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Summary: Skinnners Wall is the name given to the stretch of sea defences on the Essex side of the River Stour from behind the the Skinners Arms P.H., to The Cattawade, White Bridge.
Description: The seawall is of earth construction faced on the river side by concrete blocks with rocks at their base. It is a public footpath along its entire length. Typically there is a flat area on the landward side used as a maintenance track, second footpath/cycle track. Bordering this is a drainage ditch/borrowdyke which drains into the river through sluices and is fed by a continuous flow of fresh water from local streams. Young trees and phragmites beds are to be found along the dyke banks, while rough grass, bramble and nettles cover the flat area and slopes of the wall. To the south of the wall there is a super market and industrial estate, to the north, the River Stour estuary, mudflats and saltmarsh. The main London-Norwich railway line disects the area.
Reason for interest: This is an interesting wildlife site inspite of its heavy usage by the public, including pleasure craft with their moorings in the river.
Comment: Plants: Alexanders is a problem on the landward side of the wall at the Manningtree end where it grows in proffusion, and is rapidly spreading to the detriment of other plants. Invertebrates: 7-Spot and Pine Ladybirds, particulary on the southern end nettle beds, 24-Spot in the rough grass, with Adonis on tansy flowers with Thick-kneed Flower Beetles. Crickets including Rossels along the borrow dyke. Birds: to be found here include Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Greylag, Egyptian Goose, Mallard, Goldeneye,Goosander, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Heron, Little Egret, Cormorants diving for the flatfish, Grey Mullet, and Bass found in this part of the river, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Avocet, Kingfisher, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Sedge Warbler nest in the phragmites, Goldfinches on thistle heads, Pied Wagtails on the concrete apron. Mammals: Rabbits graze the wall around the railway line where they inhabit the enbankment. Common Seal has been noted occasionally.
Alexanders taking over
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