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01502 714512 River Deben Association Meeting

East Suffolk U3A 2019 Programme gets into its stride

WE'VE seen in the New Year, we’ve long since forgotten all those ambitious and potentially life changing resolutions – except for one! our U3A members are continuing their quest for knowledge, for stimulating and lively new topics to discover and debate. The U3A spring programme

is as interesting as ever, with a variety of speakers examining the truth behind controversial WW1 leader, Marshall Haig, the impact of the US Army on Suffolk soil and helping us separate the fact from the fiction surrounding St Edmund. Thursday 7th February 10.30am. Salvation Army Hall, Felixstowe, IP11 7El. (Junction of Ranelagh Road and cobbold Road). The campaign for Votes for Women presented by Joy Bounds. Phases of the campaign from the mid-19th century to the end of WW1. Thursday 14th February

2pm, Market Hall, 29 High Street, Saxmundham, IP17


1AF. overpaid, oversexed and over here presented by Ian Mclachlan. The social and cultural impact of the “friendly” invasion of the US Army Air Force in East Anglia. Monday 25th February 2pm, Kesgrave community centre, Twelve Acre Approach, Bell lane, Kesgrave, IP5 1JF. St Edmund in History and legend presented by Dr Sam Newton. An assessment of the accounts in the Anglo Saxon chronicles, the history of Danish East Anglia and the rise of the cult of St Edmund. Thursday 4th March 10.30am. Salvation Army Hall, Felixstowe, IP11 7El (Junction of Ranelagh Road and cobbold Road). Field Marshall Earl Haig: lion or Donkey? Presented by John lilley. An examination of the facts surrounding a rather controversial WW1 leader. Thursday 14th March 2pm,

Market Hall, 29 High Street, Saxmundham, IP17 1AF. Meet Mary Kingsley: presented by louise Reed. The life of an explorer who travelled alone

in the 1890s to West Africa. Friday 15th March 10.30am,

Woodbridge community Hall, Station Road, Woodbridge Perils of a Plant Hunter: presented by Geoff Hales, Joseph Hooker’s career as a plant hunter in the Antarctic and the jungles of Sikkim. Monday 25th March 2pm, Kesgrave community centre, Twelve Acre Approach, Bell lane, Kesgrave, IP5 1JF. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and her circle presented by Jennifer Jones. The story of a pioneering doctor and other enterprising women of her time U3A promises a warm welcome to existing and potential members. All details of membership are available on the website: uk. Alternatively call the membership secretary on 0300 123 3913. NB: occasionally U3A

may have to make last minute changes so please see the website for the most up to date information.

THE England coast Path, River Deben Association Autumn Meeting November 29th. Speaker: Giles Merritt, lead Adviser, England coast Path Delivery (Norfolk and Suf- folk Team) Natural England. Establishing the England coast Path. The River Deben Associa- tion’s Autumn Meeting on November 29th was well at- tended with over 150 mem- bers present. Giles Merritt, lead Advisor for Natural England coast path develop- ment in Norfolk and Suffolk provided a lively presentation about the England coast Path with a particular emphasis on Suffolk and the River Deben. Giles has worked on the Eng- land coast Path for several years, most recently in Es- sex. His talk covered current routes by the Deben and the challenges faced by Natural England in implementing the plans, local progress and the options for the coast Path between Bawdsey and Felix- stowe Ferry. Giles explained that the Eng- land coast Path was support- ed with extra funding from the Government in 2014 with the target for completion in 2020. The Path has a statutory framework going back as far as 2009. The Marine and coastal Ac- cess Act 2009 established a coastal access duty - to create a long-distance walking route around the English coast (the England coast Path) which should be accessible to the public on foot. Natural Eng- land is charged with its de- livery and must adhere to the coastal Access Scheme which ensures that a balance is struck between the interests of those who own the land and the public in having new ac-

cess rights over the land. It’s a challenging balancing act, factors which must be taken into consideration include: for the public: proximity of trail to the sea, views, safety and continuity of the path, for private interests: operational needs, income, privacy and change of use. The Act also enables Natural England to respond to coastal change through proposing ‘roll back’ which will allow the path to be moved back if the coastline changes. over the 5 year period 2015- 2020 Natural England aims to have completed 65 stretches - that’s 2,700 miles - so the timetable is ambitious, but Giles says that Natural Eng- land are on target for com- pletion within the time frame of 2020. The programme is required by the Marine and coastal Access Act to under- take extensive consultation (with local interest groups, landowners and statutory and environmental bodies) on proposed routes and plans. The plans, maps and routes also have to be approved by the Secretary of State. Any objection raised must be dis- cussed further with objecting parties. These views must also be passed to the Secretary of State, who has the power to appoint an adjudicator to hear any objections. The Secretary of State makes the final deter- mination. What does this mean for Suf- folk? over the last three years Natural England has been consulting and planning with Suffolk county council to implement five stretches of the coastal path, representing 146 miles of pathway. How- ever, 85% of the trail will be along existing rights of way, so using 116 miles of foot- paths which are currently ac-

cessible. The proposed plans are scheduled for publication in Summer 2019 with a fur- ther opportunity for consul- tation and then works will begin to develop new parts of the trail where there are gaps and improve existing path- ways and rights of way. Maps of the route will be published in 2020, with the route clearly waymarked as part of the England coast Path. Implications for the River De- ben Estuary. Naturally, mem- bers wanted to know how spe- cifically the proposal would affect our river. The Marine and coast Act provides spe- cific statutory discretion called “Estuary Discretion” which applies to The Deben. Deciding whether to apply estuary discretion includes the following considerations: staying in touch with an estu- ary “feel”, the economic cost of maintaining and develop- ing a path along meandering reaches of river, the distance up the estuary walkers may need to travel to cross the riv- er, extent of “excepted land” e.g. ports, industrial estates, features of interest which would make an estuary route attractive to walkers, the ex- istence of a ferry route. A major additional factor is the protection from distur- bance of wildlife, particularly in areas where there has been no footpath in recent use. The Felixstowe Ferry to Bawdsey path is a 25 mile stretch and approximately 80% of the route will use ex- isting public rights of way. The three main gaps in the Deben estuary route are: Waldringfield to Martlesham, around Sutton Hoo, Ramsholt to Bawdsey. A number of people expressed a strong preference for Natu- ral England to use the foot

ferry between Bawdsey and Felixstowe Ferry, rather than have a path around the estu- ary. A year-round on-demand service for the ferry had been piloted in the winter of 2017/2018 with support from the AoNB and other public and community bodies. Sug- gestions were made that Natu- ral England should contribute to the cost of running the ferry year-round, but Giles ex- plained that ferry costs were not within the remit of the England coast Path budget. Publication of proposed routes and completion of works 2019/20. Giles is meet- ing key landowners and stake- holders such as the AoNB Unit and working closely with Suffolk county council to establish the best way for- ward. He also intends to meet the Environment Agency to assess flood risk issues. The decision on estuary discre- tion has yet to be made. As with all Suffolk stretches, a restriction on what is called “spreading room” or direct- ing the path onto saltmarsh and mudflats will apply which will protect a very precious characteristic of The Deben. Publication of final routes on Natural England’s website is likely to be Spring/Summer 2019 and hard reference cop- ies will also be lodged in local libraries. The launch of the completed Path in 2020 will follow the final report and it is likely that local walking groups will then seek to promote the walks as part of their programme.

Photograph is a reprinted courtesy of Natural England.

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