Dunwich – the ‘lost’ village
And so to Dunwich, where again the sheep ‘mow’ the grass in the churchyard. This village was once the most prosperous port on the Suffolk coast, but after centuries of coastal erosion most of it has been lost to the sea. It’s well worth a visit to the excellent little museum to learn more about its fascinating history. Turning south, I joined the Suffolk Coast Path, which does a loop inland away from the crumbling cliffs taking one over delightful Dunwich Heath – at its most colourful when the heather and gorse are out – down to the landmark white Coastguard Cottages, where the National Trust have their base. It’s an attractive area, the views north from the low cliffs stretching to distant Southwold and its pier, while to the south lies the RSPB’s renowned Minsmere Nature Reserve. Oh, and beyond that the Sizewell power station….
Minsmere RSPB Nature Reserve
Continuing south, the Coast Path forms the eastern boundary of Minsmere, passing one of the reserve’s hides and a public viewing point. From inside both, the sight and sound of so many birds – black-headed gulls and common terns, in particular – was captivating. Among them, a single avocet perched motionless on one leg, seemingly oblivious to the commotion and cacophony around it. Eventually I moved on, and turned inland along a path towards Eastbridge, affording more fine views across Minsmere. Thence north/north-west through the woods – and another sighting of deer that day – and south-west back to Middleton.
Despite the lack of hills, a most agreeable and satisfying walk.