Dyke walking is one of our favorite walks. Annapolis Royal and the surrounding area offer lots of opportunity for dyke walks. On Sunday past we set off to walk the dyke on the west side of Allains Creek. It is a short walk since the dyke is interrupted by a large stream entering the “creek”, but exhilarating nonetheless. Dykes raise you up so that all the open sky and vast expanse of marsh meadow (cultivated and uncultivated) stretches out…
Dykes and their origins in Acadie (Nova Scotia) are explained by RGS at Annapolis Royal Heritage and for a more nature oriented explanation try Ducks Unlimited.
There are numerous places around Annapolis Royal to find a dyke for walking: the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, Allains Creek as mentioned in this post and found on the map, and Melanson Settlement NHS. And if you wish to explore the Annapolis Valley there are many other locations, even dykes from downtown Wolfville.
[A note on the post title: I don’t know that these very dykes are Acadian, but it seems likely that if not these dykes then dykes in the same location since the French settlers who came to this area with Charles de Menou D’Aulnay in the 1630’s introduced dykes to Acadie and began here on the Allains Creek marsh.]
Annapolis Royal is surrounded by dykes. This past weekend we had a delightful walk along a combination of old rail bed and dykes. (The train ride must have had a superb view of the Annapolis River!) Walking here will take you along the Allains Creek where it meets the Annapolis River and then follow this larger river west. You can follow the old rail bed exclusively or you can take side jaunts out onto some dykes. If you walk out onto the dykes and it is low tide, then you can even walk out onto some salt marshes. Pretty neat – You’ll be right along the Annapolis River. Be prepared, if you venture very far onto a salt marsh, it is muddy and mucky!
At one point a stone covered path leads down from the rail bed (also the dyke at that point) out to the salt marsh. Here we found seaweed stranded by beach plantain. This salt resistant plant has extra thick leaves when compared to its more fragile cousins.
Walk for as long as you like and then turn to retrace your steps. The walk is just to the west of Annapolis Royal on highway #1. Cross the Allains Creek bridge and be ready to turn and park on your right. Check the map for the exact location.
Low tide along the Allains Creek, behind the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens.
Annapolis Royal is an excellent place to go for a walk. And although I’ve described some of my favorites, they haven’t been collected and organized; so … today I began a project to do them all systematically. As I complete each walk I will be noting the best parking and route through or around the town. This new map will follow in the coming weeks.
But for today’s project – a beginning – something easy with the route already plotted, the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens. I walked briskly around the largest loop of the Gardens. This longer, outside loop takes you out onto the dyke and closer to the Allains Creek. An evening walk may turn up deer on the marsh and shore birds on the river’s edge , when the tide is out as it was this evening.
This loop is not long…maybe 1.5 km which takes about 15-20 minutes, with no stops to enjoy the wonderful flowers, plants and animals. It took me longer today since I stopped for pictures and to try and get as close as possible to the deer.
On the dyke behind the Historic Gardens