A Footbridge to Enchantment
The late author and historian Nigel Tranter (1910-2000) lived for many years at Quarry House on the eastern outskirts of the village. From here he would take his daily walks across the wooden bridge to the Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve and compose his many popular historical works.
"The tides ebb and flow over the vast emptiness of the Bay and its saltmarsh, waders glide and bank and flock, and curlews trill their endless refrain. The din of larks, gulls and terns engulf you before your foot has left the last plank of the footbridge. Landscapes and seascapes, skyscapes and clouds, those bright towers of silence. All have great presence here in this extensive region of wide horizons."
Copyright Doris Ann Goodchild
"Your date is not so past, but you may stay yet here awhile"
"Across the estuary comes the lively low tide chorus: the chants and the clamour; the callings and mewings; the pipings and flutings; the screams and squawking; the chirrups and cackling; the chatter and twitter; the cries and cooings; the warbles and carollings; the spirited excitement of birds feeding in their thousands.
"This is not only a refuge for wildfowl and conserving local plants but for people; for birdwatchers, for botanists, for those seeking solitude, or tranquility or inspiration, or just a brisk walk in clean, fresh air; and those simply wanting to "stand and stare". So take your binoculours and cross the rickety wooden footbridge over the Peffer Burn, "by the rude bridge that arched the flood" and enter this sequestered haven, "this flowery, green, bird-singing land" of rushes, grasses and "live, willed things" and let time pass."
Copyright Doris Ann Goodchild
"He would pore by the hour, o-er some weed or a flower"
In season, you may see some of these and many others in this quiet reserve: Burnett Rose, Clover, Cow Parsley, Sorrel, Rush Leaved Fescue, Meadow Oat Grass, Black Medick, Iris, Viper's Bugloss, Hairy Violet, Ragwort, plus Cinnabar Moth, Burnet Moth, Dark Green Fritillary Butterfly and Tortoiseshell Butterfly. To see a collection of pressed flora from Aberlady in the year 1929, please visit:
The orginal bound collection is available for viewing in the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh.
I. W. said
"Let me be dress'd fine as I will,
flies, worms and flowers exceed me still!"
Breakers crash white along the shell encrusted sandbank, making a noise like a distant but endless steam train hurtling towards its unknown destination. The sand hill ranges, golden mirage mountains of the dune country, seem to hold the sun even on the greyest day. Above them towering high skies and soaring cloudscapes emit an almost translucent quality of light. These and distant landforms across the wide, sparkling firth combine to enrich the soul and lift the walker to another place.
If visiting this special place, please respect its sanctity as a reserve for nature and its international scientific value. Keep the footpaths at all times and make sure you follow any other instructions posted by the Reserve Warden at the "timmer brig".
Solitude is sometimes best society