• Orford Castle - Emily Fae Photography
  • Dunwich - Emily Fae Photography

Myths & Legends of The Suffolk Coast

You might think that Suffolk, with its calm and pleasant countryside, quaint towns and villages and crisp seaside walks is an unassuming place with very little to unnerve or surprise. Well, you’d be quite wrong!

Beneath its idyllic surface, myths and legends abound, each more curious than the last. Every Suffolk local has their own tale to tell- of strange demonic howling, unexplained happenings and mysterious lights seen in the night. Figments of the imagination? Or otherworldly phenomena? You decide...

The Black Shuck

Bungay Church

Believed by many to be the inspiration for the titular hound in the famous Sherlock Holmes story ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’, the legend of Black Shuck (also known as ‘The Bungay Black Dog) is infamous in the region.

According to folklore the creature has haunted the Bungay and Blythburgh heaths and coastline for centuries. The first mention of the demonic black dog was in 1577, in records that detail how the giant canine burst in through the doors of St Mary’s church in Bungay wrecking havoc and killing a man and a boy. It is said that after this, Black Shuck made its way to Blythburgh Church to maul other unfortunate souls.

If you’re unsure what to believe, pay a visit to Blythburgh Church where you can still see the scorch marks on the door, supposedly evidence of the hellhound’s giant claws. 

The Wildman of Orford

Orford Lighthouse - Jim Skea

The small coastal village of Orford is the location of the rather bizarre tale of a man who came from the sea. The story goes that twelfth century fishermen felt a great weight in their nets one day and when they eventually dragged them from the sea they were alarmed to find a hairy, naked and bedraggled man. He was mute, making only grunts and cries and had no knowledge of the bible or the land.

The fishermen took the Wildman to Orford castle where he was imprisoned and fed a diet of raw fish. Whilst some thought he could be the ghost of a drowned sailor, many speculated that he was a merman, and indeed, when taken to swim in the water, he escaped under the surface, never to be seen again.

If you go to the Church of St Bartholomew in Orford today, you can still see a small stone Wildman at the base of the font.

Rendlesham Forest Incident

Rendlesham Forest - Gill Moon Photography

Known as Britain’s own ‘Roswell incident’ and with some surprising parallels, the Rendlesham forest incident is a tantalising mystery for anyone with an interest in encounters of the third kind. In December 1980 locals were alarmed to see several unexplained lights in the sky descending into RAF Woodbridge.

Servicemen initially thought the lights were due to a downed aircraft but when they entered the area to investigate they were startled to see what they described as a glowing object, metallic in appearance, with coloured lights. The object moved and sent nearby farm animals into a frenzy. The craft disappeared before police arrived and there were no other corroborating witnesses. In the following days servicemen returned to the spot and discovered small triangular impressions on the ground, as well as burn marks, broken tree branches and a higher than average radiation reading.

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Halt recorded his first hand experience of finding the unidentified flying object in a publically available recording called ‘the Halt tapes’. 

Dunwich Atlantis

Dunwich Beach - Emily Fae Photography

The coastal village of Dunwich has been exposed to a large degree of coastal erosion throughout the years, which has resulted in what was once a large city with a population of 4000, diminishing as much of it crumbled into the sea- leading to the village being dubbed ‘Britain’s Atlantis’.

Towards the end of the 1300’s particularly ferocious storms wiped out around 400 homes and two churches, and it is said that on stormy nights the frantic ringing of church bells can be heard emanating from the waves. 

The Witch’s Stone, Westleton. 

Westleton Church - Emily Fae Photography

St Peter’s Church in Westleton is home to an eerie myth that will send a shiver down your spine and perhaps lead you to pay a visit to sate your curiosity.

Built in around 1340, St Peter’s has been plagued with bad luck through the years, with it’s spire collapsing in a storm and the replacement being hit by a bomb during World War Two. This could be due, in no small part to the suspected presence of the devil himself, whom locals believe resides beneath the church in a small grating to the right of the priest’s door. As well as this, the churchyard contains ‘the witch’s stone’; a flattened gravestone from the 14th century over which grass has never grown. If you dare, you should place a handkerchief in the grate and then using the witch’s stone as a base, run seven times anti clockwise around the church without looking back at the grate, if you do this correctly it is said that the handkerchief will have disappeared and you will hear Satan’s chains rattling beneath the church.

