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Bordered by the Orwell Estuary and the A14, Orwell Country Park officially opened in 1995, and has 3 main sites: Piper’s Vale, Braziers Wood and Bridge Wood – which is where this post is located.

The park comprises of 470-acre site of mixed lowland habitats, including ancient woodlandheathland, and mudflats.

What am I looking at?

You are overlooking the Orwell Estuary, where the river meets the sea as the tide comes in. This is an ‘estuarine erosion hotspot’ which means the shoreline changes rapidly as the tide naturally moves sediment.

The unusual leaning trees you can see here result from trees growing towards the water where there is less competition for sunlight. The roots of these trees stabilise the river bank, making it more resilient to erosion from tides, human activity and heavy rain.

There are also areas of low cliffssalt marsh and small areas of vegetated shingle on the lower reaches of the estuary.

The estuary is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA), a Site of Special Scienti­fic Interest (SSSI) and as a Ramsar site which is why it is so important that we reduce the impact on the area by keeping dogs on leads and avoiding disturbing the shoreline.

What lives here?

The Orwell Estuary is of international importance for wildlife providing habitats for approximately 50,000 over-wintering geesewading birds and fish that are attracted by the vast numbers of invertebrates living in the mudflats.

Look out for plovers, dunlins, avocets, and if you are very lucky you might even spot a glossy ibis.

Looking back….

  • Ancient Woodlands in England are designated as land, which have been continuously wooded since 1600 AD and contain rare or unusual species due to the low level of physical disturbance over a long period of time.
  • Bridge wood was felled and replaced with plantation woodland in the post-war period, though some individual tress from the original wood have survived.