02.16 2015-05-25 14.04.07

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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17 Responses to A Blast on the Heath

  1. willowdot21 says:

    Stunning, just stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Autism Mom says:

    So that’s what gorse looks like! Tolkien references gorse and I imagined the thorns bigger, lol! It looks like a lovely day, and your photos are beautiful, thank you for sharing them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rachel M says:

    Don’t get me started on cars …. worst invention ever!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      They do say cities in Western Europe were about to break down because of the sheer weight of horse manure which the car prevented. Maybe not the worst invention. Maybe that is the city.


      • Rachel M says:

        It’s good for the garden isn’t it? Ok, I’ll acknowledge that cars have their uses. The weight is too much in their favour though. We need to share the love with bicycles a bit more than we have been and perhaps make things a little bit difficult for cars to discourage their use.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        I’m with you. The Dutch do it so much better.


  4. restlessjo says:

    Hi Geoff and thanks a lot for the link 🙂 Sorry I haven’t been able to respond sooner. My Bank Holiday wasn’t at all as planned. Many thanks for sharing yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sherri says:

    Ahh…glorious Suffolk! And so, so true about cars that. I would like to know this: why is it that everywhere I go, whether in town or country, you can bet your bottom dollar that nearly every single time, there will be someone sitting in the car next to mine eating a sandwich or just…well…sitting there? I keep thinking about doing a blog post about it, ha! Lovely pics, glad you enjoyed your bank holiday 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Charli Mills says:

    You take such lovely walks. I hope you return when the heather is violet and blinding.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Canalside in Nottingham | restlessjo

  8. Had to laugh at the gorse. We NZer’s curse our ancestors for bringing it downunder as it spreads very fast in our climate! Though it does have a bright and cheerful flower.

    Liked by 1 person

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