It's cold here in England. Not Michigan cold, or even Northern Virginia cold. But still cold. No gardens are blooming. No warm hills or sunny meadows beckon me forth. The wind whips up from all sides of this island and leaves me with few choices. And since I had not ventured east yet, the decision was clear. It's time for the beach.
Oh, the desolate beauty of a beach in winter! The forlorn expanse and bitter cold are a far cry from her soft summer ensemble. But she's breathtaking in the dead of January, nonetheless.
I had hoped to see a lot of water fowl at this end of the estuary, but was captivated by the seashells instead. This is at Cudmore Grove Country Park in Essex, a strand looking out across the English Channel.
There were ruins of bygone lookout points:
. . . and long soft sandy marshes giving way to tide pools.
Standing above the beach looking east . . .
. . . despite the wires and warning not to:
A little bit inland was the Colne Nature Reserve and this bird blind where I could get out of the bitter cold for a bit and watch the swans and coots.
Hiking further north led to the Copt Hall Marshes and the sparse beauty there as well.
Because of all the water fowl there (of which I got zero good pictures), it's a good place to train your hunting dog, like this guy is doing:
Or just enjoy that bracing wind.