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

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   Flowers in the Shingle
 A visit to the stony beach at Shingle Street in summer is a 'must'. 
  From an apparently barren waste of stones, nature has conjured up 
  an astonishing artist's palette of colour not bettered by a garden 
  centre.  Sea pea, sea kale, red valerian, herb Robert and yellow-horned 
  poppy are wild flowers of the shingle.  They usually grow some distance 
  from the breaking waves, and are confined to a well-defined zone 
  of old shingle thrown up by winter storms lost in history.
  At Shingle Street, the shingle plants may be out of reach of the       
  pounding waves, but they have no protection from flying salt spray       
  and screaming winds.  They flourish in their spectacularly hostile        
  home without shade or shelter and are superbly adapted to their       
  harsh environment.  A beach can be frigidly cold, or baking hot.        
  Tearing winds can desiccate leaves and loosen roots, and salt spray       
  is a constant hazard.  They need fresh water to survive, and rainwater    
  that percolates through the shingle is absorbed at depth by the         
  deep taproots possessed by some shingle plants.  Those same roots         
  give the plants a solid anchorage in the loose shingle.

  Farthest from the waves, the older shingle has accumulated vital       
  nutrients - bird droppings and plant remains - that have washed       
  down deep into the stones and made life possible for pioneering      
  plant colonisers.  Generations of plants have created a thin soil       
  where you will find patchy swards of short, rabbit-grazed grass       
  scattered with sea campion, ladies bedstraw, vipers bugloss, weld,      
  common storksbill, yellow stonecrop, sea spurge and English stonecrop:   
  wonderful old country names that have been passed down through the    
    Yellow-horned Poppy
           Sea Pea
       Yellow Stonecrop
          Sea Kale
        Sea Campion
     Vipers Bugloss
Red Valerian
Ladies Bedstraw