Walking on Wallasea Island

How time flies! I recall I had earlier blogged about the “Wallasea Island” project, but surprised to find it was nearly two years ago since I did so. According to the RSPB website: Wallasea Island Wild Coast project is a landmark conservation and engineering scheme for the 21st century, on a scale never before attempted in the UK and the largest of its type in Europe. The aim of this project is to combat the threats from climate change and coastal flooding by recreating the ancient wetland landscape of mudflats and saltmarsh, lagoons and pasture. It will also help to compensate for the loss of such tidal habitats elsewhere in England. Once completed, this will provide a haven for a wonderful array of nationally and internationally important wildlife and an amazing place for the local community, and those from further afield, to come and enjoy”, and while visitors are welcome and there is a lot already that is visitor friendly: well maintained footpaths, benches and shelters etc., the project won’t complete until 2025.

wallasea

I have enjoyed walking the great outdoors, usually alone, ever since my youth, and look back on many a delightful walking experience, combining good exercise, a chance to think and reflect and to enjoy the great outdoors. I can look back with pride that I have “done” nearly all the peaks in the Lake District and several long distance paths dotted around the country, but age and health have caught up with me and this has significantly limited my walking ambitions. Here “flat Essex” scores over “hilly Cumbria” and as I discovered in the past few weeks, Wallasea Island provides rich scope for new walking experiences. I am grateful I can still walk, like on Wallasea Island, and have derived a lot of pleasure from doing so.

I have recently managed a number of walks, usually alone, on the comfortable, well marked and well maintained footpaths that exist on Wallasea Island (with I suspect more to follow). After finding the car park, the main path is only a few yards away and parallels the River Crouch. Clearly discernible in the distance were the sailing boats (another cause for nostalgia).  After a little less than a mile, the path becomes two. One continues along the Crouch and ends at a purpose built shelter at the point the Crouch meets the Roche. I found this to be a great place just to observe, mediate, eat my lunch and read my book. The other goes inland and passes a number of mini, probably man made, lakes, some of which have an amazing collection of geese (no idea on specific details) meandering in and around, and this path too ends at a shelter, again by the Roche but further upstream. What can I say about the scenery, besides it being flat? The above photo is typical. I can imagine on a gloomy wintry day, it offers a bleak prospect but in a strange way every bit as a beautiful as my beloved Lake District. There is an “interesting” combination of construction and agricultural work being done, and not too many walkers. A number I noticed have serious looking cameras as there is a variety of bird life to spot. One I approached was rather pleased to have spotted a small colony of yellow wagtails.

I anticipate more walks to follow. I have no doubt the project will continue and we will see in the future something quite outstanding. I hope so; I believe it is an excellent project. I have no hesitation in recommending this as a place to walk for any with a few hours to spare. Besides delightful countryside, not just on the Island but in the surrounding area, there are a number of pubs, subject perhaps for another blog, knowing from experience this is where walkers tend to end up. I am happy to commend the idea of walking and exploring Wallasea Island and supporting “the project”, as a worthwhile undertaking for friends, who want a  healthy, enjoyable, natural escape from “(maybe not so) normal life”, and who want to leave a worthwhile legacy to the next generation, to be involved in.

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