Monday, 28 October 2013

Spotlighting Suffolk's Lost City of Dunwich

Spending log cabin holidays at Windmill Lodges in Suffolk gives you the perfect base to explore many historic towns and villages. Set in the heart of the countryside, our luxury lodges are ideal for both couples and families, with each cabin having its own private hot tub.

One of the most fascinating places to visit in the area is the lost city of Dunwich, which is said to have been the capital of East Anglia in the Anglo-Saxon period and at one time had eight churches. It gradually fell into the sea because of coastal erosion, and is now a small village with around 120 inhabitants. But legend has it that, when the tide is right, you can still hear the church bells from beneath the waves.

Dunwich is only 14 miles from Saxtead, where Windmill Lodges are situated. You can have a great day out there during your log cabin Suffolk holidays, exploring the beach and the Dunwich Heath National Trust site, visiting the museum and eating the village's famous fish and chips.

Seeing How Dunwich Was Claimed by the Sea

During a visit to this unique village, you can get a glimpse of its past as a major city and port by visiting Dunwich Museum, which has a detailed model showing what it was like in the 13th century. The museum is open from March to October and admission is free, although donations are welcome. A short film, detailing how Dunwich was lost to the sea, makes a perfect introduction. There are also varied exhibits covering the area's history from Roman times right up to the Victorian period and later. A cannon recovered from a shipwreck off the coast is on display outside the door.

Among the museum’s most haunting items are photographs showing how the tower of the last medieval church, All Saints, was finally lost in 1919. However, one buttress was saved and placed in the churchyard of the Victorian church of St James. You can also walk around the remains of the 13th-century Franciscan priory of Greyfriars, where the old gateway and part of the refectory give a feeling of what the whole site would have looked like before it fell into ruin.

Unspoilt Beaches

If you are looking for an unspoilt stretch of Suffolk shingle to visit during your log cabin holidays, then Dunwich Beach is ideal and offers an attractive alternative to the busier resorts nearby. This beach has a large car park, toilets and plenty of space to walk around. It is also very atmospheric, so it is likely that you will find yourself listening out for those lost church bells. If you are a sea angling enthusiast, it is also possible to go fishing off the beach. Different types of fish can be caught at varying times of year, including flounders and whiting.

Wealth of Wildlife and Nature

For anyone wanting to discover more about Suffolk's wildlife, the National Trust's Dunwich Heath site offers the chance to explore a stretch of rare heathland habitat. Birds you might spot here include the Nightjar and Dartford Warbler, while lizards, adders and grass snakes also live here. During the summer months, the flowering gorse offers a colourful display. As well as heathland trails, the site also includes sandy cliffs leading down to a section of beach owned by the Trust.

The Trust's site is right next to RSPB Minsmere, which is one of the most famous bird reserves in Britain, offering the chance to see a large number of birds, including waders and the iconic avocet. The Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT), RSPB and Natural England also work in partnership to run the Dingle Marshes reserve, in between Dunwich and Walberswick, a good place to see marsh harriers and bitterns.

Yet another wildlife site is the Dunwich Forest reserve, run by the SWT, RSPB and the Forestry Commission. And, following the Coastal Circular Walk between Dunwich and Walberswick, nature lovers will have a chance to see the different countryside and wildlife along the way.

Great Places to Eat

One reason Dunwich is so popular to visit is that it is famous for its fish and chips. People travel from far and wide to visit the beach cafĂ©, Flora's Tearooms, and are happy to stand in a long queue in order to eat there. The large wooden hut is open from spring to the end of November, with plenty of space to sit outside if you prefer. Although it is best known for its fried fish, there are also other dishes on the menu. 

The Ship pub in the village is another great place to go for fish and chips, as well as many other meals. If you want a cup of tea and a homemade cake, then the Clifftop tea room at the National Trust's Dunwich Heath is a good choice, and there is also a fine tea room at RSPB Minsmere.

About Windmill Lodges

Sheer relaxation is guaranteed on our log cabin holidays in Suffolk, with all our lodges offering four or five star luxury. Each cabin is fully equipped, with everything you need for the perfect break.

Click here to see Windmill Lodges’  family-friendly holiday accommodation in the Suffolk countryside

Related articles:

Immerse Yourself in Suffolk’s History – Your Guide to Some of the Historic Villages to Visit

Discover the Beautiful and Historic Village of Orford

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