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The River Waveney at Homersfield (c) Hugh Chevallier

The Fab 40: Discover Suffolk's Natural Wonders

Suffolk is a county full of natural wonders, from the annual red deer rut on The Suffolk Coast (arguably one of the most dramatic natural spectacles in Britain) to the expansive, sky-mirroring Lackford Lakes near Bury St Edmunds. There are so many ways to be active in nature that it can be difficult to know where to start, which is why this list of Suffolk’s Fab 40 Adventures by Suffolk County Council is so helpful. Starting with autumn, here you can discover the 40 activities to keep you busy in the great outdoors all year, earning certificates as you go:

AUTUMN

1. Make a den
2. Bake a wild blackberry pie
3. Carve a pumpkin lantern and make soup too
4. Build a home for wildlife in your garden
5. Kick fallen leaves in the wood
6. Collect and roast sweet chestnuts
7. See and hear the clash of antlers
8. Capture the colours of autumn
9. Find all sorts of pine cones and make seasonal decorations
10. Eat an apple straight from the tree

Star activity: See & Hear the Clash of Antlers

Every October at RSPB Minsmere on the Suffolk Coast, Britain’s largest herd of red deer enter a month-long battle… with each other. The red deer rut is a stunning natural spectacle in which the herd’s majestic stags lock horns in a bid to overpower their opponent, with the strongest stag winning the right to mate. From the safety of a jeep safari with an RSPB guide, or watching from the viewing point on Westleton Heath, you’ll be able to hear the clash of antlers and the stags’ bellows as this awe-inspiring natural event unfolds.
Red stag at RSPB Minsmere (c) Paul SawerAutumn is the time to see red deer rutting in Suffolk
Photo (c) Paul Sawer

WINTER

1. Break the ice on a puddle 
2. Hunt for treasure on the shore
3. Take a night time walk
4. Find the biggest tree in the park or wood
5. Be the first footsteps in the snow
6. Photograph a frosty morning to share with the world
7. Build a nest box and put it up in your garden
8. Spot snowdrops in the woods
9. Take part in the world’s biggest bird survey
10. Watch a robin in your garden and dig him up some dinner

Star activity: Photograph a frosty morning to share with the world

Suffolk is a different county in winter. As frost and snow descend over the landscape, the trees, rivers and fields are transformed into crystallised versions of themselves, encrusted with glittering diamonds of ice and dangling icicles. The wildlife changes, too, with new birds flying in to winter and summer’s flocks disappearing to warmer climes. As a photographer, Suffolk in winter is an intriguing and magical subject, as the photo below proves.
Snape marshes in the snow (c) Visit England / Johnny GooderhamSnape marshes looking spectacular in the winter
Photo (c) Visit England / Johnny Gooderham

SPRING

1. Wonder at magical carpets in an ancient bluebell wood
2. Spot a Mad March Hare or two
3. Encounter spring lambs down on the farm
4. Plant it. Grow it. Eat it.
5. Watch a very special show: Strictly Skydancing, featuring Suffolk’s birds of prey
6. Discover signs of pirates in a country churchyard
7. Listen out for a tawny owl
8. Look out for frogspawn in the pond
9. Prepare a wild salad
10. Spring clean a local area

Star activity: Spot a Mad March Hare or Two

Lewis Carroll’s raving mad March Hare was not the first of his kind; in fact Carroll was appropriating a centuries-old notion that hares behave rather strangely in March. There is method in the madness, however: March marks the beginning of the hares’ mating season, during which they display excited behaviour and can be seen out in broad daylight, chasing each other across fields and boxing with their paws, either to compete with each other (if both hares are male), or for a female to show that she is not ready to mate. Springtime therefore is the ideal time to spot March hares at their maddest, whether it be at Trimley Marshes nature reserve near Felixstowe, during a luxurious stay at the Wilderness Reserve in Sibton, or at RSPB Havergate Island off the coast of Orford.
A brown hare (c) Smudge 9000Will you see the brown hares boxing in Suffolk? 
Photo (c) Smudge 9000

SUMMER

1. Hide up in a tree and spy on the world
2. See a meteor shower
3. Spot the blue flash of a kingfisher from a riverside path
4. Find your perfect picnic spot
5. Go fishing for crabs
6. Put a toe in the water down at the stream
7. Take a swim in the sea
8. Simply lay back, look and listen
9. Watch dragonflies hunting over the water
10. Discover the beauty of butterflies on a meadowland stroll

Star activity: Spot the blue flash of a kingfisher from a riverside path

There are kingfisher to be found all over Suffolk – the key is being quick enough to spot them. These beautifully plumed birds are often seen as a flash of cobalt blue as they dive down to the water’s surface to catch a fish. One of the best chances you have of catching a glimpse of a kingfisher is at Lackford Lakes near Bury St Edmunds, and you can increase your chances by knowing a little about the birds themselves: being territorial, kingfishers will stake out a patch a water where they know the fishing is good; they also tend to have favourite perches, so once you’ve spotted one, stay still and quiet and it should stick around.
Kingfisher at Lackford Lakes in Suffolk (c) Tony SmithA kingfisher enjoying its catch at Lackford Lakes in Suffolk
Photo (c) Tony Smith

READY TO START DISCOVERING SUFFOLK'S NATURAL WONDERS?

You can download and complete the full Fab 40 Activity Sheet from fab40suffolk.co.uk. And if you find yourself enchanted by one of Suffolk's natural wonders along the way, why not tell us all about it via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?