• River Deben at sunset
  • Deben Peninsula
  • Oulton Broad

River Walks on The Suffolk Coast

If you're looking for a peaceful and picturesque way to spend an afternoon, then why not explore the Suffolk coast with a river walk? The rivers of Suffolk are some of the most beautiful in the country, with plenty of opportunity for walking. This blog post will provide you with 10 idyllic river walks to enjoy on the Suffolk coast, so grab your walking shoes and let's go!

The River Deben

River Deben - Gill Moon Photography

Originating in the village of Debenham and flowing eastwards for about 15 miles to the North Sea, the River Deben is known for its many picturesque walks and stunning views.

On its banks, you'll find a wealth of wildlife, including a variety of birds, butterflies and dragonflies. The area is also rich with history, boasting ancient sites like National Trust Sutton Hoo.

One of the most popular walks along the Deben is the Woodbridge to Martlesham Heath route, which takes you along a beautiful stretch of the riverbank. This 3-mile (4.8 km) walk takes you through the woodlands and fields of Woodbridge and across the bridge into the historic village of Martlesham. From here, you can take a detour to explore the remains of the old Martlesham Abbey.

Another fantastic walk is the Melton to Woodbridge route, which is around 7 miles (11 km) long. This circular route takes you through tranquil woodland, offering some wonderful views of the river. 

The River Alde

River Alde and Snape Maltings

The Alde is one of the most beautiful rivers in Suffolk, and its meandering course provides some of the best river walks in the area. Starting from Snape, the river twists and turns as it passes through some of the most stunning landscapes in East Anglia.

On the banks of the Alde, you can find a wide variety of bird species, such as grey herons, oystercatchers, and waders. The area is also home to otters, water voles, and numerous other mammals. This means that a walk along the Alde is an ideal opportunity to observe wildlife and appreciate nature in its purest form.

Walking along the banks of the river is also a great way to experience some of the most charming villages in Suffolk. Alderfen, Kelsale, and Bawdsey are just a few of the picturesque spots that line the Alde’s course. These villages are often brimming with local charm and historical buildings, making them an absolute delight to explore.

At Aldeburgh, you can take a break from your walk and enjoy some delicious seafood at one of the town’s many restaurants. Then, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a canoe or kayak from Iken Canoe and paddle downriver towards Iken Church. Here, you can enjoy views over the surrounding landscape while soaking up the peace and tranquillity of the countryside.

The River Blyth

River Blyth - Simon Gooderham

If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil river walk then the River Blyth is the perfect place for you. This stunning stretch of the Suffolk Coast is known for its abundance of wildlife and its calming atmosphere, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll.

The Blyth has been a popular spot for anglers, with abundant stocks of salmon, sea trout and brown trout that can be caught here. But even if you don't fancy a spot of fishing, this is still a great place for a walk with its lush green banks, numerous footpaths and spectacular views out over the North Sea.

You can start your journey at Southwold, where there are numerous picturesque walks along the banks of the river. Why not walk from Southwold to idyllic Walberswick, a moderately challenging route, it takes you along the River Blyth, through Walberswick Nature Reserve and hen reedbeds so it's a popular trail for birding, hiking, and running, but you can still enjoy some solitude during quieter times of day. Further downstream at Wenhaston and Blyford, there are plenty of quieter spots to explore and get closer to nature. Be sure to look out for birds such as the Grey Heron and Oystercatcher, which can often be seen here.

The Blyth is also a great place to try your hand at some more adventurous activities. In summer, you can take to the water in a canoe or kayak, or even hire a boat for a day out on the river. In winter months, you can enjoy some wild swimming or take part in some of the events organised by local clubs.

The River Orwell

Orwell Estuary - Rachel Bell

One of the most picturesque rivers to walk along on the Suffolk coast is the Orwell. Running through the historic towns of Ipswich and Woodbridge, the Orwell is lined with lush greenery, making it a perfect spot for a relaxing stroll.

Along your journey, you’ll have the chance to witness some of the amazing wildlife that inhabits this river, from swans and ducks to more rare species like kingfishers and herons. You may even come across an otter or two if you’re lucky!

The riverside village of Wherstead is a good place to start, from here you can take in the breathaking views of the Orwell Bridge and the river, watching the sailing boats pass by. There's a circular walk through parkland, river valley, reed bed, meadow, wood, farmland and the Orwell estuary, with Suffolk Food Hall perfectly situated for post walk drinks and lunch or ideal for visiting prior to your walk to stock up on delicious items for a picnic.

Deben Estuary

Deben Estuary - Gill Moon Photography

The Deben Estuary is a tranquil and beautiful stretch that lies between the towns of Woodbridge and Felixstowe in Suffolk. It’s an ideal place to take a leisurely river walk, as the estuary has plenty of wildlife and stunning views.

The estuary is formed by the River Deben, which meanders its way from Melton to the North Sea. The area is protected from the sea by a number of beaches, sand dunes and salt marshes, which provide an idyllic landscape for a walk. Along the route, you can spot a variety of birds such as oystercatchers, redshank, curlews, shelducks and avocets.

There are a few paths that you can take, with the most popular being the Deben Way, which runs along the bank of the river. This path takes around two hours and offers plenty of places to stop and take in the views, such as Old Felixstowe Ferry and Bawdsey Manor. You can also explore the nearby nature reserves, like Bawdsey Cliffs Nature Reserve, where you’ll find rare butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife.

River Waveney

River Waveney - Gill Moon Photography

If you’re looking for a peaceful, relaxing day out in the countryside, look no further than the river Waveney. This beautiful stretch of river offers some of the most scenic and idyllic river walks on the Suffolk coast. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating hike, there are plenty of paths to explore along the Waveney.

The Suffolk stretch of the river takes you through rolling meadows, stunning wetlands and ancient woodlands. You’ll be able to spot a variety of wildlife during your walk too, from swans, geese and ducks to otters and kingfishers. As you make your way along the river, you’ll also find a number of historic villages and charming market towns.

Start in the riverside hamlet of Oulton Broad, with its Edwardian Park, cafes and restaurants, from here you can walk along the river to Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Carlton Marshes Nature Reserve. From here you can follow the river to the historic market town of Beccles, where you can reward yourself with a drink, lunch or dinner from one of the many cafes and eateries.

Further upriver is Bungay. Take a wander around the picturesque marshes and enjoy views of the magnificent castle or explore Bungay Common Nature Reserve and admire the beautiful heathland habitats and watch out for rare bird species such as Dartford Warblers.