Heavy overnight rain was easing off as we set off and soon we were in a gale-force wind on the plateau of the disused Flixton wartime airfield. The American Air Force used this as a bombing base and were in support of the Normandy landings. Bits of runway appeared below the now agricultural use – extensive fields of wheat and rape.
It was hard going in the strong wind and we were glad to reach the relative shelter of country lanes in the Waveney valley. Ahead of us were some working sand/gravel pits which are quite common in the area, the numerous fishing lakes bear witness to this. In an adjoining field, archaeologists were sifting through the sand, they find continuous signs of occupation from the Iron Age, through Roman times to the medieval. The painstaking work is being carried out before the quarry may expand, didn’t look very inviting in this morning’s weather. As we walked into Homersfield I was attracted to a wooden totem pole carved by Mark Goldsworthy, a local artist, depicting a man in a fishing boat and the words “I dreamed of a beautiful woman who carried me away”. This is a reference to Roman Times when the river Waveney was called Alveron which means ‘beautiful woman’. The striking sculpture stands on what was once the river bed.
On past the houses around the village green we happened upon the pub for a pint where we were the only customers. The place has been gentrified with an expensive restaurant possibly to the detriment of the locals drinking, one can see why rural premises are in decline.
More interesting walking on paths in riverside fields and woods followed, the wind didn’t abate. The wild garlic reminded me of a recipe I want to try when I get home. ‘poached egg on a bed of steamed garlic leaves with buttered new potatoes’
The River Waveney was crossed at Mendham where there was a more friendly pub. A final rise crested in the head-on gale to approach the new developments on the outskirts of Harleston. This turned out to be a pleasant old market town to spend the evening in, our 450 years old coaching inn, The Swan, creaked at every step.