Discovering Suffolk - The Brecks, Ancient Woodlands and Valleys, Suffolk Coast and Villages
Suffolk inspires everyone, from George Orwell who adopted the name of one of our rivers, to bird watchers and nature lovers who come to see our unique landscapes. Exploring Suffolk's coastal villages, the Brecks, ancient woodlands, valleys and coastal villages will enthrall and delight you.
If you love walking, cycling or horse riding, then Suffolk's low lying, gentle landscape is excellent. A predominantly agricultural county you’ll find fields enclosed in low hedges, crops of cereals and sugar beet alongside cattle and pig farms, and belts of ancient woodland to explore.
From the east to the west, under impressive skies, the varied landscape of Suffolk changes subtly.
In the east you will find a coastline of shingle shores, sandy beaches and low cliffs. The majority of the coast forms the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of the most important lowland landscapes in England and Wales. There are five estuaries and associated saltmarsh, mudflats, grazing marshes and reed beds, plus the internationally famous RSPB Minsmere, where you can watch avocets and marsh harriers and if you're lucky, hear bitterns booming in the reed beds.
The Suffolk coast, with its villages and towns, once rich trading ports in the middle ages, was the inspiration for the composer Sir Benjamin Britten. More recently it has inspired Maggi Hambling, whose much loved and often discussed Scallop sculpture on the beach at Aldeburgh celebrates Benjamin Britten’s work.
Discover more about the Suffolk Coastal area, the Sunrise Coast around Lowestoft and Southwold and the Ipswich area.
Inland are undulating fields, enfolding picturesque villages and slow-flowing streams. Some of the finest ancient woodlands can be found in this part of Suffolk, an area which abounds with ancient market towns, including Bury St Edmunds, once the capital of the Saxon Kingdom of Anglia, and Lavenham, hardly changed since its heyday as an important Middle Ages wool town. On the border with Norfolk lies the Waveney Valley, a beautiful and relaxing area ideal for walking.
Discover more about the South and Heart of Suffolk.
Dedham Vale and Stour Valley
The southern part of the county forms the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of our most cherished landscapes. This is the land that inspired Suffolk’s own John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough. At Flatford you can admire the scene of the Haywain before taking a stroll along the River Stour. In Sudbury visit Gainsborough’s House and then explore the river meadows and Stour Valley Path.
To the west and north of the county are The Brecks, a striking landscape of tranquil pine forest and open heathland, making an excellent landscape for walking, cycling and horse riding. The Brecks are famous for their chalky and sandy soils, home to many unique and distinctive birds, plants and animals with rabbit-cropped turf, rich in flints. At High Lodge in Thetford Forest you can explore 26 different walks for all abilities and enjoy the challenge of cycle paths including over 10 miles of Black and Red mountain bike routes.
Discover more about Bury St Edmunds, the west of Suffolk and the Brecks.