I remember Peto’s Marsh when it was beans. Rotten beans, they were: a crop doomed to be ploughed back in as a dead loss. You don’t need to be a crash-hot farmer to work out that a marsh is a suboptimal habitat for beans.
Not a bean in sight these days. Cindy, Eddie and I paid a Sunday visit: Peto’s Marsh is now part of Carlton Marshes nature reserve, which is run by Suffolk Wildlife Trust.
It’s been a triumph, and a triumph that has hardly begun. It’s within walking distance of Lowestoft, and yet there are a thousand acres of wide open marshes just the Suffolk side of the River Waveney.
We could see the extraordinary new visitor centre, still under construction, everything held up by the damn virus, of course: but it’ll great when it’s finished; people, especially children, will learn more about the fabulous nature of nature behind those lofty glass walls.
But nothing has been held up on the actual marshes: on a warm still day the place was full of the urgent, but perhaps slightly self-satisfied feeling of a good breeding season in full swing, the first urgencies gone.
As we walked along the river wall, sedge warblers and reed warblers were interrupted by the occasional sudden shout of Cettis. We could look beyond at more birds getting on the business of breeding, with butterflies round our ankles, mostly meadow browns, and a series of different dragonflies that pushed my ID skills too far.
And people. A few birders, sure, but most of them were just people stepping out because they fancied a good hit of nature, people with souls that needed a little restoring. A skylark soared up and did his stuff: avocets and egrets added their touch of elegance.
I wouldn’t for the world run Lowestoft down, but it’ll never be confused with Chelsea. And yet here on Lowestoft’s edge there is more loveliness than you would find on the Kings Road if you walked up and down between Sloane Square and the World’s End pub without stopping for a century. No one misses those beans.
Wild June 12 Eddie’s Blog