I used to go to Steart and the Steart Peninsula quite often as a child. It was being on the coast without being at the 'seaside'. The peninsula juts out into the mouth of the River Parrett as it lazily flops out into Bridgwater Bay and the Severn Estuary. The highest natural point on the Steart Peninsula is little more than a metre above the high tide level and it's only a few defensive banks that stop the whole thing flooding at stormy times or at very high spring tides. With climate change and rising sea levels this makes Steart an endangered landscape that could well disappear altogether in the years to come.
Here's a link to some more information about the Steart Peninsula.
Anyway, here are some of my photos. I was very pleased that it was so bright and warm. I knew that it was going to be 'low tide' when I was there but I wasn't prepared for it to be out quite as far as it was.
The beach and mudflats from the Steart Peninsula. The tide was out so far that it looked like the distant island of Steep Holm was surrounded by mud. Mud is the predominant substance at Steart. The Severn Estuary carries lots of it down from the middle of England, dumping it out to sea and the River Parrett does the same with mud washed out of the hills in Somerset, so Bridgwater Bay is really a very large, sticky, filthy mess that you could probably sample with a net.
Looking east towards Burnham on Sea on the other side of the bay.
Marram grass has been planted to try and hold the beach in place. I love the shapes of the 'mudfloes'.
This is looking west across the bay, with the huge brooding creepiness of the Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station in the distance.
I have a couple of favourites from this little expedition, and this is one of them. It's an old shrimping fence that marches out across the mud. Local fishermen, and there is still one left in this area, used these for hanging their nets on and guiding themselves out across the mud. They have a unique way of collecting their catches here, by going out onto the mud pushing something that looks like a cross between a plank and a wheelbarrow called a 'mud horse'. Click here for more info.
Lots of stuff gets washed up on these beaches and mudflats, though most of it is not as picturesque as this tree.
See what I mean?
The coarse marram grass holding the land together.
Every now and then you come across a drift of tiny shells washed up at the high tide mark. This is another of my personal favourites from the day.
And this was the end of the line for me. I was hoping to be able to walk right around the end of the peninsula and back along the inner shore, but there's a nature reserve at the end and I couldn't go beyond the fence I was standing next to when I took this picture. This meant that I had to cut across the tip to the inner shore.
The River Parrett just before its mouth.
This house is the furthest out along the peninsula and delights in being called ' At the very end of the road', which is true.
This is the River Parrett, there's water there somewhere!
After walking along the river bank for a couple of kilometres I decided to cut back across the fields to where I had parked my car. One of the great things about this time of year in the hedgerows is that you see dog roses with their delicate pink colours.
Back at the car park, this bus was parked up.....
........with this wonderful little still-life under its back bumper.
Finally, I took this at Stolford, just along the coast. I loved the clouds over the Welsh coast.