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News and views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
Issue 8 Spring 2009
Gull on masthead

Nature in abundance

We are fortunate, blessed even, to be living in this town with easy access to the river, coast, water-meadows, heathland, woods and reed-beds. Rachel Carson, whose book Silent spring made such an impact on us all, once said: "Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts!" We must all be in tune with nature we are part of Creation, and our lives are enhanced and extended if we seek and find enjoyment in nature.

To walk, for example, along the bank of the River Deben is to be aware of the variety of bird life in and around the river herons, gulls, ringed plovers, oyster-catchers, the curlew with its elegant bill, the noisy redshanks and the mute swan are often to be seen. In season the reed beds are alive with warblers and the water meadows full of flowers, insects, spiders and some amphibians. Time was when both coypu and water voles inhabited the wetlands locally.

Further afield, the sandlings or heathland offer us the opportunity to walk and to look, to gaze at the summer visitors such as nightjars and the ever-present, ever increasing deer Fallow, Roe and Red Deer and sometimes the Muntjac can be seen moving across the heaths, in and out of woodlands, and around farmland. The heaths in summer present to us such creatures as the minator beetle, lizard, adders, stonechats and kestrels, whilst a variety of plants harebell, restharrow and sometimes sundew and heath spotted orchid can be found.

Keep walking
The Suffolk coast, although lacking rock pools, is not without its distinctive flora and fauna. On shingle grows sea kale, yellow horned poppy and sea holly, the latter once eaten as eringoes (candied roots) and Colchester was the centre of the eringo trade. We cannot always expect to find everything mentioned here; that we can be in the midst of the animals and plants, walking for both the pleasure of being alive and for exercise, more than compensates for any disappointment. Keep walking it costs nothing except a little energy. Keep looking and learning. And contemplate the beauty of the Earth!