Walks within the Walberswick National Nature Reserve
Published: Friday 31st Jan 2014
Written by: Maddie Darrell
Walberswick National Nature Reserve (NNR) is one of 224 designated NNRs in England and has received this status due to it being an important habitat for wildlife.
There are three NNRs managed by Natural England along the Suffolk Coast – Walberswick, Westleton Heath and Benacre. Walberswick NNR is a short stroll away from our self-catering cottages and provides a home to deer, otters, butterflies, sea anemone and over 280 species of birds.
Spring is a wonderful time of year to visit the reserve as this is when it really comes to life. The skies are filled with a multitude of birds and you’ll hear a symphony of birdsong used to attract mates or to distract predators away from their nests and chicks.
Walberwick NNR is easily reached from our Southwold cottages by walking down to the harbour and crossing the River Blyth via the Bailey’s footbridge. From here you can either choose a trail following the Blyth towards the mouth of the river or a cross country trail which joins up with a network of bridleways. Both of these routes will take you into the heart of Walberswick village. From here you can join the peaceful track south towards Westwood Marshes, passing an old water pump en route.
Listen out for the booming call of bitterns during your walk. Dartford Warbler, Marsh Harrier, Avocets and Lapwings are other species of bird that you may spot in this area.
Westwood Marshes is an excellent feeding ground for many birds and small mammals, providing an abundant source of insects and amphibians. This area also provides pools of open water where otters, kingfishers and herons can feed on fish.
If you follow the boardwalks across the reedbeds and onto the beach, look out for some unusual botanic species along the shingle shoreline including sea beet, yellow horned poppy, sea pea and samphire. You may also catch a glimpse of a very rare sea anemone in this area. The Starlet sea anemone lives in the pools of water that gather along the shoreline. It is so named as its tiny waving tendrils in the water are said to resemble stars in the sky on a clear night.
Continue along the shingle beach, looking out for nesting Little Terns along the way. Once you’ve reached Walberswick village green, why not stop for a spot of lunch or refreshment, before crossing the river back to Southwold.
If you would like to receive an electronic copy (PDF) of the Walberswick NNR walking map, please do not hesitate to email us. If you require assistance in searching for self-catering accommodation in Southwold, do not hesitate to contact our friendly team. You can also book online by selecting the "Holiday Cottage Search" tab at the top of the page on the left hand side.