10 highlights to explore in 2022

Pin Mill – Gill Moon

The Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a awe-inspiring landscape fully of beauty and wonders.

Planning a visit? Here is some inspiration for your next trip! Find out more information, including visitor guides to help you plan your visit, visit www.suffolkcoastandheaths.org/visiting

1. Foot Ferries

Rivers define the AONB and are internationally significant for wildlife and popular with visitors. Four foot ferries operate across the estuaries and each with its own character and charm.

You can take a trip down memory lane by hopping on a rowboat to make the journeys between Walberswick-Southwold and Butley-Gedgrave near Orford. You can also travel from Felixstowe-Bawdsey, and Shotley-Harwich-Felixstowe. Just be sure to check seasonal operating dates and times before travelling. You can even take your bike on some of the ferries!

View of Dunwich Greyfriars

2. Greyfriars & Dunwich Beach

Located on the cliff tops of historic Dunwich, Grade II listed ruins of the mid-13th century Franciscan friary stand hauntingly on the landscape, offering a glimpse into the village’s past.

Whilst in Dunwich, be sure to head down to the breathtaking shingle beach and look out to sea where the once thriving port town now lies eerily underneath the waves.  A visit to Dunwich Museum reveals the ‘Story of the Lost City’.

ORFORD CASTLE, Suffolk. General view with English Heritage flag flying from one of the towers.

3. Orford Castle

Home to one of England’s most complete and unusual keeps, the castle is remarkably intact allowing visitors to explore from the basement, through the lower and upper halls to the roof where there are magnificent views seaward to Orford Ness. 

The castle was built in the 12th century for Henry II. Be sure to pop into nearby Pump Street Bakery for some freshly baked treats!

View across river at Shotley

4. Shotley Peninsula

The Shotley Peninsula sits nestled between the rivers Orwell and Stour and is a hidden gem in the AONB. The long-distance Stour & Orwell Walk is the perfect way to explore the scenery and landscape of the Peninsula. 

From the eastern tip you can enjoy views over the Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s biggest container port, whilst further inland you can discover Pin Mill and Holbrook.

Couple walking on Southwold beach

5. Southwold Pier

Originally built in 1900, Southwold Pier once welcomed holiday makers arriving by steamboat. Today the Pier offers attractions, entertainment, food, and drink. 

The pier stretches 623 feet out into the North Sea. From the Pier you have stunning views of the sandy beach, huts and Southwold’s famous lighthouse. 

6. Sutton Heath

Managed by the Woodland Trust, this mixed woodland features sweet chestnut, pine, oak trees, most of them 70-100 years old, as well as several varieties of bat.

The expansive heathland is stunningly beautiful all-year-round as the colours evolve through the seasons. Miles and miles of glorious paths and the proximity to historic Sutton Hoo make this an essential walking destination.

7. The House in the Clouds, Thorpeness

Nestled in the skyline at Thorpeness, this quirky house was built to cover a former water tower. Today, the house is available as a holiday let. 

While in the idyllic village of Thorpeness, you can enjoy the shingle beach or head to Thorpeness Mere for a tranquil time on the water in a hired rowing boat.

8. The Scallop, Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh is one of the most popular seaside towns in Suffolk and well known for its links to composer Benjamin Britten. You can visit his home The Red House which lies on the edge of the town, and of course there’s the famous fish and chips!

Maggi Hambling ‘Scallop’ sculpture was Installed on Aldeburgh beach in 2003, ‘The Scallop’ commemorates composer Benjamin Britten and displays a quote from Britten’s Peter Grimes ‘I hear those voices that will not be drowned’. 

Trimley Marshes

9. Trimley Marshes Nature Reserve

The sheer number of birds that Trimley Marshes attracts is nothing short of spectacular. The reserve’s richness is perhaps even more remarkable given that the site started out as a blank canvas in 1990. 

Intended to mitigate the loss of the internationally important Fagbury Mudflats with the expansion of the Port of Felixstowe, a mix of wetland features were sculpted out of the former farmland in what became a major civil engineering project, and now a haven for birds and wildlife.

10. Wrabness Nature Reserve

Overlooking the River Stour and managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust, Wrabness is home to many species including the Nightingale and Short-eared Owl. Its location, coupled with careful management, ensures that it hosts an abundance of wildlife throughout the year.  

Essex Wildlife Trust acquired the site in 2006 and thanks to generous donations and funders, the site has grown to 32 hectares – an oasis for both people and wildlife to enjoy. 

Find out more and plan your visit at www.essexwt.org.uk/nature-reserves/wrabness  

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