Like so many of Suffolk’s picturesque towns and villages, Walberswick was once a thriving port, generating great income from its imports and exports. Today it is primarily a summer holiday destination with over half the village’s houses being used as holiday homes.
And it’s not surprising that Walberswick is such a popular tourist destination. Over 1000 acres of land around Walberswick are classified as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and artists, filmmakers and authors as well as tourists have been enjoying the area for years.
Walberswick’s function changed dramatically during the Second World War when the village played an important part in the ‘Coastal Crust’ project. The Suffolk Coast was seen to be particularly vulnerable to attack from invaders because of its broad, flat beaches and heathland which provided access for tanks. The Martello Tower near Aldeburgh is a much earlier example of strategic fortifications set up along the vulnerable coastline. Hundreds of miles of British coast was fortified with barbed wire and minefields during WWII but Walberswick’s defences were even more extensive. There were around 120 infantrymen stationed here and roadblocks and field artillery in place to prevent potential attackers from progressing any further inland, should they land there successfully.
The town sign alludes to Walberswick’s rich history in the shipbuilding industry. It was designed by Clifford Russel – a local architect and artist – and depicts a large merchant vessel. The sign in Walberswick today is a copy of the original which was stolen in 1984.
Walberswick is famous for its fishermen’s huts and houses on stilts which are testament to the village’s fishing origins. Its stunning beaches extend for miles and the walk over the Bailey Bridge between Walberswick and Southwold is not to be missed or alternatively there is the foot ferry which operates between the two.
Photo Credit: Martin Pettitt
To find out more about Walberswick visit www.walberswick.suffolk.gov.uk