Every time I take Dusty out I look across the water to Walton-on-Naze. I used to cycle there when I was much younger, chain my bike up to the railings, then go and have fun all day on the pier! The pier is round the corner and out of sight.
Walton is next door to Frinton-on-Sea – There is a joke, “Harwich for the Continent, Frinton for the incontinent.” I love Frinton – it is old fashioned, but in a nice way!
We used to go over to Walton a lot before the kidlets started school. We’d have picnics and play on the parks and look up at the Naze Tower. That is something for another day I think – a climb to the top of the tower.
For some time I’ve wanted to go down the steps to the beach at the foot of the cliffs. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is a treasure trove of fossils.
When I was a child, I often found shark teeth on Harwich beach. I had no idea they were fossils. I wish I’d kept the hundreds I must have found over the years. I still have a few that my mum collected for my kids when they were small.
Anyway, back to Walton. Fortunately the steps down to the beach are staggered, so it’s a pretty easy climb up and down. You can see people at the top of the steps and also where people have by-passed the steps and just gone straight up - or down and left a pathway.
At the bottom, there is the new Crag Walk which protects the cliff beneath the Naze Tower. Then there are wooden steps down to the beach further along the cliffs.
Digging into the cliffs is strictly forbidden. You can understand why. With them being eroded at a rate of 2 metres a year and with the ever present danger of cliff falls as well as the cliffs being an SSSI there has to be a strict rule.
Yet we saw three different groups of people – adults and children – hacking at the cliff. One girl was running at them with a lump of wood she was using as a battering ram.
Himself was all for telling them off, but I held him back. If they’re not going to respect something that’s been there for 55 million years, they’re certainly not going to respect a person – and they were all holding sharp implements.
People should keep their picks and chisels at home in their tool sheds where they belong and not use them to destroy something so special and beautiful. They don't seem to realise how lucky they are to have access to the cliffs.
Anyway, enough of my ranting. I shall put my soap box away now and show you some more photos instead.
While we were there, there was a light cliff fall. Just a few crumbs clattering down.
We learnt how to tell a fossilised shell from a normal shell and my oldest grandson found three shark teeth. We found lots of fossilised wood which is very heavy and a few odd shaped bits that might be bones, but could just as easily be more wood. These are just some of the smaller pieces my grandson found (not the glass topped table - we found that in Argos).
My oldest granddaughter concentrated on shells and her finds included these fossils! (not the plastic lid - we found that in the kitchen).
It was a fascinating way to spend an afternoon and it was pleasantly warm on the beach.
From here, we can only see Felixstowe docks. From Walton we could see the docks and the other side of Felixstowe – the “holiday” side.
I wanted to see what here looked like from there, but we didn’t go far enough round the cliffs to see where we live. In this photo you can see the War Department at Beacon Hill in Harwich poking out in front of the cranes. I zoomed in and could see the Navyard Wharf (where the bright white building is) and the Low Lighthouse at Harwich is the tiny dark smudge in front of it and we could also see beach huts along Dovercourt sea front and St Nicholas church.
It looks as if those cranes tower over Harwich doesn’t it, but they don’t! It was strange seeing familiar places from a different perspective.
I want to go back there now, climb the tower (the view from the top must be amazing) and walk further round the beach to see what I can see!
Less than two weeks left of the school summer holidays. Boo!
Tomorrow we are going to pick up my far away granddaughters to bring back here for a short holiday. I can’t wait!
Oops, nearly forgot... Harley wanted to play, but Dusty had had a busy day!
**While I'm here, just want to point you towards a new blog, Jaunts Around Ireland where you'll find lovely photos and interesting facts!**