The wind runs in the reeds


I’ve just had a rare two days away with my husband at the north Norfolk coast, while our kids stayed with their grandparents (my lovely in-laws). We stayed at the Windmill in Cley, which has the most stunning views over the marshes to the sea. We saw this sign on a walk along the coastal path through Cley Marshes nature reserve. It so perfectly described the place we were in. We thought it must be a quote from a poem but there was nothing to indicate by whom. After a quick internet search, I found a longer excerpt:

‘In that country of luminous landscapes and wide horizons where the wind runs in the reeds and the slow rivers flow to our cold sea, a man may still sense and live something of the life of the older England which was uninhibited, free and natural.’

Alan Savory, Norfolk Fowler

Mmmmm… makes me tingle. I love the way he captures the atmosphere at the coast. It was published in 1953 and I think it’s out of print, but I’m going to buy a second-hand copy. The blurb on the bookshop website says: “Memories of wildfowling and rough shooting in Norfolk between the wars; the author’s houseboat on Breydon Water, recollections of the old professional gunners, snipe shooting, war on otters and much else.” Sounds like a great read!

As you’ll see from my photos, the landscape was breathtaking and the air was so fresh. As we walked through the reeds, along the shingle beach, and past the saline lagoons, we saw lots of wildlife – terns, egrets, dragonflies, butterflies and a little lizard – and some really pretty wildflowers. I know some as common garden weeds (bindweed, brambles, nettles, docks), and some are wild relatives of garden plants (mallows, daisies, sea holly), but many of these flowers are total strangers to me. We also saw a tiny sedum-like plant growing in the shingle, and a dead tree that was completely covered in vivid yellow lichen. This shows just how clean the air was there, as lichens will not tolerate high levels of air pollution.

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you visit Cley Marshes.