Gallery: Discover the bluebells and immerse yourself in history as you walk along the Dunwich coast
- Credit: Archant
FOR walking enthusiast Alison Connors, everyday is the perfect day for a ramble along the Suffolk coast and now the finer weather is here, there is no excuse not to join her.
Over the years, Alison has covered most of the county on her energetic strolls, taking in the sights, smells and ever-changing scenery.
Each week she will be sharing one of her well-trodden routes with readers.
This week she has chosen a route around Dunwich that can be divided into two for those new to walking, or walked together by those with a real spring in their step.
The walk allows you to admire the vivid bluebells that are finally blooming.
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She said: “There are two walks so there is a choice of either doing one or both. The first takes you from the coast edge onto a track next to the forest and back again while the second takes you from Dunwich cliffs to the National Trust Dunwich Heath and back along tracks.”
Alsion continued: “Dunwich is full of history; just take a look at the notice boards in the information centre when you get to the car park. You will see a pictorial interpretation of what Dunwich would have looked like before the sea swallowed all the buildings.”
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Encouraging people to get out walking in Dunwich, she said: “It’s a beautiful village and such a peaceful piece of coastline and the purple and pink heather is in full bloom from June until September. The heath land is huge and is covered in wonderful colour and gorse is in bloom right now.
“And Dartmoor ponies roam the forest, also deer, all of which I have seen on many of my walks there.”
Whilst in the area, why not also take a look at the conservation work that is going on at the Greyfriars Friary ruins, or visit the museum in St James Street, which is full of fascinating information and images about the history of Dunwich.
Walk 1 - red
1 – From the Dingle Marshes car park take the wide open track North towards Southwold. The terrain is grassy and firm for half of this first part of the walk. You will however reach a point where it turns to shingle. There are variations of difficulty on this sort of surface so find the best bit for you. Plus, take your time. You need to slow down your pace on uneven surfaces.
2 – Take a turn left, inland at a big notice board. Head towards the mound of Gorse. Keep the mound on your left. You will see a slight hill where the path breaks into two. The one straight in front of you goes to Walberswick. Take the one on your left. This will bring you to a gate to your left. Go through it.
3 – Follow the wide open grassy pathway to a track. Keep left on the track. You will then go through a gate into a small wood. Continue following this track. You are now parallel to the sea. The woodland and the track edges are scattered with Bluebells and other wild flowers.
4 – At the end of the track you will come out onto a road. There is no path so keep to the side and be aware of traffic. Follow this road past the church and through the village. The church has benches on the green in front of it. From there you will find a path to walk on. This is St James Street. It will take you past the Museum, the Ship Inn, then back to the car park.
Walk 2 - blue
1 – From the Dingle Marshes car park take the road out of the car park towards the village. Just before you reach the ‘give way’ markings on the road you will see a path marked to your left. Take this path. This will bring you to the cliff top. It is quite a height at this point. Try not to step too close to the edge. Remember that the grass cliff edge may not have much or any support underneath. Just stand back and enjoy the wonderful view.
2 – Continue on this path to the ruins of the Greyfriars Friary. Follow the path round them. This will take you left into woodland. At the edge of the wood turn left. The track will take you past cottages then onto a bend in a road. Take this road continuing to head straight. Just up this road to the left you will see a footpath sign. Turn left onto this track.
3 – Follow this track through woodland. At the end it will come out at a road. Cross the road, taking the National Trust path to the left. This runs parallel to the road. Follow the path until it opens up into a grassy open area. Take the path to your left, crossing the road into Dunwich Heath.
4 – The grassy path will take you through the heather to the Seawatch observation hut which looks out across the sea. Keep that to your left and head towards the National Trusts Coastguard Cottages. Here you can eat, drink, shop, picnic and enjoy amazing views of land and sea.
5 – You will see a big sign post at the car park road which points to the toilet block. Keep this building to your left, taking the gap way to your right. The path will open up to reveal various paths. You take the one opposite which has the blue Suffolk Coast&Heaths sign. The path will take you through a nice stretch of the heath land. Keep on this until you see a second blue Coast path sign to your right. Take this path. You will end up at a wooden crossroads path sign. Continue straight, taking the path towards the National Trusts Mount Pleasant Farm. This building you will walk past further down the track on your right. Keep straight until you reach a road. Cross the road onto another track. This will take you down hill to a Bridleway.
6 – Turn right onto the Bridleway which will take you through hedgerows and woodland, ending up at a road. From here the road will take you past the church, through the village and left at the end to the Dingle Marshes start point.