A stunning walk at any time of year.
Today, rather unusually, I found myself with time to spare and nobody else but my dog to worry about. With the sun shining brightly in a crisp, blue autumnal sky, I took myself and Harry off to Kessingland Beach to enjoy a brisk walk by the sea.
The coast at Kessingland is fabulous for dog-walking. The sand and stone beach is accessible over an area of heath-like grassland and sandy hills that are just perfect for your furry companion to run free, dig and make friends. Walking along the top of the sand hills gives a great view out to sea and North towards ‘Gulliver’ the UKs largest wind turbine, which can be found at Ness Point, Lowestoft.
What was supposed to be a quick 30 minute stroll turned into more of a trek as I got carried away by my surroundings and seemed not to be able to stop walking. Heading south, with the sun on my back I soon found myself entering Benacre National Nature Reserve, and the start of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Natural Beauty. As you enter this area, there are information boards, which show walks that take you along the cliffs and further inland, but I decided to stick to the beach.
Benacre Broad looked stunning as I arrived there with the rich autumn colours of the woodland in the background. A popular area for bird-watchers, Benacre Broad is a haven for many rare seabirds including marsh harriers, bearded reedlings and little turns. Large areas of the beach are roped off during the summer months for the birds to nest, but not in autumn. There had obviously been a higher than normal high tide recently as there were large tide pools lingering at the bottom of the imposing, but vulnerable sand cliffs. The power of the sea is a constant threat to this particular section of coastline and is clearly evident along the beach. Trees that once stood tall on the cliff tops and a wartime pillbox that has crashed down the cliffs now lay on the sands of the beach. Passing Benacre Broad towards Covehithe, which suffers the highest rate of coastal erosion in the UK, there is also a wrecked sea vessel to ponder as you pass.
As I reached Covehithe Broad, I had a decision to make – carry on to Southwold and get the bus back to Kessingland, or turn round and go back. On this occasion I decided to go back, not really prepared for such a hike, but I was sorely tempted to continue to the haven of Southwold.
If you’re holidaying in Southwold, I would highly recommend tackling this walk from ‘the other end’. From Southwold to Covehithe is a good walk. A further mile or so to Benacre Broad. Then it’s decision time – walk back or carry on to Kessingland. If you decide to carry on, the Waterfront Café awaits you at Kessingland beach and the number 61 bus will have you back in Southwold in about 25 minutes.