Walking is a favourite activity for families as it tempts children outside for exercise they don’t even realise they are getting! Our guest writer Natasha Sones continues our series of active Suffolk for families and shares the best family places to walk under the wide Suffolk skies.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Suffolk has two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. One of the best ways to explore them is on foot. It is easy to get around by public transport too. This coastal landscape reaches from the Stour estuary in the South to Kessingland in the North. It features a unique mixture of shingle beaches, crumbling cliffs, marshes, estuaries, heathland, forests, and farmland.
Visit some peaceful woodland for gorgeous walks in Suffolk. You can choose from places such as Dunwich Forest or Tunstall. Tunstall Forest is ideal for spotting ground-nesting birds such as the nightjar and woodlark.
A well-known forest in the area is Rendlesham Forest. There are several different walking trails around the forest, including the UFO trail, the site of the famous incident in 1980. One of the two circular walks is easy access and suitable for all abilities. Kids will enjoy the children’s play areas and sculptures to discover in Tangham Wood. There are plenty of places for a picnic, and a mobile café offering food and toilets.
If visiting High Lodge at Thetford Forest, you could become a forest superhero and follow the new Superworm trail. A perfect family day out, plus share your experiences and photos with #SuperwormTrail for a chance to win prizes. Nearby is Brandon, where you’ll find plenty of waymarked walking trails of varying lengths.
Explore the smells and sounds of the forest at Brandon
Suffolk features 50 miles of unspoilt heritage coastline and beautiful beaches, perfect for picturesque walks alone or with family and friends. Most beaches welcome dogs out of season (October to April) but it’s always worth checking. During the summer months, they can still accompany you on a lead. Take a picnic or sample delicious fish and chips for lunch.
Southwold to Walberswick is a great, three-mile walk, which covers a section of the long-distance Suffolk Coast Path.
When exploring Suffolk’s coastline you may find yourself needing to cross one of the many rivers or waterways. There is a unique network of foot ferries that operate in Walberswick, Butley, Bawdsey, and Felixstowe so you can keep walking. Take care when out walking along the coast and estuaries. The low-lying coast is subject to changeable conditions, so watch out for changes in tides, cliff erosion, and dangerous soft mud/sand.
One lovely feature of Suffolk is the heathland that comes alive with ever-changing colours from spring to autumn. Dunwich Heath and beach, a nature reserve with a vast expanse of heathland, is great to explore with a walk. Be aware that some paths take you over uneven terrain.
The heathland at Dunwich is a kaleidoscope of colour throughout the seasons
Explore the Suffolk countryside and fall in love with the stunning scenery dotted with pink thatched cottages and ancient buildings. In “Constable Country” – the picturesque Stour Valley and Dedham Vale area – you can enjoy panoramic views on a walk through history through scenery made famous by the 18th-century landscape artist, John Constable.
When walking through the countryside, make sure you keep control of dogs and follow the Countryside Code.
The landscapes in the Stour valley have hardly changed since Constable’s time
Towns and villages
You might decide to take a look at some particular places in Suffolk whilst visiting. There are lots of character-filled cottages within the picturesque wool towns and villages of Lavenham and Long Melford. This area was incredibly prosperous during medieval times due to a thriving wool and textiles industry. Lavenham is a medieval village with crooked Tudor timber-framed buildings, it has more than 340 listed buildings. The streets of Lavenham were used as a background for the scenes in Godric’s Hollow in the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Nearby, Long Melford has a good mix of independent shops, antique dealers, and tea rooms. Whilst the village of Monks Eleigh is steeped in history and there is a great view from the church tower. The nearby village of Kersey is well known for its picture-postcard high street.
Pay a visit to the market town of Framlingham too, where Ed Sheeran grew up. Don’t miss Framlingham Castle, a 12th-century fortress that is run by English Heritage.
Children will love a walk exploring the historic Framlingham Castle
Natasha Sones has an outside family adventure travel blog: www.natashasoneseditorial.com/blog. With three children, three dogs and a husband she enjoys days out, holidays, camping, walking, paddleboarding, kayaking, stargazing and much more! Follow her blog or her Instagram account: @natashastarseeker if you love family lifestyle articles.