by alice | Jun 21, 2016 |

Jasper’s Jottings - Off The Beaten Track At Snape Marshes


Snape is a lovely village, made famous by Snape Maltings which celebrates the work of composer Benjamin Britten. The Maltings are a lovely place to visit themselves, but with Jasper in tow, we set off for the walk along the Snape Marshes on the opposite side of the River Alde.

It was too early in the year for the River Cruises to be cutting through the water so it was like stepping back in time seeing the river empty aside for the birds who make their home there. The reed beds themselves are full of life, with warblers and finches seemingly invisible as they sing and twitter. The footpath has a generous width allowing for walkers, and of course dogs, to pass each other comfortably, or if you’re out walking in a pair or group there is ample room to walk side by side.

The footpath is up on the river wall, on the right flows the River Alde and to the left sit green fields often home to grazing sheep and cattle. The river wall is bordered either side by reed beds, so straying dogs (such as Jasper) cannot cross onto the fields. Jasper was more than happy to race ahead on the path, making a game of disappearing as the path curved with the river only to run back as soon as I was in sight.

On the water I could see mute swans, mallards and shelduck and in the distance, Iken Cliffs where we had walked two days previously. The weather had improved from our last walk along the River Alde but sadly it was not as warm as it had been at Bawdsey either. Nevertheless, bundled up in my coat I was happy enough, and the weather couldn’t dampen Jasper’s spirits if it tried.

Walking along the footpath soon enough you come to a wooded area and the path forks both left and right. Jasper made the choice for me by sprinting to the right. We walked through the woods only to emerge once more by the river, only now we were about 100 yards further from the water’s edge. Jasper looked in need of a breather so we sat ourselves down for a break on a well placed bench and admired the view.

Once Jasper had caught his breath we were off again. The grass was a little soggy and it took a degree of consideration to step around the puddles that littered the path to avoid getting wet feet. Jasper was much more brazen in his attempt to cross the puddles and splashed his way through. Here, the path becomes a bit ‘off-road’ with slight dips and mounds in the ground. Once we had navigated our way through the path leveled out, once again wide and pretty straight. To the right ran a fence to border Snape Warren, an RSPB reserve. Dogs are welcome in the reserve so long as they are kept on a lead. I looped Jasper’s round his neck and we entered the reserve, hoping to see some feathery wildlife.

Unfortunately, it was a case of heard but not seen. There was the chatter of birds in the bushes, some recognisable such as blackbirds and robins, but the only birds on show were some plump woodpigeons. They didn’t look to happy to see Jasper but they must have been far too comfortable up on their branches to have any desire to move. I was disappointed that we hadn’t seen anything more exciting, but then a red kite swooped in overhead. Recognisable by their tails and broad wings, red kites are wonderful birds to watch. It is quite rare to spot one in this area of the country, so I was very pleased to have seen one. I was even fortunate enough to get a few photos before it flew further afield. Jasper, ever eager to make a move, was more than happy to lead me along the path to the other side of the reserve. We came out at the opposite side of the woods and soon found out way back to the river wall path.

Bring your dog on holiday! Stay near Snape Marshes at Box Cottage, Snape (sleeps 4), Writer’s Studio, Snape (sleeps 2) or The Blue House, Snape (sleeps 5)

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