Saturday, 27 March 2010

A Random Trail

This is a strange walk in a way – when I returned and looked at the map it seemed I'd been in among houses all the time, but it felt like it was mostly green open land – I guess it comes from being on footpaths, rather than on roads.

Anyway, I started off along the quay and cut through Boal Quay parking lot, and then through the streets between there and London Road. The houses here are an interesting mix of ages – a few 17th century cottages still remain, but the bulk are Victorian or Edwardian, with some in-fill building within the last 50 or so years – so one can walk along a terrace of solid Victorian 3 stories houses, and suddenly come upon a side street with a courtyard of 1990's build apartments.

Reaching London Road I cross at the first available place, and see in front of me a tiny alleyway - it's only about 3 feet across, and on one side has a Grand Victorian building, now quite run down, and on the other a plot where it looks like construction has started, but stopped a few years ago. I assume the ally must lead somewhere, so go down it. At the back of the at the end of the building plot I can see that there is another Victorian building, this one really run down and is boarded up. The path runs the length of the plot, then turns a sharp left, and is now only 2 feet wide, running between the abandoned boarded up building and a tall wooden fence. The path is strewn with beer cans and only runs for a few feet before it turns to the right, continues along to a wide road – what a strange little alleyway!

Continuing on I walk in the direction of where I think the brook that runs behind the cemetery must be, and I cross the main road and choose a street at random to walk down. Suddenly, this road opens up to a green open space, and there is a bridge crossing the stream. On the other side the path goes along the bank of the stream, and I decide to turn left, and walk along with the green and the water to one side, and more allotments to the other. On my walk the other day I went past a huge allotment site, and this one seems at least as big – it's good to see so many town folk growing their own!

After a very short time the path comes to the railway line, and crosses it – I'm kind of taken aback at the fact that there is just a gate each side that I open with signs telling me to stop, look and listen – somehow this doesn't seem right in the middle of town, more what I'd expect to see in the middle of the countryside.

The path continues along with trees to one side, and then crosses over the stream to back onto houses on my left, and a wide area with brambles growing on the right – worth remembering for the autumn when the blackberries will be ripe! I'm walking along thinking that this path must link up with the Railway cycle path somehow, but just as I'm thinking that, my path ends at an industrial site, so it obviously doesn't!

I walk for a bit on the road, and then spot another path leading back through the trees, and take that. After a while the path becomes one of the small streets with terrace houses on both sides, and crosses the railway again – this time with a crossing barrier and lights!

I turn left along another road, this one with bungalows on one side – quote pretty and open, and then I see that I'm crossing Tennyson Road and The Walks are opposite me! So it's a simple walk across them and back home.

When home I get out my Ordnance Survey map to try to see where I've been – I can re-trace my route, but I don't see the name of the stream is that I crossed, and it's not evident that there is some green open space there. I guess it's all in how you look at it – and I chose to think I went for a walk in the country!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Gaywood Walk

I set out with no clear objective in mind, apart from wanting to walk.

After walking along South Quay, down to Tuesday Market place, around the Town Quay and past True's Yard I came out to the Loke Road junction, and remembered that there was a small waterway behind the houses, so I thought I'd go along the path beside that for a way. This waterway – about 3 feet across and 4 or 5 deep, with maybe a foot or so of flowing water - is one of the man made drainage ways that keep this part of the world from being marsh land, and I find from my map that this one is called Bawsey Drain.

I start off along the well made path here, with the backs of the houses on one side, and the backs of a commercial development on the other. This doesn't sound very promising, I know, and indeed there is evidence of some fly tipping in the stream – a supermarket trolley which is filled with water plants, a sofa with one end in the water. But even here, there are ducks swimming around, and grass growing on the banks, evidence that nature is not tamed. Every so often along the way there are foot bridges over the water, but I just carry on along the waterside, across roads, still with buildings on both sides.

Then as I cross one more road, the houses on the far side give way to allotments – and what a lot of them there are! Many with sheds and other structures. And in the distance, I hear the unmistakable sound of turkeys – evidence that it's not just veg that is being kept here. A bit further along, and there is another drainage channel running into the one I'm following. The land on the other side appears to be scrub land, with a newer building in the distance, and with the way the Drains run, it looks like it has a moat round it! The houses on my side of the river seem more spacious now too as the path takes me out of the centre and through North Lynn.

Soon I am coming towards the sports centre with the imaginative title of Lynn Sport, and an interesting area set up for competitive fishing! Here I have to cross over to the right bank of the water, and the path goes across between the playing fields, away from the stream. However, one can still walk alongside the water on the bank, and so I do this, as the Drain loops around the field. There is a screen of trees here, and the waterway is somewhat wider and deeper, and it feels almost like “real” countryside!

And then I come to an abrupt junction, where the Drain joins the Gaywood River, and I turn left along the appropriately named “Riverside”. And this is a simply wonderful little street – here on this side of the river there are a parade of small one story cottages facing the street, and then the grass bank of the river. On the other bank the houses have gardens coming down to the riverbank, and many of them are open with no fence, giving the appearance of a tiny countryside village.

