National Trust shows threat to Suffolk coast from climate change

The Coastguard Cottages at Dunwich Heath

Climate change threatens the Suffolk coast at Dunwich. - Credit: Chris Lacey

The National Trust has warned that many of its most cherished properties - including the Suffolk coast at Dunwich - could be damaged forever by climate change over the next 40 years.

It has produced a map showing the impact of global warming leading to more extreme weather phenomena including more destructive storms, heatwaves and periods of drought.

And while some areas - like the Suffolk coast - would be changed by natural forces, climate change will accelerate these so things could happen much faster than expected.

Heathland at Dunwich Heath

The National Trust is looking to preserve its heathland at Dunwich. - Credit: Justin Minns

The Suffolk coast is constantly at threat from coastal erosion and storms - the fate of Dunwich itself in the Middle Ages is well known - and the Trust has bought some further land to try to preserve the biodiversity of its Dunwich Heath nature reserve.

Felbrigg Walled Garden

Felbrigg Walled Garden in Norfolk can now grow near-tropical plants - Credit: david harper/iWitness

Elsewhere in  East Anglia, warmer temperatures have allowed some near-tropical plants to thrive in the walled garden at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk.

The Trust's map illustrates the threat climate change poses to some of its most iconic and culturally significant sites – and offers some solutions on how to tackle it.

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The data will be used by the charity to look at risks to the landscape, with landowners working together to engage local communities to volunteer in their area and help in the fight.

The National Trust is already taking measures to try and tackle the threat posed by climate change by planting or establishing 20million trees – an area the size of Birmingham - and becoming carbon net zero by 2030.

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Coastal areas at risk of collapse or sand dune movements due to rising sea levels will also be highlighted in the future, which will also enable physical intervention.

National Trust Director for Land and Nature Harry Bowell said: “This map is a game changer in how we face the threat climate change poses to the places we care for.

“While the data draws on a worst-case scenario, the map paints a stark picture of what we have to prepare for. But by acting now, and working with nature, we can adapt to many of these risks.”

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