From the sea wall flanking the Butley River, the sun glints on water in Boyton Marshes nature reserve.
The water stands in old pastures that flood in winter: the grass is very short, and thronged with wigeon,
whilst teal, shoveler and little egrets feed in the shallow water. The reserve is owned by the RSPB, and
it is their expert management combination of manipulating water levels and grazing that has created the
perfect habitat for wildfowl in winter, and breeding waders in the spring.
The Butley River flows within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where
it forms part of the Alde/Ore estuaries complex as a Site of Special Scientific Interest; a Special Area
of Conservation, a Special Protection Area for birds, and a Ramsar Wetland: the latter signifies inter-
national importance. That's a lot of official legislative designations, but they are appropriate. Beneath
this protective legislative umbrella farmers are required to farm in a sensitive manner, and the quality of
the landscape and abundance of wildlife is proof of how well they do the job.