24-27 August 2012: Darsham

The London Red Rope August Bank Holiday trip was to Darsham in Suffolk. The group stayed at Darsham Country Centre, which is the old station building.

“Friday 24th August I arrived straight from work with about half the group, including four well behaved teenage boys, at Darsham station. I soon discovered that the house we were staying in was not exactly very far from the station. In fact, if you felt so inclined, it was quite possible to sit and train spot in the dining room which looked directly out onto the platform of the station. Some of the group had arrived earlier in the day and had been for a walk during Friday afternoon.

On the boards in the marshes

On Saturday, after a short bus ride from the house to Dunwich, Angela then led a lovely walk, to the sea, across reed marshes on board walks to Walberswick, where we sampled their summer fete, and then back to Darsham through woods and across the Suffolk heath lands. It was great to get down to the sea. The weather was rather threatening then, but that did not stop Noirin bravely wading into it. It also gave the boys the opportunity to throw stones into the sea. I have usually found myself walking in hilly or mountainous countryside so a walk in the flatter marshes and heathland near Darsham I found a pleasant change. The scenery very much has its own character and is surprisingly wild.

On the beach

On the Sunday I set off on a bike ride also led by Angela. I had not been on a bike for some ten years or so and Angela, who rides regularly in hilly Brighton, is obviously made of tougher stuff than me. Within about ten minutes I realised that the landscape was not as flat as it at first appeared, that I had muscles in my legs that I had forgotten existed and that bicycle seats are not designed to be sat on. Cycling is in fact a great way of getting round the area but I am afraid that after about the halfway mark I chickened out and made my way back. I found the best way of traveling back was to free wheel down hills and to walk up hills. Very pretty way back. Angela continued on to explore Sizewell and Thorpeness which I would like to get to next time after a bit more practice.

On Sunday Noreen,  Sara and Polly took the train from Darsham to Saxmundham.   It was a beautiful sunny day which made our 6 mile walk back to camp delightful.  We meandered our way through one field after another in blissful silence from the noisy world.  We encountered two intrusions: one from a snake and the other from a bull and fortunately we managed to survive both.  We used both a map and a book and this proved a highly successfully and interesting way of navigating  as we were able to constantly compare the two and learn to map read just that little bit more.

A few pigs

Over the weekend we all ate together in the evenings employing the collective cooking and washing up skills of the group. Many thanks to those who put forward menus for each night and who cooked and who took responsibility for getting food on plates each evening. I also found it very valuable to be able to go away on a walking holiday with a group of people who have the same sort of outlook on life, so when we start talking together we know what we are talking about.

We also want to say a thank you to Pauline for organising the trip in the first place and sorting out things like the shopping so we had food there when we arrived.”

Members of the Darsham trip

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About Humphrey Southall

Director, Great Britain Historical GIS; Reader in Geography, University of Portsmouth
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