7th January 2015
Mistley Quay used to be an open ancient quayside on the banks of the River Stour. This was a popular place with the locals who used to bring their families to feed the famous Mistly swans and take in the breathtaking view.
However on 17th September 2008, amid chaotic scenes of public protest, a 2-metre
high, 130-metre long fence was erected across the historic public quay by the landowner Michael Parker of Trent Wharfage Limited (TWL). It is designed to block access to and from the River
Stour and ends 500 years of free access to the water.
Since then a legal battle has been raging where Essex Council have designated the quay as a village green which should have full access to the public and are contesting the erection of the fence in court. Sadly after six years there has been no resolution. The only satisfying aspect is that persons unknown have cut large holes in the fence and have framed then with wood to prevent injury so that birders and photographers alike can still carry on their pursuit. There is even a small hole at waist level so that children can feed the swans. For more information go to www.freethequay.org.
During low tide the River Stour at the upper reaches is mainly mud with a couple of deeper channels that are always open. Luckily one of these channels runs past the quay so that if anything is around it is likely to be at a maximum range of 40 yards. A pair of Little Grebes kept well away but a Great Crested swam past quite closely.
But the stars today were the dozen or so Goldeneyes that were hanging around the area giving lots of opportunities for some shots.
What a fantastic place........and now on to "The Walls".