The Countryman's Weekly


August 21
08:02 2019

Something to suit everyone with Alde & Ore Wildfowlers

By Graham Downing.

IN summer, the coast around Aldeburgh is busy with holidaymakers. Families throng the beaches and classical music addicts descend in their droves upon the internationally-renowned Snape Maltings concert hall for the annual Aldeburgh Festival.

In winter, though, this part of Suffolk is a quiet place of wide skies, whispering reedbeds and grey mudflats. Its own music is the shriek of the curlew and redshank, the rush of the cold north-east wind and the ever-present low rumble of the North Sea upon a shingle shore.

It’s during those winter months the Alde and Ore estuary receives its other cohort of visitors: whistling flocks of migratory wildfowl. Teal and wigeon pitch up here in late October after their journey across the sea from Scandinavia, and later in the winter you may hear the magical yelp of white-fronted geese that arrive from the Baltic to join the local populations of greylags and Canadas.

Not surprisingly, those ducks and geese have been hunted here by generations of local wildfowlers, and today that proud tradition continues. In the past, fowling was a bit of a free-for-all activity, jealously guarded by the local fishermen and longshoremen, but as in many other places around the coast, regulation started in the 1950s with the formation of wildfowling clubs.



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