Unexplored England - Top places to see the autumn leaves

Pop on your wellies, don your chunky knit and see the autumn leaves turning on The Suffolk Coast...

For many, autumn marks a exciting change in the calendar as the burning heat of summer begins to mellow, and the season begins to move into cooler days, crisper breezes and the beauty of swathes of multi-coloured falling leaves.

Dress for the weather with wellies, sweaters and scarves, and venture out into one of the many fantastic places to enjoy a walk in what is arguably, the cosiest season. Wildlife and nature are all around and the weather is the perfect combination of mind breezes and hazy sunshine, so make the most of it and go explore. 

Tunstall Forest

Tunstall Forest - Cyclists with Dog - (c) Ade Gormley

This dense, mysterious forest is classed as an area of outstanding natural beauty and boasts acres of wooded land that are perfect for autumnal fun and frolics. Dogs are welcome and families can embark on several circular walks through the trees, listening out for the rare Nightjar and Woodlark birds that call this place home.

Cyclists will be thrilled to find many exciting mountain biking trails, including the famous Viking Trail, with its twists and turns, ramps and challenges. You can also take a walk down to Tunstall Common, which has much more space for youngsters to run around, and then make your way to the nearby little village of Chilesford for refreshments in one of their cafes and cute tearooms. 

National Trust Dunwich Heath and Forest

Dunwich Forest - Emily Fae Photography

National Trust Dunwich Heath is a stunning coastal nature reserve complete with swathes of pink and purple heather and bright yellow, sweet smelling gorse. Located close to the beach, this unusual location combines both sandy and leafy walks, quiet and serenity right next to the wild and dramatic views of the ocean.

It’s a complex eco system and as a result you should be on the look out for rare wildlife such Dartford Warblers and even Adders. There are a whole range of winding walks for all energy levels and plenty for families to do, including ranger-led walks, geocaching and nature trails. The paths are also accessible for pushchairs and there are conveniently placed toilet facilities and parking.

Spend a whole day here with a flask of something hot and snacks a plenty to really make the most of the changing seasons and the beauty it brings with it. 

Gunton Woods 

Gunton Woods - Gill Moon Photography

Explore over 2 hectares of woodland, complete with trees, pathways and ponds at Gunton Woods; a haven for nature lovers and the perfect place to take in the spectrum of autumnal colours as summer turns to autumn.

Located between Lowestoft and Corton, this Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve is also just a short walk to dramatic coastline. Take a picnic and sit for a while on one of the conveniently placed seats, taking in the sheer variety of tree species, including Copper beech, Oak and Lime as well as the many birds that reside in the lofty branches. Bird watchers can catalogue the specimens they spot and youngsters can take bark rubbings using paper and crayons- a pastime that is both fun and completely free to do. 

National Trust Sutton Hoo

TTDA - National Trust Dunwich Heath - Forest

National Trust Sutton Hoo is an awe-inspiring Anglo Saxon Royal burial site set in a stunning 255-acre estate. Visitors can stroll around the ancient burial site whilst learning all about this hugely significant archaeological discovery.

During the Autumn months the estate really comes alive with the gold and umber hues as the landscape magically morphs from one season to the next. In particular, the trail through Top Hat woods is perfect for a crisp autumn walk, providing countless photo opportunities as the crunchy leaves mount up underfoot.

Additionally, the autumn months find the ground yielding and soft after the many dry months of summer, making it the ideal conditions for archaeological digs to begin once more; there are opportunities for budding geologists to come along and help with the geophysical survey of the garden field, so grab your woolly sweaters, prepare to get muddy and get involved. 

RSPB Minsmere

TTDA - RSPB Minsmere - Stags

RSPB Minsmere is famous for its multiple species of rare birds and other wildlife. The 2,500 acre site combines marshland, beaches, grassland and heath, offering visitors a wonderful opportunity to experience a unique and much valued location, as varied as it is vast.

The reserve is especially vibrant in autumn when migration is in full-swing; a continuous stream of birds pass through, giving avid bird watchers a chance to catalogue a variety of species such as Sandpiper, Little Stints and Ruffs. If you are lucky you may also get to witness the dramatic mating rituals of the majestic Red Deer- quite a sight!

Take a walk along one of many circular routes and keep your eyes peeled for the Leiston Chapel, a stunning man-made sight amid the beauty of the natural surroundings. 

Christchurch Park, Ipswich

TTDA - Ipswich Museums - View of Christchurch Mansion Winter

Spend a day at the first public park in Ipswich as the summer turns to autumn and the palette changes dramatically from green to gold. Christchurch park is a historical location of rolling lawns and wooded areas complete with children’s play area and convenient refreshment kiosks, for a cup of coffee and a snack.

Explore the ponds with their geese and over 100 other different bird varieties, and have fun kicking your way through piles of crunchy leaves; a great photo opportunity for little ones. Why not pick up a range of fallen leaves and take them home to create a crafty autumn collage- a wonderful activity to keep little hands busy.  

Framlingham Castle

Towns - Framlingham - Autumn leaves

The historic 'Castle on the Hill' in Framlingham is surrounded by it's mere made up of wet meadows and boasting a breathtaking view.

The reserve is best known for its sedge beds, a rare habitat in Suffolk, and migrating birds including massed marsh marigolds, ragged-robin and lady’s smock in spring and if water levels aren’t too high, green and common sandpiper and snipe.

As the leaves turn, colours of crimson, ochre and russets and gold adorn the trees, reflecting in the water of the mere making it a particularly spectacular autumnal sight.



Things to see and do

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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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

This hauntingly beautiful 255 acre estate, with far-reaching views over the River Deben is home to one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all time.


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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Felixstowe

From tiny meadows to rolling heaths, the nature reserves extend all the way along the Suffolk Coast from Trimley Marshes at Felixstowe to Lound Lakes north of Lowestoft and are some of Suffolk's most inspiring wild places. 

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Bawdsey Hall Wildlife and Photography Experiences

Bawdsey Hall Wildlife and Photography Experiences

Join Bawdsey Hall Wildlife Watching, Photography Workshops and Hide Hire at their private nature reserve at Bawdsey Hall on the Suffolk Heritage Coast. 

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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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Dog friendly Wheelchair Accessible

RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve

RSPB Minsmere Nature Reserve

Westleton

Discover nature together on the beautiful Suffolk coast. Wander among the wetlands and woods, potter along the beach, and pause to watch some amazing wildlife. Explore the Wild Zone with the family, then sample some delicious home-cooked, locally-sourced food in the cafe.

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Felixstowe Seafront Gardens

Felixstowe Seafront Gardens

The recently restored Felixstowe Seafront Gardens sit on cliffs between the town centre and beach.

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