The magical foreshore between England and Wales
Boatyard Slipway Estuary Snow
Come away with me for a short brisk walk to a magical muddy frontierland; the River Dee estuary between England and the mountains of North Wales.
As ever, all the pictures are snapped on the camera of my trusty phone.
And should you fancy making the journey yourself, you’ll find information and many more special places to discover in my book 52 Weekends by the Sea
So here’s the footpath:
From a gap in the trees a panoramic view over precious rare and protected heathland on the English shore opens up to reveal the Flintshire coast of North Wales across the River Dee – on a clear day the mountains of Snowdonia are revealed, but not in today’s snowy mood.
The path drops steeply through red sandstone of a former quarry reclaimed by silver birch, blooming yellow gorse, oak, birds of prey, badgers and lizards. Walkers are delivered to the flatland of the shore, passing by an iced field.
Then it’s a soggy squelch through mud to one of my favourite places, the boatyard.
Overwintering boats huddle for protection and consolation in the sad winter months of no sail.
Some await repair but not today – in the hush of snow there’s no activity, just the occasional flap of an estuary bird rising and squawking indignant at my arrival.
Tethered and wedged boats resist the lure of the slipway.
Anchors too are high and dry.
Marooned on the eerie saltmarsh, a scattering of idle hulks put me in mind of Magwitch, the murky convict, looming from the gloaming to terrify young Pip in Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations.
Stillness and cold winter light make for a distinctly tingly atmosphere.
For sale: somebody’s dreamboat?
And in a defunct tender, daffodils salute spring in what feels like deepest winter.
While an ancient life ring stands by, ever ready for the highest tide.