Sunday, 23 August 2009

The Search for Surlingham Inner - Part II

Searching for Surlingham Inner


YOU set off from Coldham Hall. You paddle up river and then turn left down to Bargate. You paddle under the chain that stops the hire boats running aground on the wherry wrecks and keep left. A tiny channel emerges, wide enough for a canoe, hardly enough for its oars.

And then keep going. Within seconds a tiny flash of silvery blue heralded my first kingfisher of the year. Welcome to the secret-ish passage to Surlingham Inner, a mysterious broad only accessible by canoe. From here you can make it down to the Outmeadows. According to the late Jack Points this area was all grazing meadow until the disastrous floods of 1912. "Six inches of rain fell during these few hours," he wrote in his book chronicling the history of Surlingham. "Sluices were broken, dykes silted up and pumping mills carried away. All the grazing marshes were inundated for the whole year and many of them never had cattle on them again. The Outmeadows near Surlingham Broad are now under water at every tide and the road that led to them has disappeared beneath undergrowth." These were huge changes to the landscape wreaked in the course of just one day ...and less than a century ago. Now? It's a great place to explore. Give it a go.

* Read part one of the search for Surlingham Inner here

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