Suffolk Coast and Heath Walks
3 long-distance routes in the AONB: the Suffolk Coast Path, the Stour and Orwell Walk and the Sandlings Walk
Guidebook to 3 long-distance routes exploring the varied landscapes of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB. The Suffolk Coast Path covers 55 to 60 miles from Lowestoft to Felixstowe. The Stour and Orwell Walk is 40 miles from Felixstowe to Cattawade near Manningtree, while the Sandlings Walk is 59 miles from Ipswich to Southwold.
Seasonsall the routes can be walked at any time of year; summer is the busiest time and accommodation may be hard to find during the Aldeburgh Festival in June; spring and autumn are best for watching birds; winter has its own charm when you may find that you have the place to yourself
CentresLowestoft, Southwold, Felixstowe and Ipswich
Difficultyall of these coast and heath walks are easy for those of moderate fitness; no special ability or equipment is necessary and the only challenge comes from attempting to complete the long-distance routes in succession as a multi-day itinerary
Must SeeSuffolk Coast & Heaths AONB; once-great sea ports like Southwold, Dunwich and Aldeburgh; a landscape characterised by estuaries, marshes, dunes, sand and shingle beaches; unique scenery and wildlife
The three long-distance walks described in this book - the Suffolk Coast Path, the Stour and Orwell Walk and the Sandlings Walk - link together to provide a comprehensive and varied circuit of the entire Suffolk Heritage Coast. The Suffolk Coast Path stretches along the coast between Lowestoft and Landguard Fort, close to Felixstowe in the south, a total distance of 60 miles (97km) depending on whether beach walking or inland options are followed.
The Stour and Orwell Walk continues where the Suffolk Coast Path ends, starting at Landguard Point threading for 40 mile (64km) around the estuaries of the Stour and Orwell rivers to finish at Cattawade, close to the Essex border. The Sandlings Walk (59 miles/94.5km) explores the heathland region that lies immediately inland from the Suffolk coast. With the exception of the first stage, between Ipswich and Woodbridge, the route of the Sandlings Walk lies entirely within the confines of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB. With a unique landscape of cliffs, marshes, dunes and shingle beaches, and rare plants and birdlife galore, there is much to attract anyone seeking interesting day walks or longer multi-day itineraries.
Three Long-Distance Walks
History of the Landscape
Wildlife and Flowers
Culture and Heritage
Getting There and Back
When to Go
What to Take
Food and Accommodation
Waymarks and Access
Using This Guide
THE SUFFOLK COAST PATH
Stage 1 Lowestoft to Covehithe
Stage 2 Covehithe to Southwold
Stage 3 Southwold to Dunwich
Stage 4 Dunwich to Thorpeness
Stage 5 Thorpeness to Snape Maltings
Stage 6 Snape Maltings to Chillesford
Stage 7 Chillesford to Shingle Street
Suffolk Coast Path/Stour and Orwell Walk Link
THE STOUR AND ORWELL WALK
Stage 1 Trimley St Mary to Nacton
Stage 2 Nacton to Orwell Bridge, Ipswich
Stage 3 Orwell Bridge, Ipswich to Pin Mill
Stage 4 Pin Mill to Lower Holbrook
Stage 5 Lower Holbrook to Cattawade
THE SANDLINGS WALK
Stage 1 Ipswich to Woodbridge via Martlesham Heath
Stage 2 Woodbridge to Upper Hollesley Common
Stage 3 Upper Hollesley Common to Butley via Rendlesham Forest
Stage 4 Butley to Snape Maltings via Tunstall Forest
Stage 5 Snape Maltings to Thorpeness
Stage 6 Thorpeness to Dunwich Heath
Stage 7 Dunwich Heath to Southwold
Appendix A Route Summary Table
Appendix B Useful Contacts
Appendix C Further Reading
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The Sandlings Walk - Update October 2017
Thanks to Colin Park for these observations
Stage 2. Text is fine but map on page 130 is shown slightly wrong. Between TM287503 – TM290501 the path stays along the riverside embankment and does not go via Melton Station as shown. Also between TM292500 – TM294501 the path goes via the boardwalk north of the A1152 and does not go via the A1152 and Common Lane as shown on the map.
Stage 3. Although the text is fine the map on page 135 is slightly wrong around Tangham House. Between TM352480 and TM354484 the signed path goes north through woods prior to getting to Tangham House then east passing a toilet block and through car park to reach north/south lane. The correct route from here is TM359492 then north via TM359495 then west northwest to TM358495 - not direct in a straight line as shown on the map.
Stage 6. Text is OK but the maps on pages 150/152 are shown slightly wrong. From the coast through Goose Hill, the signed route from TM475645 goes inland to cross a footbridge at TM473644 then hugs the southern edge of the Goose Hill plantation via TM468645 to TM466646 - it does not go via the track passing the 9-metre trig point. (Note the latest OS 1:25,000 map shows this incorrectly too.)
All three are described as suitable for newcomers to long-distance walking.
This is the second edition of this pocket-sized Cicerone guide to three connected long-distance paths in the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB, namely the Suffolk Coast Path (60 or 55 miles), the Stour and Orwell Walk (40 miles) and the Sandlings Walk (60 miles).
All three are described as suitable for newcomers to long-distance walking. The Suffolk Coast Path runs between Lowestoft in the north and Landguard Fort, close to Felixstowe, in the south. With the exception of first stage, it lies completely within the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB. Both inland and coastal variants are included.
The Stour and Orwell Walk threads around the estuaries of the Stour and Orwell rivers from Felixstowe to Cattawade, close to the Essex border. The route can be shortened by making use of the Landguard Fort to Shotley Gate ferry.
The Sandlings Walk explores the heath land region immediately inland from the Suffolk coast. It runs from lpswich to Southwold via Martlesham Heath, the River Deben estuary and Sandlings Heath. With the exception of the first stage, the route also lies entirely within the AONB.
Each trail is divided into 5-12 mile stages which are summarised in an Appendix. Routes are drawn on Ordnance Survey strip maps without obscuring path details. Route descriptions do not always face their maps; there are no on-map descriptions other than the routes themselves. Binding may be more durable than that of other guidebooks. The paper appears to be water-resistant. A good feature of this guide is its advice and information regarding tides and seasonal ferries, as well as public transport. The book's page on the Cicerone website includes an Updates tab.
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Originally from the West Midlands, Laurence Mitchell has been based in East Anglia for longer than he cares to remember. He worked as a geography teacher for many years before finally reinventing himself as a freelance travel writer and photographer. Laurence is especially interested in off-the-beaten-track destinations like the Balkans, Central Asia and the Caucasus region and has written guidebooks to Serbia, Belgrade and Kyrgyzstan as well as his own backyard of Norfolk and Suffolk, which he enjoys just as much as anywhere else. He is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers and the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.View Articles and Books by Laurence Mitchell