English Nature manages three National Nature Reserves, including Walberswick National Nature Reserve. The site is one of the most diverse in natural England, and the small area includes a variety of unique and globally significant habitats.
The Sandlings Heaths, one of the UK’s finest remaining heathlands, can be found in Walberswick Nature Reserve. Other habitats visitors can expect to see here include woodlands, grasslands, saline lagoons, the salt marshes on the Blyth Estuary, and the mudflats at the Westwood Marshes reed beds. Shingle Beach also forms part of the reserve.
There is a well-marked path through the reserve, which allows you to experience the Walberswick National Nature Reserve at its finest.
Visitors can park in one of the nearby car parks and walk along the beach from Walberswick Village to Dunwich Village. Dunwich Village used to be East Anglia’s largest medieval town before much of it was lost to the sea and coastal erosion. It is a unique historic site well worth visiting. Look for the yellow and blue Suffolk Coast Path way-marker discs to keep on track.
Reed harvesting is still occurring in the area, providing income while also preserving the water level in the reed bed in order to protect the area’s unique wildlife. The marsh is globally significant for its tremendous diversity of birdlife. Some of the species of birds you can expect to see here include the Bearded Tit, the March Harrier Water Rail, the Dartford Warbler, and the Bittern.
There is also a defunct windpump in the marshes. The pump is an heirloom of the era when these marshes were drained for farming purposes.
During the wintertime, the sea breaks through the shingle bank and floods the fresh marshes, which could have devastating consequences for the area’s wildlife. There is a search underway for sites to replace those that may be lost, as it may be impossible to protect these important coastal marshes from the sea.
There are various options if you’re looking for some refreshments in the area. One of these is The Ship, Dunwich, which offers accommodation as well as fantastic food and local ales.
Suffolk Tourist Guide offers everything you need to know about all the great things to do and places to see in the wonderful county of Suffolk.