the website for Hollesley,
Boyton, Capel St Andrew
and Shingle Street

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The Butley River slowly ebbs and flows through its shallow, wide valley: it is a 
lost world, a medieval landscape of grazing marshes, reedbeds, mudflats and 
saltmarsh.  There are no roads, just footpaths and farm tracks.  Chillesford 
village lies near the head of the river, close to a disused 18th century wildfowl 
decoy and also to Butley Mills, which was once a farmhouse, windmill and 
watermill.  The earliest mill was built in 1530, and for centuries the Butley River 
was navigable by barges carrying grain, right up to the mill.  The buildings 
overlook a great expanse of whispering reeds that is cut to supply the raw 
material to thatchers.
Reed cutters work in midwinter when the reed stems are dead and dry.  Scything 
reeds is picturesque, but it is also slow, and nowadays machines do the job.  If 
the breeze is from the south, you can smell the smoke from Pinney's smokehouses, 
just two miles downstream as the wind blows.  The popular Butley Orford 
Oysterage restaurant catches its own fish, smokes them and grows oysters in the 
mud of the Butley River.  

Raptors, waders and wildfowl are attracted to the lonely expanses of marsh, mud 
and reeds in winter.
Butley River is Good Walking Country
Butley River Marshes
in Summer
Butley River in Winter
Butley Reedbed is
Harvested in Winter