Stony Ditch - salt-marsh and mud-flats on Orford Ness

Found on John Norden's map of 1600 and named Stone Eye, this tidal creek, which joins the River Ore about a mile downstream, is wide and shallow and at low tide an expanse of mud is exposed with only a tiny tidal channel.


The mud provides excellent feeding for many hundreds of waders and wildfowl and is one of the most productive ecosystems. At the edges of the creek are areas of salt-marsh, providing valuable feeding and roosting areas for large numbers of overwintering wildfowl (some species in nationally significant numbers).


Within a salt-marsh the type of plant species found changes from the high to low water marks according to the length of time (per day or month) each area of the marsh is covered with salt water. More species occur at the uppermost edge of the marshes (high tide), where they're exposed to salt water for a shorter time. Most salt-marsh plants flower in late summer or autumn.