Suffolk Coast National Nature Reserve
The Suffolk Coast NNR is made up of three nature reserves: Walberswick, Hen Reedbed and Dingle Marshes, and is perhaps best-known for its flocks of over-wintering wildfowl. Some of the most impressive wildlife sights of the winter on the Blythe estuary are the flocks of teal, wigeon and pintail, returning to feed on the intertidal mud and grazing marshes. They are joined by greylags, pink-footed and barnacle geese, and occasionally, mute swans will be joined by small groups of yellow-beaked whooper and Bewick’s swans. Waders include avocet and golden plover, and grey plover from the Arctic tundra. Dunlin and knot rise in clouds alongside oystercatchers, lapwing, redshank and curlew. Over 280 bird species have been recorded. The reserve has a rich beach flora, while the wetlands are home to marsh sower-thistle, bog pimpernel, sneezewort, lousewort, bogbean, frog-bit and greater bladderwort. The heaths are rich in acid-loving species, which include fenugreek, subterranean and suffocated clovers and mossy stonecrop. Resident mammals include otters, water voles and five species of deer, and natterjack toads have been re-introduced to the area.
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About The area
Suffolk is Constable country, where the county’s crumbling, time-ravaged coastline spreads itself under wide skies to convey a wonderful sense of remoteness and solitude. Highly evocative and atmospheric, this is where rivers wind lazily to the sea and notorious 18th-century smugglers hid from the excise men. John Constable immortalised these expansive flatlands in his paintings in the 18th century, and his artwork raises the region’s profile to this day.
Walking is one of Suffolk’s most popular recreational activities. It may be flat but the county has much to discover on foot – not least the isolated Heritage Coast, which can be accessed via the Suffolk Coast Path. Southwold, with its distinctive, white-walled lighthouse standing sentinel above the town and its colourful beach huts and attractive pier features on many a promotional brochure. Much of Suffolk’s coastal heathland is protected as a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and shelters several rare creatures including the adder, the heath butterfly and the nightjar. In addition to walking, there is a good choice of cycling routes but for something less demanding, visit some of Suffolk’s charming old towns, with streets of handsome, period buildings and picturesque, timber-framed houses.
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