Planning Your Visit
The Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a hugely popular destination for everything from walking the dog, to days at the beach, long distance walks, birdwatching, and staycations.
For those less active, or those who have tired themselves out exploring the area, then a cup of coffee in a seaside town or a fantastic pub meal and pint over-looking one of the AONB’s estuaries may be just the thing.
It’s home to people, nature and wildlife, local communities, businesses, and organisations that all come together to make the area such a special place to live, work and visit.
When planning your trip, please bear in mind that the AONB is a living and working natural landscape and it’s important to look after ourselves, each other, and the landscape.
Felixstowe Ferry (Photo credit: Gregg Brown)
Maps and Guides
The Coast & Heaths AONB has some of the most appealing landscapes, it can be hard to know where to start!
We have a range of maps and visitor guides you can use to plan your adventures, with a host of different walks and experiences for all the family to explore.
Being outside in nature is a fantastic way to really get to see wildlife and also to boost your physical and mental health and wellbeing!
Further information to help you plan your visit can be found on:
Travelling in the AONB
The AONB may be a rural landscape, but there are several train stations and buses that provide excellent access to the towns and villages, making it a great place to discover by public transport.
The East Suffolk Lines website also has information about walking guides between stations, and guided walks from Lowestoft to Felixstowe.
Sailing on the River Deben at Woodbridge (Photo credit: Gill Moon)
The Mayflower Line runs from Manningtree, which connects with services to London and Ipswich, and follows the path of the estuary of the River Stour to Harwich.
Four ferries (PDF) operate across the estuaries of the AONB:
- Harwich to Felixstowe
- Felixstowe Ferry to Bawdsey
- Butley to Orford
- Walberswick to Southwold
The AONB is also a magnificent place to explore on two wheels, on or off-road, so cycling is a great option. We have a number of cycling guides to set the wheels in motion!
If you do drive, please use designated car parks. There a number of electric vehicle charging points with locations around the AONB.
Pin Mill (Photo credit: Gill Moon)
Before you leave, please research where you will park and how to find other public facilities such as toilets and baby changing.
You can check locations and opening times for toilets and facilities in advance:
Make sure car parks are open before you travel and bring cash just in case.
At peak times, please park responsibly and keep roads and entrances clear to allow access for farming vehicles and emergency services.
Help your dog be a Good Dog
National research shows that between a third and a half of countryside visitors have a dog with them.
When you take your dog into the outdoors, always ensure it does not disturb wildlife, farm animals, horses or other people by keeping it under effective control.
This means that you:
- Keep your dog on a lead
- Keep it in sight at all times, be aware of what it’s doing and be confident it will return to you promptly on command
- Ensure it does not stray off the path or area where you have a right of access.
The Countryside Code
The Countryside Code (PDF) applies to all parts of the countryside in England and Wales.
Respect other people:
- be considerate to those living in, working in and enjoying the countryside
- leave gates and property as you find them
- do not block access to gateways or driveways when parking
- be nice, say hello, share the space
- follow local signs and keep to marked paths unless wider access is available
Protect the natural environment:
- take your litter home – leave no trace of your visit
- take care with BBQs and do not light fires
- always keep your dogs under control and in sight
- dog poo – bag it and bin it in any public waste bin
- care for nature – do not cause damage or disturbance
Enjoy the outdoors:
- check your route and local conditions
- plan your adventure – know what to expect and what you can do
- enjoy your visit, have fun, make a memory