The Lagoon Field.
The lagoon field is my favourite place on the marsh. It is where many of the marsh animals live. It’s unmanaged, wild and beautiful. To my mind, the lagoon field has an almost mystical quality to it. In daylight, it can feel as though unseen eyes are watching my every move. In darkness, though, it’s a very different matter. Oh yes! In the night-time, the lagoon field comes to life with all kinds of strange and wonderful noises floating in on the breeze from pools, ponds, boggy coppices and other dark inaccessible places. I like being there on cold frosty evenings, during winter, preferably under a full moon; when the trees are bare of leaves, and frozen grass crackles underfoot. I hear “things” moving around, twigs breaking, leaves rustling, and unseen creatures calling to one another.
The trees in the withywood grow deep in muddy, soup-like, water for most of the year, with roots sprouting in thick tangled masses from a foot or more up the base of their trunks. They are packed together so tightly that most people wouldn’t consider venturing in there. Tall, spindly withies have to be forced aside to enable painfully slow progress through the dark claustrophobic weave of twisted branches.
Deep within the wood are black, fetid ponds and pools surrounded by thick, dank vegetation. The whole environment can seem very surreal and intimidating at times. Eight to nine feet tall bull rushes and thick stands of yellow flag iris fronds grow menacingly from evil smelling ooze. To lose one’s way in this alien environment would surely bring on severe panic attacks, leading to the total loss of any chance of re-acquiring one’s sense of direction. Fortunately, I explored the withywood during a particularly dry summer and am now familiar most aspects of it.
The withywood occupies a small section of the lagoon field and begins at the northern end of the beach. The beach is where many rabbits live in large warrens. There is a wide track running along the west side, flanked on either side by tall thick grass. If left to its own devices, the wood would take over the whole lagoon field within twenty years.
The reason the area is called the lagoon field relates to the days when the British Sugar factory was in operation. There were a number of settling lagoons used to hold dirty water from the sugar beet washing process. The lagoons were filled in when the factory closed.
The former lagoons are noŵ covered with impenetrable brush (impenetrable for normal people who don’t have a good enough reason to make the effort), providing excellent cover and protected runs for the badgers, foxes, polecats, pheasants, muntjac deer and other creatures wanting to hide away.
Maybe I will continue relating the wonders of the lagoon field at another time. I might also divulge some of the less savoury happenings that occur during the night, when most good people are at home tucked safely in their beds. . . .