The RSPB has several popular sites in Suffolk. These locations offer a variety of different scenery as well as a diversity of wildlife and facilities. Many of the sites also offer a range of activities from guided birdwatching to safaris and events for the children.
RSPB Wildlife garden
The newest addition to the RSPB in Suffolk family is RSPB Flatford Wildlife Garden which is based in the heart of Constable Country at Flatford. This is a recently restored garden bequeathed to the RSPB and designed to inspire and inform you with ideas from the RSPB’s Homes for Wildlife scheme. So check them out now and see what inspired Constable as well as what simple, practical steps you can take in your garden to benefit many of our most important birds, mammals and insects.
RSPB Havergate Island
RSPB Havergate Island is a unique place, being Suffolk’s only coastal island. This mix of shingle, saltmarsh and lagoons within the Alde-Ore Estuary is home to an amazing variety of wildlife, from remarkably tame brown hares to a myriad of unseen microscopic creatures within the mud. These are food for the island’s famous avocets, which are best seen in autumn and winter, and spoonbills in summer.
A visit to Havergate is a rare opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Access is only possible on the RSPB boat, October Storm, which departs Orford Quay on the first Saturday of each month and at selected event weekends. Numbers are strictly limited so advance booking is essential, by calling the RSPB Minsmere visitor centre on 01728 648281
Entry charges, including the boat, are £12 for RSPB members or £19 for non members, with no child discount. Havergate is not accessible by wheelchair, or by anyone with limited mobility. No dogs.
RSPB Lakenheath Fen
Twelve years ago, the land that is now Lakenheath Fen nature reserve was a carrot field with little to offer in the way of wildlife interest. Now it’s a wetland area filled with life: marsh harriers, hobbies, bearded tits and warblers. It is one of the few places in the UK where golden orioles breed. There is a flexible nature trail network, four viewpoints and a visitor centre. Lakenheath is home to several types of birds including the bearded tit, bitterns, golden orioles, marsh harriers, and hobbies.
Children-friendly events take place regularly at RSPB Lakenheath; more are planned for the future.
Visiting RSPB Minsmere is a great day out for everyone, whether young or old.
Families will love the Wild Zone, complete with den building, child-sized sand martin tunnels and a willow-woven nest, and the Discovery Centre is a great venue for birthday parties and many of Minsmere’s family events.
Borrow an Explorer Backpack for self-guided wildlife discovery. These packs contain binoculars, a bugbox and a wildlife checklist.
There’s a choice of countryside walks through stunning coastal, wetland, woodland and heathland scenery, and various hides where you can sit and relax as you watch the wide variety of wildlife. Volunteer guides are often on hand to help, or book a guided walk before you visit.
The views and wildlife change throughout the seasons, but there’s always a variety of birds on the feeders outside the cafe, which is open all year round. Find out more about this leading nature reserve by clicking on the link above.
RSPB North Warren
For great hiking or bird watching, the RSPB North Warren reserve near Aldeburgh is a fantastic and easily accessible getaway. Public footpaths lead you through a wide variety of habitats within a relatively small area.
The grazing marshes between Aldeburgh and Thorpeness are easily watched from the beach and adjacent footpath. They are at their best in winter, when thousands of ducks and hundreds of geese flock to North Warren to feed. Look out especially for the white-fronted geese, among which you might find a few of the rare tundra race of bean goose. In summer, the shingle beach is important for it’s large populations of some of the UK’s rarest plants, including sea pea and yellow horned-poppy.
A viewing platform accessed from the path along the old railway line gives excellent views of the northern marshes, while farther along this path a viewpoint across the reedbed is a good place to look for bitterns and marsh harriers, or roosting starlings on a winter evening.
Access to North Warren is free at all times. Dog welcome, but please keep them under close control and remain on the paths.
Also see Birdwatching in Suffolk for more birdwatching sites in Suffolk