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7 natural wonders of Suffolk

The Seven Natural Wonders of Suffolk

Choosing Suffolk’s seven natural wonders is no easy feat. Diverse, intriguing and expansive landscapes stretch across most of the county, together with an extraordinary abundance of unique wildlife and forever-changing flora. Eventually, and not limited to, Suffolk’s seven natural wonders are like the first butterflies of spring – a lovely surprise!
Horses at RSPB MinsmereWild horses at RSPB Minsmere on the Suffolk coast

1. The Annual Red Deer Rut

The annual Red Deer Rut starts in October and is one of nature’s, and Suffolk’s, greatest spectacles. Hear stags bellow, watch their posturing and, if you’re in luck, see the clash of antlers. It’s a quick frenzy of activity, and the best place to see this in Suffolk is at RSPB Minsmere, on the Suffolk Coast. Any other time of the year, watch the horses run free across this mesmerising landscape.
Red Deer Rut Minsmere

Deers lock horns at RSPB Minsmere in October © Paul Sawer

2. The Brecks

The Brecks is a strange landscape, characterized by the twisted scots pines of Thetford Forest, purple heathland, rare wildlife, and uncommonly blue skies. As one of the driest places in the UK, the Breckland in Suffolk is favoured by walkers, cyclists and adventure sport enthusiasts. It’s also rich in human history and the towns and villages in The Brecks are some of the most intriguing places to go in Suffolk.

The Brecks pine forestThe pine forest in The Brecks

3. Boxing Hares at Havergate Island

This small island in the River Ore is usually famous for its breeding avocets and terns, which can usually be seen during spring and summer. However, in the spring the island also has a large population of brown hares. It’s quite possible that you’ll get to spot one at close range. Access is by boat only – booking is essential. Boats leave Orford Quay at 10am on first Saturday of every month (maximum 12 people). Phone RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve on 01728 648281.

A brown hare (c) Smudge 9000Head to Havergate Island in October for this amazing spectacle

4. Snape Marshes

A place Benjamin Britten drew inspiration from: Snape Marshes Nature Reserve is a landscape of vast skies, golden reeds and stunning waterways. The diverse habitats include reed-filled marshes, dry heath and mature oak woodland. Amble along the well-marked path from Snape Maltings to the historic Iken church, and not only will you be blown away by its understated beauty, if you’re in luck, you may spot a range of reptilian species such as adder, common lizard and grass snake, as well as the magical dragonfly. Marsh harriers and barn owls are also routinely seen!
Snape Marshes Views of Snape Maltings through the reeds © Philip Vile

5. beachcombing at Bawdsey

The shingle beach of Bawdsey is simply fantastic for beachcombing. As well as curious looking plants, sea shells and sea glass are in no shortage. It’s also made more wonderous by its location; set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Deben Peninsula. The Boathouse Café is a great spot to warm up and view nature from the balcony - binoculars included!

Beachcombing at Bawdsey beachHandpicked treasures from Bawdsey Beach © Amanda Bond

6. Orford Ness

Orford Ness is the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe, and therefore a very important habitat nationally and globally. The brackish lagoons of Kings Marsh play a key role in the ecological significance of the site; the fluctuating salinity levels enables the area to support significant plants and animals. Access is by National Trust ferry from Orford Quay from March 2019. Tickets are limited and sold on the day.
Orfordness in Suffolk (c) Scott WylieThe eerie expanse of Orford Ness © Scott Wylie

7. Lackford Lakes

Lackford Lakes is a wildlife haven all-year-round with a diverse landscape of lakes, reeds, meadow and woodland. Each season is full of natural surprises, from nightingales and warblers from Africa in spring, to the kingfisher and swallows in summer, and the golden colours and sounds of wildfowl later in the year. Whichever walking trail you choose, the extraordinary amount of wildlife and flora present in the landscape will bowl you over, but be sure to take your binoculars to make the most of your visit.
Lackford LakesThe wildlife oasis of Lackford Lakes

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