Suffolk coast's beauty spots 'won't be special if you spoil it'

The sunrises over the calm sea at Shingle Street on the hottest day of the year. Picture: SARAH LUC

The sunrises over the calm sea at Shingle Street on the hottest day of the year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Visitors are increasingly going to out-of-the-way destinations in Suffolk to get away from people at a time when the pandemic is ongoing. 

Shingle Street and Covehithe, both located in Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are out-of-the-way destinations with few inhabitants. 

Covehithe beach is one of the county's best hidden coastal gems

Covehithe has no car parks and toilets - Credit: Jane George

But both have had issues with coastal erosion, and UK environmental search authority Groundsure has warned Covehithe will likely "fall into the sea". 

The Environment Agency’s national coastal erosion risk mapping estimates in five decades or 100 years 800m could be lost, cutting away some of Benacre Ness. 

In 2020, a total of £3.1 million was provided to Benacre and Kessingland Flood Management Scheme to protect the coastline and there has been a lot of work done to protect the area. 

James Mallinder, Conservative cabinet member for the environment at East Suffolk Council

East Suffolk district Deben ward councillor James Mallinder says it "won't be special " if you spoil Shingle Street - Credit: East Suffolk Council

Shingle Street has also increasingly seen visitors as a remote and beautiful area, particularly after it appeared in Richard Curtis' and Danny Boyle's latest film Yesterday

East Suffolk district Deben ward councillor James Mallinder believes the increased amount of visitors just shows how beautiful the area is. 

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Mr Mallinder added: "We welcome people who are respectful. 

"But if you spoil it. It won't be special anymore."

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A small minority have been parking on grass verges, ruining nature on walkways and excessive litter. 

He said last year "crazily" they had a BBQ put in a bin, which set it on fire. 

"It's crazy – you can't make it up," he added. 

He recommended if people go down to areas of outstanding natural beauty like Shingle Street and it's "busy" they should turn back. 

"Or you can go another day," he said. 

He added it was "encouraging" to see more people appreciating Suffolk's beauty and asked them to explore nearby Sutton Hoo and Bawdsey. 

East Suffolk district councillor Norman Brooks, whose ward of Wrentham, Wangford and Westleton covers Covehithe, said he has not heard of any issues on the beach. 

"Most people do good [on rubbish] and certain people do not use the bins that are provided," Mr Brooks said.  

"I think people have worked hard to be sensible and proficient across the whole of East Suffolk."

He encouraged people to be careful during the pandemic and wear masks and social distance. 

"People are already behaving really well," he added. 

Simon Amstutz, Suffolk Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale AONB manager

Simon Amstutz, Suffolk Coast & Heaths and Dedham Vale AONB manager - Credit: Archant

Simon Amstutz, Dedham Vale AONB Stour Valley Projects and Coast and Heaths AONB manager, said there a lot of nice areas on Suffolk coasts. 

Mr Amstutz said Suffolk AONB have had reports of littering, which can cause farmers a headache when it's ingested by cows, and wild toileting. 

"These sorts of behaviours are very disappointing," he said. 

But he stressed in the main people are well-behaved amd AONBs have secured funding from the government from Babergh District Council to further protect them. 

"We do want people walking in these areas of natural beauty," he added. 

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