|2009_0907 Old Leigh, Hadleigh Castle, Wallasea Island|
We started the day on an ancestor hunt. James Knight is a great grandfather of mine, he was rector of Foulness. We decided to visit the church. There was information on the web that suggested there are public roads on the island. The man at the gate agreed they were public, but still insisted that we could not drive on them. He seemed incapable of seeing the contradiction. We tried the next island round, and couldn't get on there either. The road to Potton Island was just a dead end.
After discounting a visit to the archives on such a lovely day we went to Old Leigh. Last time I was there was probably 30 years ago. Many of the boat yards have gone, and the town is now full of places to eat. The other noticeable difference is that the trains are much quieter. There is also a museum now, and in what looks like a derelict house a stone marking a spring, which is presumably why the town was recorded in the Doomsday Book.
Then on to Hadleigh Castle which has changed a lot. I remember it as a neglected ruin, now it has had the English Heritage treatment - about time too. There are still cows in the surrounding fields, and they are still menacing enough to stop me going in the field. We had lunch at the Salvation Army Tea Room. I think they were a little overrun by the result of the good weather, they had already run out of some items.
We decided to return to Wallasea, and got to walk along the sea wall. Even this is being blocked (further on from our walk) as they return some of the land to salt marsh. There are pictures on Picasa (see link above), in one there is a tiny spot on the horizon which we believe is Foulness Church. On another there is a large plume of smoke. The sky was dark at the time and I thought it was thunder, but I suspect it was just a test on Foulness.
On our way back from the first attempt we saw a sign saying 'Foulness cycle ride' - perhaps that's the way on to the island.