The Cornish Camel

This is the Cornish Camel…

…because Camel is the name of this river which empties into the sea on the north Cornish coast.  And a rather lovely river it is too, especially when the sun is shining in the height of summer.

But the keen geographers among you will have spotted that this isn’t an ordinary river estuary.  Can you see the similarity with the estuary of the river Colne in Essex?  (It certainly isn’t the weather!!)

In both cases you have a huge area of tidal waters in the lower valley, yet the inputting river is really rather small. 

Here’s the Colne…

…and here’s the Camel at Wadebridge, where it is still tidal but significantly smaller.

Yet downstream from Wadebridge you’ve still got miles of lovely valley before you reach the open sea.

Imagine the same scene with the tide in.

So what are we looking at?  Did you recognise a ria? The sea level has risen in relation to the land.  What was once a river valley has been flooded by the sea and is now a tidal estuary.  The lower end of tributary valleys floods too.

All makes for a very interesting walk along the disused railway line that is now the Camel Trail.

I’ll tell you what else I found next week but meanwhile check back on Wednesday when we turn to Cornish as our landscape language on maps.