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Less than a kilometre from the photography post at St Mary’s Church, this view provides a closer look at the River Orwell’s estuary saltmarshes.

Photos taken here will monitor how weather conditions and industrial activity affect the saltmarshes and the wildlife that inhabits them.

What am I looking at?

At this point you are looking out across the River Orwell estuary, where the river meets the sea as the tide comes in.

This part of the estuary is very close to the mouth of the river, where it opens out to sea.

Here, saltmarsh develops closer to dry land, providing essential flood protection and improving carbon storage.

What lives here?

Saltmarsh-dwelling insects such as the narrow-mouthed whorl snail and shortspur beetle, are preyed upon by many species of wading birds that probe deep into the soil such as greenshank, dunlin and sandpiper.

On rarer occasions, black brant geese, ring-necked ducks and glossy ibis have all been sported nearby.

Within the salt marshes, more plant species occur at the uppermost edge of the marshes (high tide line), such as glasswort and salicornia, where they are exposed to salt water for a shorter time.

Looking back…

  • Felixstowe Port was founded in 1875, withstanding two World Wards and numerous ownership changes.
  • The port has since undergone numerous terminal extensions, making it the busiest port in the country, dealing with 48% of the UK’s container trade.
  • 2km southwards along the coastal path is Martello Tower M – one of 29 similar towers built between 1808 and 1812 to resist a threatened Napoleonic invasion.
  • Martello Tower M at Shotley Point is located within the now-closed HMS Ganges, which was a key training base for the Royal Navy between 1905 and 1976.

Walks and more

This location is part of the long-distance (64km) Stour and Orwell walking route. However, for a shorter trip, the 8.7km ‘Two Rivers Walk’ takes in scenic coastal views. You can find out more via the Coast & Heaths website.

Shotley Marina is also home to the HMS Ganges Museum, which explains the naval history of the area.