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|The Eel's Foot Minsmere and Dunwich Trail|
|Author: Adnams, Published: 08 Apr 2014||Walk rating : Rating:|
|A 5 mile circular pub trail from the Eel’s Foot in Eastbridge, Suffolk. The Eel’s Foot is a traditional, cosy inn set in the heart of Suffolk’s Heritage Coast and the ideal place for refreshments before or after your walk. The walking route performs a simple loop out to the coast and back, taking in stretches though Minsmere Nature Reserve, the Suffolk Coastal Path and Dunwich Heath along the way. There are beautiful views to enjoy, lots of birdlife within the reserves and a chance for a paddle in the sea. |
The walk has just a few gentle gradients and follows woodland, heath and beach paths which can get a bit muddy after rain and in winter. There are no stiles on route, just a few kissing gates to negotiate. Dogs are welcome along the entire route, but they must be on short leads in Dunwich Heath in order to protect the ground nesting bird populations. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.
The walk starts and finishes from the Eel’s Foot pub in the hamlet of Eastbridge, near Leiston in Suffolk. Travel north on the B1122 from Leiston and, after passing the ruins of Leiston Abbey, you’ll see the signs for the pub to the right. Follow the narrow lane (with passing places) for about a mile and it will lead you directly to the pub, which has its own car park. Approximate post code IP16 4SN.
|Start to Dovehill Plantation|
Start point: 52.239 lat, 1.5907 long
Leave the pub car park and turn left along the village lane passing in front of the pub, taking care of any occasional traffic. Immediately after the last cottage on the left, turn left onto the signed footpath to Minsmere Sluice, a wide stone track. A few yards before the track bends left, turn right down a narrower stone path (signed FP for footpath) with fenced fields each side. The path winds between fences and then emerges to follow the left-hand edge of a crop field.
|Dovehill Plantation to Minsmere Sluice|
Start point: 52.2383 lat, 1.5999 long
Keep ahead on this track, keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife in the marshes to the left. Otters make the marshes their home, a welcome return after they became extinct within Suffolk during the 1970s. Likewise, marsh harriers (a bird species reduced to just one pair in the UK by 1971), are another local conservation success story, frequently seen hunting within the marshes.
|Minsmere Sluice to East Hide|
Start point: 52.2376 lat, 1.627 long
Pass through the gate onto the sluice and bear right to reach a three-way sign post. Turn left here, heading north along the coastal dunes with the fence line for the marshes running to the left. Follow this path (the Suffolk Coast Path) with the gorse and beach dunes to the right. Within the dunes you’ll see concrete cubes, tank trap defences laid in World War II.
|East Hide to Dunwich Heath|
Start point: 52.243 lat, 1.6278 long
Continue along the sandy track and soon the coastal dune bank to the right levels out a little. This is a great place to veer across to the right and get a view of the sea (or even take time for a paddle!).
|Dunwich Heath to Woodland Gate|
Start point: 52.2525 lat, 1.6267 long
Keep straight ahead on the tarmac lane, passing through the gateway, signed ‘To the heath’. Pass the end of the terraced white cottages and immediately afterwards, turn left down the signed footpath, with the Heath Barn field study centre to the left.
|Woodland Gate to Hangmans New Wood|
Start point: 52.2555 lat, 1.6165 long
Here you leave Dunwich Heath (good news for dogs!), cross a stream and join a path through woodland. Soon you will be walking through a dense section of silver birch trees with their striking silver trunks. Birch trees are often cultivated for their appearance or timber, but the sap is also of use. The sap can be tapped from trees (don’t try this as an amateur though!) and with a 1% sugar content it can be brewed into wine.
|Hangmans New Wood to End|
Start point: 52.2473 lat, 1.5957 long
Follow the path left and then ahead through a pretty section of woodland. Continue straight on as the path merges with a quiet tarmac access lane (taking care of occasional traffic). The lane is lined with pretty coppiced beech trees, giving it a strange enchanted feel.
Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author adnams and may not be reproduced without permission.
A great walk with varied terrain followed by a cracking pint of Adnams at the excellent Eels Foot Inn. A definite five star walk.
|By neiltimms196 on 21 Jun 2014|
Great walk, nice inn. We will do it again soon.
|By Terry on 09 Jan 2016|
Great walk. Only comment is to say that the gate on page 3 has now gone so it might be helpful to amend to say bear left at the gate where you see the ruined church and follow the path.
|By Elkington on 18 Feb 2017|
The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.
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|Image by: ldmooney |
Uploaded: 05 Apr 2016
|Image by: ldmooney |
Uploaded: 05 Apr 2016
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Very enjoyable and well described route. Views over the river from the warren were stunning.
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Even on a cold windy day with it trying to snow this was still an excellent walk. We managed it with our 2 children of 5 yrs and one in a all terain pram (a defo no no with a normal pram). Will be doing this one again in the summer.
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