The Suffolk Coast and Heaths are Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) that cover an impressive 155 square miles of a diverse and breath-taking landscape. From long stretches of untamed beaches, ancient forests, wildlife-populated estuaries, colourful lowland heathland to historical towns and villages. In this feature, we will highlight some of the best bits about the area:
The county of Suffolk is carved by five stunning estuaries, all varying and contrasting in the characteristics and fascinations.
The Blyth has been claimed, on several occasions, as one of the best birdwatching sites in the UK, with frequent visits from the Black Tailed Godwit, March Harries, Woodlark and Avocet. A ferry across the estuary is available for pedestrians, offering a historical journey that has been taking place since the 13th-century!
The Orwell estuary links to one of the largest ports in the UK, Ipswich Dock. Despite the regular traffic flowing through the waterways, the surrounding wetlands and river banks support a diverse abundance of wildlife.
The Alde and Ore is the longest estuary within the county of Suffolk, and the shingle spit is the only thing separating it from the sea; this shingle spit makes an ideal habitat for residing seals.
In addition to the estuary, The Deben consists of around 40% of Suffolk’s conserved salt marshes, making it an ideal habitat for a range of wildlife.
Throughout history, the estuary The Stour was frequently used for the transportation of goods, large boats pulled by horses would bring a range of products in-land for distribution and sale.
The Suffolk coast encompasses an impressive 50 miles of untamed and rugged natural beauty. With a plethora of paths, cycle routes and the open ocean for sailing, the area attracts thousands of visitors every year. The coastline is varied, from long stretches of golden sands to shingled coves.
The Suffolk heathland provides a tranquil haven where you will be immersed in nature. With heather, gorse and a variety of other rare and stunning wildlife, exploring the Heathland on one of the many public paths will take you through ancient woodlands, onto coastal paths and past open spaces of grassland. The diversity of colour and wildlife in the area, all year round, is a sight to remember.
With a variety of terrains and landscapes comes a variety of fun and interesting activities to do while you are on your weekend breaks for families.
The Suffolk AONB has a huge selection of walking routes, some of which are suitable for the most experienced hiker. Whilst others are a little gentler for those of us who simply like a gentle stroll after a meal.
Alternatively, if two wheels are more your thing, there are a range of bridleways and tracks through deep forests, along estuaries and down country lanes for cyclists to experience the landscape. Be prepared though, as many will falsely have you believe that Suffolk is flat! There may well be some steep climbs on your route.
Sailing along the five estuaries of Suffolk is hugely popular, not only for taking part in the activity but also for the spectating. Many locals and visitors enjoy the waterway by admiring the maritime activities taking place. So, whether you want to give sailing a go yourself, or just enjoy a cup of tea while the world goes by, the estuary is the place to be!
Will you explore any of Suffolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty while you are on your holiday? We would love to hear about your experience via our social media channels!