Recently on an overcast winter day I visited the small Norfolk coastal village of Burnham Overy Staithe and for the first time explored the salt marshes there along the path to the beach. I went back soon after on a cold but bright December day to do some sketching and photography.
Such an exhilarating place, with the calls of the migrating geese, waders on the mud flats and sun in the reeds. I liked the sinuous shapes the left-behind creek water made in the tidal mud, with the delicate running patterns of prints from small sea birds; the way the wet mud reflects the blue sky with the brown water trickling through it.
My usual stomping and sketching ground is a few miles west at Thornham’s salt marsh area but the Burnham Overy marshes are different, with, depending on the tide, large areas of sand, tidal mud, saltwater lagoon, freshwater drainage channels fringed with silvery reed beds, grass pastureland grazed by flocks of overwintering pink foot and Brent geese.
This wonderful variety can be easily enjoyed (and sketched, there are several nicely positioned benches too) from the 1 1/2 mile path along the sea defences to the sand dunes and beach.
Like much of the Norfolk Coast there is a wide open limitless feel to the landscape and sky here, which inspires me. The light on a clear day is amazing.
Even in bad weather it’s endlessly interesting; I’ve always been intrigued by the decaying evidence of man’s work in the landscape and here the woven willow/hazel bank supports and stone breakwaters supply punctuation marks to the scene. This is clearly going to become an important area of source material for my work on salt marshes.