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Owner: squiz

Member#: 6644
Registered: 27-05-2007
Diary Entries: 1721

3rd January 2019
Hiking - Walking: Knettishall Heath
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Weather: cloudy
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Distance Covered: 4 miles (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)

Thursday 3rd January - walk **** – Knettishall Heath - cloudy.

We had 145 nights away in the van last year making a grand total of 1025 over the last 10 years. We are keen to get away for at least a few nights every month this year too. So, when our friend’s the Hurrells’ said come over on Friday for some bird watching at Lackford Lakes it seemed like a good idea to go a day early and stay out. We were not put off by the weather forecast saying that the temperatures are set to drop as we will be toasty under two quilts. Our plan was an easy morning at home before setting off for the 47-mile trip, arriving at 1 o’clock just in time for lunch, then have a walk until it got dark at four. We walked up to Felixstowe town centre in wall to wall sunshine before heading home to quickly pack the van and head into deepest Suffolk - sadly leaving the sunshine behind:( On the way I spotted two buzzards sitting in a tree top and parked in the second carpark at Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Knettishall Heath - the same spot we stopped overnight before. I don’t think you are supposed to park here at night but we think we are safe on a cold night in January! After cheese and biscuits (we know how to live on those Christmas leftovers!) Mag put on her favourite blue wellies and we set off at 2.30 in search of the Exmoor ponies. We followed the lovely wooded path back towards the main car park near the bridge and weir on the river Little Ouse. A quick check of the map had us deciding to do the green walk, the Long Heathland Trail of 2.5 miles:) You wander through a tapestry of woodland, riverside meadows and grasslands as well as heath, the big skies and sheer scale of Knettishall Heath make it an uplifting place – sorry I have been reading the information leaflet again!!!!
Wildlife is a bit thin on the ground but we spotted chattering grey squirrels, long tailed tits, gold finches and wrens but the Exmoor ponies brought to the area to roam free to control the heathland were nowhere to be seen! At the limit of the reserve you head back towards the road and we watched local farmers busy planting a huge field of potatoes. Then at the far car park we crossed the road and followed the black walk, the Long Riverside Trail along the Peddars Way. At the river you turn right and follow the path back to the weir passing at least 15 ponies feeding in a field, enclosed we think for the winter. It was getting dark now and we still had our sunglasses on! That made seeing where we were going a bit tricky!!! I was lucky to get some OK pics of the ponies as three come over for a drink by the fence:) Mag took a pic on her phone and sent it to Hannah, Arlo and Rob even though the signal here is hit and miss. We were getting our six-mile legs and were looking forward to a cuppa when Mag heard splashing in the river and we see a swirl on the far bank as the culprit disappears and we are pretty sure it must have been an otter but we can’t be sure as we couldn’t really see anything by this point thanks to the sunglasses! We arrived back at the van with the last of the dog walkers heading for home. I checked the GPS to discover we had walked 4 miles in two hours, a very pleasant afternoon:) We then got a WhatsApp message from Hannah who had shown Arlo the picture of me taking a picture of the pony and not only had he said horse and then Granddad but she had taped it too so we were able to hear him - it certainly brought a lump to my throat. We miss him loads even though we only saw him last week but hope to see him later in the month on our way to the mountains in search of some snow:)

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Knettishall Heath Here

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