There was rain during the night but the morning was fairly bright. We said goodbye to our hostess, Jan, and started on our journey to our next campsite. The idea was to visit RSPB Strumpshaw Fen first – just east of Norwich – a trip of about 60 miles.

It was a fast main road and we arrived at the reserve at about 12.30. By this time the weather had improved again and the temperature was up to 19 degrees centigrade – not bad at all for the very end of October.

We had to cross by foot the railway track which divided the car park from the Reception Hide.


In the hide was a very pleasant woman in charge and she chatted to us whie we all combed the water in front for anything interesting. What we found were a few Mallard and the odd Shoveler, plus lots of Coots!

We decided to walk the 300m to the Fen Hide. It’s always surprising to see a sailing boat travelling alongside a field.


We were disappointed to find very little there in front of Fen Hide. The nice elderly lady sitting with her long camera and long lens said that there had been quite a lot of interest in the morning – typical!  A bittern flying overhead and a Kingfisher to name but two. In contrast, the Mallards and a few Green-winged Teal were all having a siesta, heads firmly under wings.


Eventually some of them at least woke up.


We decided to walk back to the Reception Hide and I took this photo of some of the colourful berries along the way as I thought I might be desperate for pictures for this blog.

DSC_0238Then Peter spotted a Grey Heron atop a distant dead tree trunk, which provided me with a lot more material!



Walking back to the Reception Hide, we saw flurries of Goldfinches in the trees. Very difficult to photograph against the sky.


Some evil looking Inkcap mushrooms were growing nearby.


Back in the hide we sat and chatted to the lady there whilst keeping an eye on the water and reeds.  A Marsh Harrier was quartering the ground…



…and the Grey Heron was still on his tree – albeit a mere silhouette from this direction.

Looking like a Japanese print

Looking like a Japanese print

The Heron flew off but reappeared on a log near the reeds opposite…


…alongside a Mallard couple, blissfully unaware.  See also featured photograph above.


Eventually leaving the reserve, a Robin was studying a shiny red bicycle in the rack…


…and investigating the handlebars with interest.

"Is that the bell I can hear?"

“Is that the bell I can hear?”

The big surprise of the day came during our 25 mile journey to our next campsite near Southwold in Suffolk. Leaving Strumpshaw Fen, we let Bessie’s satnav do the work and were amazed when a sign came up telling us the ferry was ahead. Ferry? What ferry?

It turned out to be the Reedham Ferry.  Quoting their website:

The Reedham Ferry is a vehicular chain ferry which crosses the River Yare in Norfolk. It crosses the river near the village of Reedham, forming the only crossing point between the city of Norwich and Great Yarmouth and saving users a journey of more than 30 miles. The current ferry was built in 1984, was designed and built at Oulton Broad by the late Fred Newson & the present owner. The ferry can carry up to 3 cars at a time and can carry a maximum weight of 12 tonnes.

There has been a crossing at Reedham since the early 17th Century. The original ferry was called Norfolk Horse Ferries UNDER STABLE the horse drawn vehicles were the main users of the ferry boat.

The Archers came to Reedham Ferry early in 1949 and proud to boast we are still here now after 3 generations.

The ferry boat in 1949 was still being hand-wound across the river yare until early 1950 when the ferry became motorised.

And here it is:


The cheerful chap on board took our £4 and seemed pleased that we (ok, I) was chuffed to bits to find this lovely surprise towards the end of the day.


It was a short journey but the late sunlight on the water downstream was atmospheric.


The ferry goes back...

The ferry goes back…

It was a shortish journey to the campsite from here. A charming county lady in corduroy trousers and green wellies showed us where we could park – on the grass, so we hope we won’t sink! She said she could always pull us out with the tractor…

Minsmere tomorrow…