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‘Going with the flow – tides and the Deben estuary’

October 16 @ 7:00 pm - October 27 @ 7:00 pm


Most people have experience of the impact of tides on beaches where land meets the open sea but many know much less about the major influence tides have on estuaries such as the Deben.  This ambitious project aims to increase appreciation and enjoyment of the estuary environment through a wide range of information and activities (serious and fun) that enable people of all ages to gain an understanding of why tides occur, the impact of tidal flow on the ecology of the estuary, tidal terminology and forces involved in navigating the river.  It is designed to appeal to experts and to people who find science uninteresting or opaque. The project is being supported through a grant from the Suffolk Coasts and Heaths AONB Sustainable Development Fund and sponsorship including Dance East, Woodbridge Arts Society, Suffolk Cottage Holidays and Drain Doctor.  Plus many volunteers across various organisations.


Workshops September and October– professional choreographer Caroline Mummery will lead ten half-day workshops for local primary schools in the Farlingaye Pyramid – learning about “Flow through movement – the making of the Deben Estuary”

16 October evening in the Longshed – SEAS THE POWER  talk by William Thomson

General admission £6 entrance ticket inc booking fee. 
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A limited number of complimentary tickets are available for people in full time education please email andrealeech@me.com with your details to reserve

William is the author of the best selling The Book of Tides
Drawing upon his experiences travelling to the world’s most extraordinary tidal environments, William’s ‘Seas The Power’ talk celebrates the fascinating natural workings of tides, connecting them on a global scale with what we experience locally in the Woodbridge waterfront. Incorporating stories, videos, models and demonstrations [expect audience participation!] William simply unlocks the secrets of the tides – not just in a fascinating sense, but so we can better understand how to tap into their energy and ‘Seas The Power’, whether it’s harnessing the currents to explore a coastline, or safely navigating a rip current.
See also YouTube Channel [TidalCompass] and Episode 1 ‘Introducing the Tide’: click here for the link. Tidal Compass is uploading a new episode every week, on the days of the four main moon phases.


19 October – 27 October 10am – 4pm in the Longshed free entry  

  • Astronomy – effect of moon – models. Farlingaye High School Science Department
  • Tidal Energy – Types and examples. Farlingaye High School Science Department
  • RSPB – Deben Estuary birds
  • Nautical Corner – understanding tidal terms including games “Deben Journey”, “What’s the tide doing” photos and a paper challenge,  plus background images of the river.
  • Changes in the River Deben – maps, images and information, floodwalls, formation of saltmarsh, shifting shingle etc.
  • Access now- planning a trip with a large barge has changed little – Sea Change Blue Mermaid now and then
  • Historical Access/board – interesting stories posts, jetties etc.
  • How far can you row with and against the tide
  • Images of the Deben at different states of the tide – drone shots commissioned to show what happens as the tide rises.

Talks in the Longshed – there is no charge for these talks but places are limited so please click on the buy tickets buttons below to reserve a seat

“Time and Tide” Paul Whiting, Orwell Astronomical Society Ipswich 

will talk about gravity and its effects on tides and time, concentrating on the cause and types of tides, moving on to cover gravity tides in the solar system and galaxies, ending up with black holes and gravity waves   (website http://oasi.org.uk/)

19 October 2pm
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22 October 2pm for accompanied children 7-11
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“How we got a moon and how we can’t live without it” Daniel Clery, science writer

Why do we have a moon and what use is it to anyone anyway? We have a moon because of a colossal planetary accident but if it hadn’t happened we might not be here to ask such questions. The rise and fall of the tides caused by the moon create the sort of muddy tidal pools where life on Earth probably began.  The tides mix up the ocean’s waters, encouraging life and growth. They help fishers to fish and sailors to navigate. And they may soon help us to ditch fossil fuels providing tidal energy.

20 October 2pm
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“Working with the tide” Meredith Scanlon, hydrographer Harwich Haven Authority

– surveying the sea floor – use of sonar, LiDAR and tides for an accurate navigational depth with special reference to the entrance to the Deben

21 October 2pm
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“Tidal Tales” storytelling with Justine de Mierre

“Professional storyteller Justine de Mierre will entertain young and old with tidal tales! There’ll be stories from around the world of rivers and oceans and the people and creatures that live on, in and around thems who live plus a little bit of ‘Extreme Storytelling’ — spontaneously created stories from audience suggestions! Can we create a brand new legend of the Deben?! Justine has been a professional performer for over twenty years and delights audiences at festivals and events across East Anglia and beyond with her energetic and engaging style.
“Justine is a fabulous storyteller, she had the children captivated from the moment she said ‘once upon a time’, telling them tales that made them both shriek with giggles and hide behind their hands. Professional, fun and vibrant, I couldn’t recommend Justine more!” Sarah Butt, Killick & Co, Elmer’s Big Parade Storytelling Event, Ipswich. “

23 October 11am for accompanied children under 5
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23 October 2pm for accompanied children 5-11

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24 October 11am for accompanied children 5-11
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“Why the Deben is special for birds and where to see them” Paul Hetherington Woodbridge RSPB 

25 October 2pm
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 ‘Tides of change – taking the long view’  Tim Holt-Wilson

introducing a depth dimension to our understanding of the Deben estuary, its wildlife, landscape and climate. It’s quite a surprising story!

26 October 2pm
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Tim Holt-Wilson is author of the booklet ‘Tides of Change – two million years on the Suffolk coast’. He works freelance in the fields of environment and heritage – for more information see https://futureheritage.wordpress.com/.

27 October 7pm  in the Woodbridge Community Hall “Imagining and Managing the Deben Estuary into the future” 

Meeting challenges, such as incremental sea level rise and an increase in the frequency of tidal surges, is becoming more urgent. Pressure for new housing is creating greater need for access and recreation for a larger population, which has a potentially big impact upon the tranquility of the Deben Estuary.  

New terms of reference for the value of natural systems such as “natural capital” and “ecosystem services” have become standard. The complexity of estuarine systems, affecting farming, leisure and flood risk means that we must identify sources of funding for estuary management projects into the future. These are extremely challenging times but we are well placed to build upon previous successes.

Local political organisation has changed in 2019.  There is a new, merged East Suffolk Council and a new local plan which demands a revision of the existing Estuary Management Plan; change will be a key theme for the revised Plan.

Chairman: Cllr Eamonn O’Nolan

Introductory speakers – evidence from recent research:

Dr Helene Burningham, Coastal Scientist University College London – historical environmental change on the Deben estuary

Dr Ben Evans, Cambridge Coastal Research Unit – the importance of salt marsh in the estuary ecosystem, understanding and predicting the causes and consequences of change

Q&A with expert panel:

Christine Block, Chair Deben Estuary Partnership

David Kemp, Environment Agency

Peter Cosgrove, Suffolk Marine Pioneer

Sarah Zins, Chair River Deben Association

General admission £6 including a glass of wine and refreshments 
Buy tickets with WeGotTickets

A limited number of complimentary tickets are available for people in full time education please email andrealeech@me.com with your details to reserve

Sustainable Development Fund






October 16 @ 7:00 pm
October 27 @ 7:00 pm

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