Dunwich Heath and Beach, gorse walk, Suffolk

Walking trail

From July to September, Dunwich Heath is alive with colour. This walk will take you around the perimeter of Dunwich Heath, all on National Trust land.

Dunwich Heath wildlife

Dunwich Heath offers you peace and quiet and a true sense of being at one with nature. It’s a rare and precious habitat, home to special species such as Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark and ant-lion. Absolutely suitable for families.


Map route for Dunwich Heath gorse walk


Dunwich Heath information hut, grid ref: TM476685


From the information hut, facing the front of the Coastguard's Cottages and tea-room, walk round the right hand side of the building and locate the marker post with yellow banding.

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Dunwich Coastguard cottages


Walk on past the Sea Watch Hut on the right.

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Dunwich Sea Watch hut at start of Gorse walk


In 100 yards (91 metres) or so there's a natural branch in the path, bear right at this point.

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Gorse on Dunwich Heath


Continue on the path until reaching the National Trust access road. Cross the road, go straight ahead for a few yards and then bear left, and shortly afterwards bear right.


Take the next turn to the right and continue until you reach a marker post for the Sheepfold.

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At the next junction, keep to the left and head around the enclosure.

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The Enclosure at Dunwich


Bear left around the enclosure.


At the next junction keep to the left.


After a few yards you'll reach a public footpath/bridleway with several possible directions. Ignore the public footpath sign to your left and turn right, following the yellow and purple marker post.


Now keep to the left for 200 to 300 yards (180 to 270 metres), along what is known as the North Boundary Walk.


At the end of the North Boundary Walk (with a five-bar gate and stile ahead of you onto public land), turn left and follow the path for 600 yards (550 metres).


With Bunker Hill on your left, turn right at the marker post with yellow and green bands, then immediately left. After 200 yards (180 metres) the path turns left, and in 150 yards (140 metres) you'll reach Nightjar Corner.

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A path on the way to Docwra's Ditch at Dunwich Heath


Nightjar Corner is a lovely secluded spot to look out for dragonflies, damselflies and lizards as well as the elusive adder and grass-snake. Continue to follow the path.


Here, you reach the start of Docwra's Ditch. A little further on is what is known as the Bund, on the right hand side.

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Docwra's Ditch at Dunwich Heath


Docwra's Ditch extends for approximately 220 yards (200 metres) between points 14 and 15.

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It's another 165 yards (150 metres) or so before reaching Centenary Pond, taking a sharp left turn and continuing straight up the hill towards the Coastguard Cottages, shop and tea-room. Take the opportunity to visit the lookout at the top of the Cottages whilst you're here.

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Centenary Pond at Dunwich in July


Dunwich Heath information hut, grid ref: TM476685

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Dunwich Heath and Beach, gorse walk, Suffolk


Mostly paths, some roots underfoot and hilly in places. May be muddy in wet weather - suitable footwear necessary. No cycles allowed other than on public bridleways. Dogs on leads welcome, but please clear up dog litter.

Dunwich Heath and Beach, gorse walk, Suffolk

Contact us

Dunwich Heath and Beach, gorse walk, Suffolk

How to get here

Dunwich Heath, Suffolk IP17 3DJ
By train

Darsham, 6 miles (9.6km).

By road

1 mile (1.6km) south of Dunwich, signposted from A12. From Westleton to Dunwich road, 1 mile (1.6km) before Dunwich village, turn right into Minsmere road, then 1 mile (1.6km) to Dunwich Heath. National Trust (NT) car park by information hut; NT members free.

By foot

On Suffolk Coasts and Heaths Path and Sandlings Walk.

By bus

Demand-responsive bus from Darsham or Saxmundham; booking essential, contact 01728 833526.

By bicycle

On Suffolk Coastal cycle route, see Sustrans website.

Dunwich Heath and Beach, gorse walk, Suffolk

Facilities and access

  • Parking: Pay and display car park (free to NT members).
  • Food and drink: Clifftop tea-room, picnic area.
  • WCs: Toilets in building close to the coastguard cottages.
  • Children's play area.