Night Walk on the Yar Estuary by Lydia Fulleylove

Night Walk on the Yar Estuary

by Lydia Fulleylove


Lydia Fulleylove lives on the Isle of Wight where her love of sea and landscape has provided a rich creative resource and inspiration for the combined arts projects she leads, including Estuary, Riverlines and Wild Places. Lydia’s first collection, Notes on Sea and Land was published by HappenStance Press in 2011. Her poem ‘Night Drive’ was shortlisted for the Forward Best Single Poem Prize in 2011. Her second collection Estuary, in collaboration with artist Colin Riches, was published by Two Ravens Press in 2014. Her writing has been included in a range of magazines and publications including Chalk Poets, (2016), Salt on the Coals, (Winchester Poetry Prize 2016), Earthlines and The Guardian.

A Whisper of Reeds by Colin Riches


Night Walk on the Yar Estuary


Dusk, low tide, we’re still sealed in the car … when – look, there in the mud, black-tailed godwits, dot, dot, dot, piercing mud-skin, all bills and legs. Their reflections waver, they lift flat webbed feet which sink out of sight when they stand still.

We walk down-river, dark thickening. Past Long Ground, King’s Field, Home Ground, we edge round the back of the farm, onto Estuary Moor, where Thor the orphan ram-lamb, skitters behind the four big rams, three with tight-spiralled horns, one with a single swoop. Their slant eyes glow, they square up to us, then sheer off into the dusk. Beyond the wooden fence, the faint glitter of salt-marsh pools.

Through the farmyard, past the empty barn, past Creek Field, Hebridean sheep in black huddles, we blunder in closing dark into the copse and out onto Redlake where the whiskery wild bird fodder ghosts up among the thistles.

Through the tight gap in the blackthorn onto salt-marsh. Purslane crackles underfoot, reeds hiss, river channels finger mud, make tiny lappings against Yarmouth’s clatter, hustling up on the wind. And always, east-nor-east, beyond the river, beyond the woods, the two red masts glare. Masts, marsh, masts, marsh. In daytime they can be forgotten, at night they punctuate the sky.

We follow animal tracks to the edge of Pipe Creek, glasswort creeps down the bank onto the mud, the river lit by silver grey light, sky ribbed like sand when waves have left it, a bandaged moon. The creek rises, catching clouds and banks in its glimmer. The pipe stalks across on stiff legs.

Back through the copse, stumbling over the ditch, through tangled branches, glad of no torch, searching out soft dark, plunging in when we reach the spinney behind the farm, surfacing as the yellow lights of Freshwater burn beyond the path ahead, diving again in the churchyard, among yew trees and foot-felt grass paths.


lydia fulleylove