It was a nice peaceful night in the Three Horseshoes Inn car park. Having gone online we discovered that we could not arrive at the campsite at Southwold until 14:00 hours, that's a very late arrival time. We felt we couldn't stay at the pub later than 11:00 as it was probably due to open then for another day of business. So once we were ready we fired up and made our way towards Southwold. We took the longer route via Lowestoft as we were in no hurry, and hoped that we could find a suitable lay-by to pull in to so that we could kill some time. Typically of course we came across nothing, and eventually we arrived at Southwold just over three hours early. We had no option but to pull in to a public car park and pay three pounds for three hours parking.
Whilst sat there we noticed a number of motorhomes and caravans driving past us making their way to the campsite just down the road. I suggested to The Chef that I phone them and see if we can get on to the site early, just like all the others. It was worth the call, and after having our lunch we made our way down to Southwold Caravan Site www.southwoldcamping.com GPS: N52.315520° E1.673113°, where we were told that they weren't sure if the campers in our allocated pitch had left or not. If they had not we should wait, and if they had, then we were free to occupy the pitch. They had gone, and we were in.
There was some confusion as to how we should position the vehicle following their guidelines, but in the end I had to apply my own interpretation and park accordingly.
We had already decided that today we would have a nice walk to Walberswick, one we'd done before, and tomorrow we'd walk in to Southwold itself.
Our campsite's main advantage is it's location. It's just a short walk to the sand dunes and beach, and just around the corner is the walk along the side of what I can only describe as an estuary, which leads to rivers leading in to The Broads. On the other side of it sits Walberswick, and walkers can walk beside the river until they reach a bridge which takes you across to Walberswick village.
So as we begin our trudge a little bit about Walberswick courtesy of the internet:
This delightful coastal village is a popular holiday destination for those who wish to experience Walberswick's unspoilt dunes, its beach and its charm.
Within Walberswick there are tea rooms, restaurants, two public houses, an art gallery, village shop, original crafts and gift shops. Fresh fish can be bought from the harbour huts on the Southwold side of the River Blyth, which may be crossed by pedestrians and cyclists either by the Bailey bridge or the foot ferry that runs during the summer months.
A wide variety of flora and fauna makes Walberswick popular with ramblers and visitors alike. A major attraction for children in summer is crabbing by the harbour, where bridges and river banks become crammed with buckets, lines – and foul smelling bait! From 1980 to 2010 Walberswick annually hosted the British Open Crabbing Championship ( I caught crabs in Mombasa many years ago - but that's another story). Over the years this annual family event has raised useful funds for various charities and good causes, both local and national, while participants enjoyed the delights of this simple outdoor pleasure.
The name Walberswick is believed to derive from the Saxon Waldbert or Walhbert – probably a landowner - and "wyc", meaning shelter or harbour. From medieval times through to the Twentieth Century the village was a thriving port trading in cheese, bacon, corn, timber and, of course, fish. Since the Victorian era many artists have come to Walberswick, notably including Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Philip Wilson Steer. This inspiration for artists continues up to the present day.
St. Andrews Church is at the top of the village, the size of the ruins within which it stands demonstrating how wealthy and large the Parish once was. In fact this was the village’s third church built at the end of the 15th Century. Once prosperous, the church lost its tithes, became decayed and had to be partly dismantled to provide for repairs and restoration to the south aisle.
Over a thousand acres of heath and marshland around Walberswick are protected as an Area of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB). Southwold is within strolling distance along one of the many beautiful walks in and around Walberswick.
Walberswick is a very beautiful village but the very factors that make it so popular with tourists, and indeed its inhabitants, have meant that recently, management schemes have had to be put in place so that the village and its wonderful environs may be preserved for this and future generations.
So there you have it.
The walk was most enjoyable, just as long as we made allowances for the Muppets who gave no thought to social distancing. Had we been strict we would have worn our masks the whole time, but it was a bit too hot to do so, and so we dodged around, gave way where we could and on footpaths where nobody could create space, just held our breath until we were clear of others. There were a couple of times I was tempted to pretend that I was about to have an enormous sneeze, just to see how others reacted, but in the end I couldn't be bothered.
Walberswick, over on the other side was as always delightful. Such a shame so many others had ventured out to enjoy the last of this year's good weather.
On our return we put the camping mat down and got the chairs out to enjoy a bit of sunshine hid behind the £9.99 windbreak I'd bought back in Cromer. I knew it would come in handy eventually.
This evening we are having to be a bit careful about the amount of power we draw from the leisure battery as we have no electrical hook-up available to us for the next two nights.
Tomorrow we shall have a lazy start to the day before walking up to Southwold for a good look around.