Bitesize Suffolk - Dunwich and Walberswick
Published: Wednesday 10th Jul 2019
Written by: Sally Owen
If you're looking for ideas for a weekend away in Suffolk then you've come to the right place. This is the first is in a series of 'Bitesize' blogs - a collection of two-day itineraries showcasing the highlights of our glorious county.
This time, the spotlight is on Dunwich - a small village with a powerful history. If you're a lover of donning your walking boots and getting outdoors, then read on.
Where: Dunwich/Walberswick, staying in Dunwich.
Who: Outdoor Adventurers, Walkers
When: Lovely any time of year
DAY ONE - National Trust Dunwich Heath
Dunwich Heath isn’t just a rare and precious habitat, where species such as the Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark and ant lion make their home, but a place where you can truly escape the hustle and bustle of modern life. There’s a 5 mile dog-friendly trail walk you can do, starting from the visitor centre car park, through heathland up to the village before following the Suffolk coast path back, which, without stops, should take most people around two hours. En route, you’ll pass by the ruins of Greyfriars, a Franciscan monastery dating back to the thirteenth century and now the only reminder of the once thriving medieval port which was claimed by the waves during a storm. (Local legend has it that you can still hear the church bells peal from beneath the waves….)
The walk ends back at the visitors centre where you can stop for a spot of lunch in the National Trust ‘Coastguard Cottages tea room.
Having spent the morning on the heath, what better way to enjoy the afternoon than either walking along the pebble beach (doing a mini beach clean if you spot any litter), or relaxing to watch the wildlife, not just the birds the area is famous for but, if you’re lucky, porpoises, too.
Or, why not time your visit to coincide with one of the many activities the National Trust offer, from insect safaris to nightjar walks and even a two day festival of pies!
In Dunwich village itself, the dog-friendly local pub, The Ship, once the haunt of smugglers, is now better known for its fantastic, locally sourced menu, the perfect end to an active day!
DAY TWO - A Walk to Walberswick
By the coastal car park in Dunwich you’ll find Flora Tea Rooms, practically a rite of passage for anyone walking or birdwatching along this coastal stretch. They do a cracking brunch, too, which will set you up for enjoying the circular walk to Walberswick (Southwold if you want to go further). If going the longer distance, the walk in total should take around three hours for the 6 miles / 10 kilometres, and you can choose whether you want to go inland first or head instead along the coast. Whatever you decide, the area in between offers some of the finest scenery in the county, taking in the nature reserve at Walberswick, and being flanked by either reedbeds and marshes or the waves. It’s also a haven for wildlife (and is deservedly earmarked as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), so look out for marsh harriers or listen for the booming call of the bittern.
Once in Walberswick, a gorgeous, quaint village which has almost a 1950’s atmosphere, you can enjoy the huge swathes of sandy beach and, if you’ve packed your swimming things and the weather is right, a great place to cool off before having a refreshing pint (or lunch!) at The Anchor.
Whilst you might be tempted to amble at a leisurely pace on the way back to Dunwich, if you’ve booked one of our holiday extras, a private dinner cooked by esteemed local chef, Emma Crowhurst, who was head-teacher at Leith’s School of Food and Wine (as well as being a food writer and TV presenter!), you’ll want to ensure you’ve worked up an appetite. It’s a real treat, being cooked for by such a talent and her enthusiasm is infectious, you may well learn a thing or two whilst she’s preparing.
What a weekend!