By Sue Ryder-Richardson
Rivers. The lifeblood of communities for generations, the Deben, from source to mouth, is one such. The river and its tributaries nurtured villages, gave grist to many mills, and fed and watered the all-important abbeys. Explorations around Wickham Market have revealed Paleolithic, Bronze Age, Roman, Anglo Saxon, and medieval relics. Both the tidal flood of this river and its inland arteries have supported this lineage of settlements.
A ramble around Wickham Market and Campsea Ashe  offers an insight into the generations that have lived, and worked alongside the Deben, from the C18th Rackham’s Mill, through the ancient, coppiced woodland ‘The Oaks’, alongside medieval fishponds, beside ‘Ashe Abbey’ which stands on the ground of the C12th Augustinian Priory of St Mary’s, but mostly walking over water-meadows that have brimmed and supported life for centuries.
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by Leigh Belcham from Newbourne in short trousers © Leigh Belcham 2014
Sheltered from the prevailing westerlies, the sandy beach at neighbouring Waldringfield was always an attraction for Newbourne children. On the banks of the River Deben, the village had been a popular sailing centre since the 1920s. The waterfront was was inaccessible to the public during the war, but once hostilities ceased, boats soon returned to the river and children to the shore. Most parents were tied to their smallholdings, but older children could roam free, with many heading to the water by bike or on foot.
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by Robert Simper
Part 1: Bawdsey Ferry up to Hemley Dock
When I was young, in the early 1950s, there were still people who talked about the places where Thames barges loaded on the River Deben. Most of these were still clearly visible as loading wharves, but nearly seventy years later most of them have been reduced to just a few pieces of rotten wood sticking out of the mud. Continue reading →