Unspoilt and scenic, Southwold is renowned for its natural beauty, wildlife and outdoor recreation – walkers, cyclists, fishermen and sailors flock here year-round whilst a wealth of birdlife (and its watchers!) provides a cheery commentary on each changing season.
Southwold sits amid a landscape dominated by big skies and shaped by the power of wind and sea – the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
With the sea on one side, the River Blyth creating a natural border with neighbouring Walberswick to the south and the Buss Creek marking your arrival by road, water is an ever-present element in Southwold. A long, gently-sloping beach offers everything that’s essential for a buckets-and-spades day at the seaside, whilst just a short stroll away extensive grazing marshes and mudflats form valuable habitats where birds and wildlife co-exist contentedly.
The Blyth estuary runs for four miles from the mouth of the river, upstream through the still-busy Southwold Harbour to Blythburgh – take a boat trip to the top and you might spot a resident seal or two. Alternatively, catch the ferry (it’s been running since the 13th century!) or follow the footpath across the Bailey Bridge to Walberswick where – along with at nearby Minsmere – you should be able to hear Bittern ‘booming’ and spot a Natterjack Toad or two. Tread carefully, too, at Dunwich Heath, where the sandy, free-draining acidic soil has allowed the development of a landscape dominated by heathers, acid grassland and lichens. Characteristic and now-rare reptiles, insects and bird species such as adder, the silver-studded blue butterfly and nightjar have made this habitat their own.
A world apart from the arable landscapes more often associated with East Anglia, Southwold is a source of inspiration to countless artists, writers and musicians. It has an unspoilt, distinctive character that’s cherished by all who live, work and stay here… come and experience it with us!