Life around Willy Lott's Cottage
In a tiny hamlet, down a narrow lane, somewhere between London and the sea, is where my kind and unassuming husband have come for a restful weekend. Timber-framed farmhouses sitting in ancient woodlands ooze inspiration and stories to tell.
Passing by Willy Lott's Cottage, made famous by Constable, one can almost believe that time has stood still for a hundred or more years. Thatched cottages, rustic mills, windmills and old market towns are linked together by country lanes and retain the atmosphere of days gone by.
And despite the hurrying skies, we managed to trek over a few nature reserves on the shoreline of Essex County with its medieval field systems and grazing marshes, home to thousands of sea birds. With Wallasea Island, Foulness Island, the Crouch and Roach estuaries, this is indeed a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise!
Wintering geese and wildfowl descend on the 350 miles of Essex shoreline. Here too, you will find breeding waders and the common seal, water vole, avocet and sandwich tern. I guess the shimmering mud flats in this walker’s heaven, is home to much more wildlife than I ever imagined. And out in the marshes, where bitterns pick their way through the reed-beds, Harriers cruise the skies sneakily preying on the unsuspecting.
We drove back across the flatlands just before dusk and looked out at the vast expanse of empty brown fields. But they were not empty at all, but alive with hundreds of the UK’s most colorful bird, the pheasant. Bred to be hunted and shot for ‘sport’ these beautiful creatures have, at least for the time being, the freedom of the countryside.