SUFFOLK TOURIST GUIDE

RSPB North Warren



For great hiking or bird watching, RSPB's North Warren reserve near Aldebuurgh is a fantastic and easily accessible getaway. Way-marked trails lead you through a wide variety of habitats within a relatively small area. Stroll across the heathland to hear Dartford warblers and woodlarks, while bitterns and marsh harriers can be seen in the reedbeds. The wet grassland supports breeding waders and wintering wildfowl, including some of the UK’s only regular tundra bean geese.



In spring, breeding lapwings and redshanks on the wet grassland along with a variety of passage waders. The path running through the centre of the grazing marsh is alive with sedge and reed warblers. Scanning over the reedbed should provide views of marsh harriers and hobbies. Bitterns breed here, but can be difficult to spot. On the heath you may hear woodlarks and green woodpeckers can often be seen, along with passing wheatears. In the scrub and woodland areas, many warblers and nightingales can be heard and, with patience, observed.



In summer, look for male marsh harriers bringing prey to feed their young. Bitterns are often easier to see at this time as females fly between feeding sites. Look for swifts, swallows and martins over the reedbed. Many species of dragonflies and butterflies can be seen. Along the shingle beach, both sea pea and yellow-horned poppies should be in flower. On the heath, the heather will be in full flower, and look for yellowhammers and stonechats.

The autumn brings a variety of passage waders and the first of the wintering wildfowl begin to return. In early morning, many passerine migrants may be present in the scrub areas, including warblers, whinchats and wheatears. Scarce migrants such as wrynecks or yellow-browed warblers may be possible. In favourable conditions, gannets, shearwaters and skuas can be seen offshore.



The grazing marshes support nationally important numbers of wigeons, gadwalls, shovelers, and European white-fronted geese. This is one of the few regular wintering sites for tundra bean geese in the UK. At high-tide, up to 2,000 dunlins and lapwings may be present. Offshore, views of red-throated divers are likely as internationally important numbers winter off the Suffolk coast. On mild mornings from January onwards, woodlarks may be heard in song. At dusk, look for marsh harriers and starlings gathering to roost in the reedbed. Foxes often hunt for rabbits.



North Warren is accessible via public footpaths between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, with a choice of circular routes varying from 1.8 miles (3 km) to 5.5 miles (9 km) in length. There are no hides, but there is viewpoint overlooking North Marsh and three viewpoints overlooking South Marsh will be open in autumn 2014. These viewpoints are accessible via permissive paths. A local Ordnance Survey map is recommended. Dogs are allowed on public footpaths and bridleways.



Getting There
The nearest railway station is Saxmundham, 6 miles (9.6 km) away. By bicycle, follow signs for Leiston, then take the Aldeburgh road. Buses (First Buses service 64) run regularly between Saxmundham and Aldeburgh.

If you're driving, leave the A12 on the A1094 for Aldeburgh. Follow this to Aldeburgh town centre. After passing the church, go straight on at crossroads, then left onto Thorpe Road, towards Thorpeness. After leaving the town, and shortly before the 40 mph speed limit ends, there is a large pay-and-display car park on the right.

The reserve is easily reached on foot from Aldeburgh and Thorpeness. Many footpaths cross the reserve. Two long-distance walks - the Suffolk Coast Path and Sandlings Walk - cross the reserve. A permissive path follows the route of the old railway line.

AccessibilityNature trails
The grazing marshes can be viewed from the surfaced path along the beach, and from the car park. The old railway line path is accessible with difficulty. The rest of the route is not accessible.

An all-terrain wheelchair can be hired - contact Aldeburgh Tourist Information Centre (please note, this service is not provided by the RSPB).

RSPB North Warren contact tel 01728 648281

For accommodation in Aldbeburgh, click here.

Other RSPB Nature Reserves include--
RSPB Minsmere
RSPB Lakenheath Fen
and
Havergate Island.

For more birdwatching locations, check out Birdwatching in Suffolk.

Have you visited RSPB North Warren? Please send us your reviews and comments to suffolkguides.admin@suffolktouristguide.com.

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