But I can hear that I'm approaching a main road, and I soon emerge onto Wotton Road. Crossing over, I see that the river is boarded on both sides by private land, and though I walk a little way along to see if I can re-gain the riverbank, I eventually give this up, and retrace my steps back to the main road.

Rather than return the way I came, I decide to follow the Gaywood River, and this takes me on the other side of Lynn Sport. The houses on the other bank here have large gardens, and some have made a feature of the riverbank – one having built a deck with a seating area. Another appears to be in the process of building some sort of similar structure, and a third has a chicken coup!

After a while, the path I'm on becomes a road with houses on my side too, and then the river makes an abrupt turn to the right, and I follow it along an unmade road prettily called “Swan Lane”. This road also has small cottages along the road, and feels very rural, even though on the other bank I can see the back of the new super store which I know is on the busy Gaywood Road.

At the end of Swan Lane one of Lynn's many cycle paths cross the river, which I cross to continue following the river bank, but this is soon blocked by a fence, with what appears to be a farmers field the other side, so I go back and follow the path instead. This takes me across Gaywood Road, and then runs next to King Edward VII School, where the school-kids are out playing sports.

I'm familiar with this path – called the Railway Path – which runs next to the King's Lynn to London line, between mature trees. Then I'm across Tennyson Road and into the Walks, and nearly home. As I continue across the Walks, it occurs to me that the waterways here are probably the Gaywood river – I hadn't previously thought what this might be, but checking on the map later shows that indeed this is the case.

Overall an interesting and amusing walk – although I was always in one part of town or another, by following the waterways I saw a different, and more rural face to the area than anyone speeding past in a car will ever see.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

of birds....

I'm sitting here in my living room with a cup of flavoured coffee and watching the sun outside my window, the river flowing by, and the birds in my little walled garden. A starling was just pulling at some of the moss on the garden wall, and some Blue Tits are currently flitting in and out of the trees.

My lease doesn't let me keep pets here, so since early winter I've been encouraging birds into my garden by putting out feeders for them, and this spring I've been trying to keep a note of the species that come visit. So far this week I've identified wood-pigeon, collard dove, blackbird, starling, blue tit, great tit, coal tit and house sparrow. There were a couple of others, but they flew away before I could get my book out to identify them!

It's interesting that the seagulls that are all around diving and flying over the river don't come into the garden - I suspect that it's too small for them with it's enclosing walls. My neighbour on the other side of the courtyard has her own private garden too, but this is not enclosed by walls, and right now the gulls are flying past my window to get at the food she's just put out. She intends it for smaller birds, but the gulls don't mind!!

There is always something to look at on the river – often just the river itself as it is quite amazing how it flows in so fast! During the winter, he flocks of birds would fly back and for the to the feeding grounds out on the Wash in the mornings and evenings: now that many of the migrants have flown north for the breading season, there are less noisy flights of birds, but there still seem to be plenty of them around, and it still causes me to stop and watch as they go by.

And all this just from sitting here looking out of my window!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunshine on the river

I've lived here in Lynn just over a year, and I'm still really inspired by the river and the sights here. Today I went for a walk over to East Lynn and back, a gentle walk of about a mile and a half each way. We start from the Quay side, and on this bright sunny afternoon there were quite a few people around just walking, and a couple of people sitting in their cars listening to music or reading. On one of the benches is a guy reading a book, and he is surrounded by 3 beer cans – normally we don;t see much littering around here, so I wonder if they belong to the reader?

As I walk on I notice two of the fishing boats moored at Boal Quay – these are working boats, but they look so smart and fresh that they might well be toys floating on the water. And just as I'm admiring them, I become away of the salt smell of the sea – maybe this is just fancy, but maybe not:)

I then take a short cut across the parking lot – late last year they re-covered the upper part here with new shingle, and most of it is now fully incorporated into a tight surface, but here and there, where the cars haven't been too much, it is still loose and like a beach – hard, but fun, to walk through.

And then I regain the path and follow it to the top of the dyke. The sun is shining from an achingly blue sky, and this is reflected in the river, which is a beep blue, and sparkling in the sun. The river is rarely still, and right now it's slowly flowing, with eddies and currents easily seen in the bright water. All the way along the path I'm captivated by the play of light on the water, except when a sea bird swooped into view and I stop to watch its graceful glide.

As I approach the bridge, the path takes me past some allotment land, and there are 2 bonfires there which draw my attention. The plot holders have been busy, I can see, with most of the plot looking newly dug over, and I think back for a while to another life where I had an allotment.

Soon I'm at the bridge, and I start to cross over, and the noise of traffic reminds me of how peaceful the river path had been. This route takes me past an business estate, still now on a Sunday, but I see that they are developing this, and putting a new road in, complete with new bridge over a small drainage channel. At the end of the road I turn off the path and walk along side the road for a while – I have the choice of walking on the roadway itself, or on the muddy side of the road. This is not somewhere I'd normally choose to walk, but I'm on my way to a cafe, and I stop there for a drink and to use their restrooms, before turning around and re-tracing my steps.

By the time I arrive back home I'm quite warm and very glad that I am blessed by being able to live by this exciting and ever changing river.