A Special Place For Wildlife


Dunwich Cliffs Estate is set in a unique position for wildlife on the Heritage Coast because all exits lead to nature reserves! To the south Dunwich Heath (NT) stretches into the distance, with a walk along the beach to Minsmere RSPB. And if that’s not enough, behind the site lies a belt of woodland through which tracks lead to the Mount Pleasant Project, and the beautiful glades of Dunwich Forest beyond. To the north, along the beach or through the woods, you can easily reach the new Dingle Marsh Nature Reserve – providing you’re strong enough to pass by the fish and chips in your way.
But you don’t need to leave the site to discover some of the wildlife wonders– they’re here around all those who stay at Dunwich Cliffs Estate. Annie and I have recorded 102 species on the site in two decades, including Red Backed Shrike, Blue Headed wagtails, Osprey and Winchat. From the clifftop we’ve seen Avocets, rare Ring-billed Gulls and Fulmar, to say nothing of Grey Seals languidly drifting along in the sea, unaware that they’re being watched. Last summer (2011) we took photos of two tree creepers, and two baby Great Spotted Woodpeckers, right in our garden. The photo shows a Green Woodpecker, also a common visitor around our mobile homes.

Apart from birdlife, the site has yielded up interesting butterflies to the gaze of naturalists, including Green Hairstreak on the ferns, and White Admirals on bramble patches in the rear field. This beautiful species was on the brink of extinction in much of Eastern England, but is now slowly making a comeback.

What a place! Oh, and the deer in the photo had just climbed up the cliff into the north field (he appeared ears first) and the grass snake spent an afternoon scaring the unwary on the clifftop open space. Completely harmless, but looking a bit fierce.

We often say that Dunwich Cliffs is a place to put the car away, and walk and watch instead. It’s worth testing that out.

Chris and Annie Thorby