Suffolk Coast and Heaths Walks

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.

Suffolk Coast and Heaths Walks


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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.


all 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


Lowestoft, Southwold, Felixstowe and Ipswich


all 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 See

Suffolk 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


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
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
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
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

The Author

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.


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About The Author

Laurence Mitchell

Laurence Mitchell is a freelance travel writer and photographer who has lived in Norfolk for over 40 years. The author of both Norfolk and Suffolk in Bradt’s award-winning series of Slow travel guides to UK regions, Mitchell has written walking guides to East Anglia for Cicerone as well as Westering, a lyrical account of a slow coast-to-coast walk in Britain. A member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild, he has contributed to anthologies and publications such as Geographical, Walk, Discover Britain, Wild Travel and hidden europe. A keen birdwatcher, Mitchell has considerable knowledge of the county’s wildlife and the best places to see it. He also takes an active interest in Norfolk’s long-distance walking routes, having hiked several of them, and has written for Norfolk County Council about them and their history and wildlife. Mitchell’s other interests, each featuring in his books, include landscape archaeology, local history, literature and folklore.

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