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This post, situated in the grounds of Shotley Church, displays contrasting natural and fabricated landscapes of the Orwell estuary and Felixstowe docks

Over the next 5 years we will be able to monitor and record coast and seasonal change and possibly light pollution.

What am I looking at?

At Shotley, both the River Stour and Orwell meet before flowing into the North Sea. This view looks over the River Orwell, with the River Stour just to the right in the distance.

Both are categorised as estuaries, as the rivers meet the sea when the tide comes in.

During low tide, the exposed mudflats are home to millions of tiny creatures which are an essential food source for many wading birds. Mudflats have a distinctive smell, like rotten eggs, this comes from the bacteria that lives in the mud being exposed during low tide.

What lives here?

Every autumn 40,000 wildfowl and wading birds make an incredible journey to feed and roost here on the saltmarshes and mudflats. You can often see vast flocks probing the mud.

Migrating birds, such as sandpiper and greenshank, are present in spring and autumn.

Drainage dykes inland of the river ‘walls’ provide a vital habitat for insects, including the Emperor Dragonfly, the largest in the UK.

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….

  • Mary’s Church dates from the 1400s, opposite is a naval cemetery. It contains the graves of sailors from the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy and the Dutch and German Navies who died during WWII.
  • The Royal Navy Training Establishment at Shotley opened in 1905 and over 150,000 Naval Cadets were trained up until it closed in 1976. The former site of HMS Ganges at Shotley Gate is now designated for housing.
  • Shotley is proud to be the first Walkers Are Welcome accredited village in Suffolk. This accreditation was achieved with thanks to Discover Suffolk and the Coastal Access team.


Walks and more

If history is your thing, the HMS Ganges Museum, located at Shotley Marina, tells the story of HMS Ganges with many exhibits, photographs and artefacts on display.

From here you can embark on the ‘Two Rivers Walk’ – an 8.7km walk that takes in views of both the River Orwell and Stour. For navigation information visit our Walk Explorer Guide.