There’s only one way to know if it’s true, and we don’t think we're brave enough to find out…



Things to see and do

Beaches

Beaches

Whether you’re in search of a great family day out, a birdwatching haven, or trip back in time, the beaches along the Suffolk Coast will provide you with a memorable day out whatever the time of year.

In the winter, Suffolk's beaches take on a whole new persona; with windswept dunes, crashing waves, and bracing winds, they are the perfect place to blow away the cobwebs, stroll hand in hand with your loved one, or enjoy a solitary dog walk.


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Discover Landguard

Discover Landguard

The Landguard Peninsula is located at the southerly most point of the town of Felixstowe. 

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National Trust Sutton Hoo

National Trust Sutton Hoo

Woodbridge

National Trust Sutton Hoo will be gradually revealing the new Sutton Hoo experience this year as they complete a multi-million pound project.


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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Southwold Railway Steamworks

Southwold Railway Steamworks

This one-acre site is dedicated to the 3-foot gauge Southwold Railway that connected Southwold to Halesworth from 1879 to 1929.The Southwold Railway Trust are dedicated to preserving the memory of this special little railway and re-opening as much of the old route as they can. 

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Aldeburgh Museum

Aldeburgh Museum

Aldeburgh Museum is housed in the iconic Moot Hall, a superb 16th Century, Grade 1 listed timber -framed building that is also home to the Town Council.

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National Trust Orford Ness

National Trust Orford Ness

Wild, remote and exposed, Orford Ness contains the ruined remnants of a disturbing past. Ranked among the most important shingle features in the world, rare and fragile wildlife thrives where weapons, including atomic bombs, were once tested and perfected.

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Landguard Fort

Landguard Fort

Felixstowe

Discover the rich military and maritime heritage of Landguard Fort, one of England's best preserved coastal defences, with a history spanning almost 450 years. 

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Dog friendly

Long Shop Museum

Long Shop Museum

Leiston

Located at the heart of the original Richard Garrett and Sons Town Works, The Long Shop museum tells an inspiring story of enterprise and endeavor through its stunning collections, hands-on displays and the remarkable family behind the factory.

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Wheelchair Accessible

East Anglia Transport Museum

East Anglia Transport Museum

Lowestoft

The only museum in East Anglia where you can ride on working trams, trolley buses and narrow gauge railway!

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Bawdsey Radar

Bawdsey Radar

Bawdsey Radar tells the story of the first operational radar station in the world where radar was developed that helped win the Battle of Britain.

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Wheelchair Accessible

The Red House, Aldeburgh 

The Red House, Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh

Benjamin Britten was one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century. He wrote a vast amount of incredible music and wanted everyone to enjoy it – professional and amateur musicians, music enthusiasts, children and families.

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Free wifi Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

National Trust Dunwich Heath

National Trust Dunwich Heath

Dunwich Heath and Beach is a precious landscape on the Suffolk coast where you can experience a true sense of being at one with nature. 

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Ipswich Museums

Ipswich Museums

Ipswich Museums incorporates three historical venues in Ipswich; Ipswich Museum - a fascinating Victorian museum; Christchurch Mansion - a magnificent Tudor building; and Ipswich Art Gallery - a unique contemporary gallery.

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Wheelchair Accessible

Suffolk Museums

Suffolk Museums

There are more than 50 museums in Suffolk. Each one is unique, and they are all packed with fascinating stories and objects. If you want to know more about the past and how it has affected the present, just come and take a closer look.

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Angels & Pinnacles (Suffolk churches)

Angels & Pinnacles (Suffolk churches)

Angels and Pinnacles helps you discover Suffolk’s magnificent medieval churches, among the finest in Europe.

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Halesworth and the Blyth Valley

Halesworth and the Blyth Valley

The Blyth Valley runs 17 miles inland from the coast at Southwold to Laxfield via Halesworth and Huntingfield and is a superb destination for walking, cycling & wildlife-watching as well as being known for its welcoming pubs and local produce!

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Electric Picture Palace

Electric Picture Palace

The Electric Picture Palace is a small but perfectly formed, 70 seat cinema in Southwold on The Suffolk coast.

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Wheelchair Accessible

Woodbridge Tide Mill

Woodbridge Tide Mill

Woodbridge

Check the website for times of Milling Demonstrations and Wheel-Turnings. The Tide Mill has stood on the banks of the River Deben for over 800 years.

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Felixstowe Museum

Felixstowe Museum

Explore the fascinating artefacts and collections of Felixstowe Museum, which brings alive the military and social history of this seaside town.

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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible