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RSPB Minsmere

RSPB Minsmere

RSPB Minsmere is a fabulous popular destination for twitchers and non-twitchers alike

There’s tons to see (and hear) with stunning coastal scenes accompanied by rare birds breeding and calling in on their annual migrations. There are also otters to be seen in the reedbeds if you look carefully and a plethora of wild flowers and plants

It’s a great place all year round and the visitors centre is free, with helpful staff and volunteers. They also have a great little RSPB shop and café, serving teas and light meals using locally sourced ingredients. There’s also their Discovery Centre and Wild Zone for families, and they have guided walks throughout the year

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Suffolk Coast and Heaths – AONB

Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB

One of England’s designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

We are lucky enough to have two AONB’s in Suffolk! See our other post here on the Dedham Vale AONB 

Back to the coastal one! This stretches all the way from Lowestoft down to the River Sour, meeting up with the Dedham Vale, providing us with stunning heathland, reed beds, salt-marsh and mud-flats

It’s landscape also features the estuaries of five Suffolk rivers; four of which we named Barns after here at Woodfarm; Alde, Deben, Orwell and Stour, as well as the river Blyth

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Dedham Vale – Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Dedham Vale Stour Valley AONB

We are very fortunate to have not one but two of Englands 33 AONB’s right on our doorstep

The Dedham Vale and Stour Valley sits on the Suffolk/ Essex border. The gentle River Stour (so good we named a barn after it) and its hedged water meadows, copses and riverbank willows, form a landscape, widely thought to represent the best of the farmed English countryside

Lots of rambling meadows, rolling fields and abundant open marshland, many of which are recognised the world over as ‘Constable Country’ with nearby Flatford and Dedham, arguably being the jewel in the crown of this beautiful area

The designated area goes from Manningtree, through the aforementioned, to Bures

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Mickfield Meadow

Mickfield Meadow Suffolk

Mickfield Meadow is a stunning flower-rich hay meadow that has never been sprayed or fertilised. As a result it contains a host of wildflowers, many of which are now scarce in Suffolk. To maintain this rich flora, the meadow is managed by a summer hay cut and then grazing the late summer growth.

The unusual mix of plants growing here adds to its botanical interest. In parts of the meadow you can see goldilocks buttercup and the low growing wood anemone – both plants more usually associated with ancient woodlands. In the wetter parts look for marshland flowers like ragged-robin, meadowsweet and the beautiful snake’s head fritillary – one of only four sites in Suffolk where it can still be found

Dogs on leads welcome

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RSPB Wolves Wood

RSPB Wolves Wood Suffolk

An RSPB reserve on what is one of the few remnants of the ancient woodland that used to cover East Anglia

They manage it using traditional coppicing, which means that the wood has a wide variety of birds, plants and mammals

Head over early on a spring morning to hear the chorus of up to 20 species of bird, including the rich, musical song of the nightingale. Bring your wellies as the woods can be muddy

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs

FREE entry but they rely on donations so do dig into your pockets

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River Stour

River Stour Suffolk

My favourite river in Suffolk

The Stour stretches all the way from Sudbury, out through the meandering Suffolk countryside of Bures, Wormingford, Nayland, Stratford St Mary, Dedham and then to Mistley and Manningtree where it heads out to the sea. Admittedly it’s now ventured across the border into Essex but it’s still beautiful. The river path is full of stunning landscapes and the river itself makes for some wonderful boating. This stretch is my favourite kayak route

Possibly the most breathtaking part of the journey and closest to Woodfarm is the bit between Dedham and Flatford, with beautiful scenery and old houses, culminating in the National Trust site at Flatford

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River Orwell

River Orwell Suffolk

From its source river, the Gipping, Orwell heads out to the sea on the Suffolk coast

We have named all the barns in the meadow after local Suffolk rivers; Alde, Deben, Gipping, Orwell and Stour. The River Gipping is the source river for the River Orwell (the barn next door!), and also hooks up with the river Stour

Charles Dickens wrote about the Gipping and Orwell rivers and the latter is where the writer Eric Blair took his pen name ‘George Orwell’ from after his love of the river and the area

 

 

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River Gipping

River Gipping at Sproughton Suffolk

The River Gipping is the name given to the River Orwell above its tidal limit

The River Gipping flows through Stowmarket to Stoke Bridge in Ipswich via Needham Market, around 4 miles from Woodfarm

We have named all the barns in the meadow after local Suffolk rivers; Alde, Deben, Gipping, Orwell and Stour. The River Gipping is the source river for the River Orwell (the barn next door!), starting in nearby Mendlesham Green and was altered with the addition of 15 locks between Ipswich and Stowmarket. In recent years the navigation, as this section was known, has undergone restoration and offers a great walk known as ‘The Gipping Way’, which uses the towpath for most of its route

Charles Dickens wrote about the rivers Gipping and Orwell

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River Deben

River Deben at Woodbridge Suffolk

The river Deben gives nearby Debenham its name, where it starts its journey through 25 miles of Suffolk to the sea near Woodbridge

Debenham is a quaint little village and a popular place to visit, as many of our guests do. And yes, it is where the department store gets its name as the founder lived here before setting off some 300 years ago to London to set up his high class haberdashery. He did quite well!

We have named all the barns in the meadow after local Suffolk rivers; Alde, Deben, Gipping, Orwell and Stour

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Rendlesham Forest

Rendlesham Forest Suffolk

A great back to nature walk near the Suffolk coast

Miles and miles of footpaths through a fabulous forest as well as lots of ‘off-piste’ rambling

You can even follow the UFO trail! In December 1980 several sightings of a UFO were reported and there is much specualation and controversy surrounding this story. Many people think these ‘mysterious’ events are the most significant UFO incident in the UK. Unbelievably there is no actual evidence but check out the trail and decide for yourself!

I’m no expert but there is an old air force base next door. Hmmmm?