Photographs contributed by Martin; text by Anni.
Five of us met at Manningtree Station for 10am. It was one of those magical, blue summer days with enough sunshine and breeze to make for really good walking weather.
The walk incorporates the Essex Way and follows the Stour Estuary. The terrain was varied – a feast for the senses. We walked along the sea wall; traversed already harvested crops and formed an orderly line through still ripening wheat fields, paddling at Wrabness after our lunch stop.
As we walked through Manningtree, Miriam shared the historical information about Matthew Hopkins who in the early 17th century was (unofficially) the Witchfinder General in East Anglia. We also stopped to admire the Mistley Towers, which were part of the Church of St Mary the Virgin built in the 18th Century. Both ports are historically significant for brewing, and that unmistakable whiff of brewing hops and yeast was evident.
We walked on the sea wall, saw and heard a variety of different wading birds, ducks, geese and swans. The beach huts at Wrabness were gorgeous, with families making full use of the summer days for BBQ’s, fishing, swimming. We made sure we left the beach at the most convenient spot to continue our walk.
We made a special stop at the house of Grayson Perry in Wrabness – a site of architectural and artistic interest, and certainly worth a visit if you’re down that way. The house / chapel was designed by Grayson Perry to house his own art works and represent the character and qualities of Essex where it is situated.
The smell of the sea and refreshing wind were evident as we walked the last few miles through waving fields of gold and onto the sea wall towards Harwich. We had clocked up about 18 miles at this stage, and this is when the walking boots begin to pinch and the promise of a pint of something cold and refreshing are the motivation to keep going. And we did.
The pint of shandy went down a treat, and we caught the train from Harwich International back to Manningtree. A thoroughly satisfying day’s walking. Thanks Miriam and Co. for making it memorable.
p.s. It was also lovely to see some IOG members I hadn’t seen for a while. That’s the beauty of this group. You show up when you can for something that grabs your attention on the programme. It doesn’t matter if it is six days or months or even years since you’ve been. We’re always pleased to see you.