25 August, 2013

Dunwich Heath

Dunwich Heath is one of the few areas of coastal lowland heath remaining in eastern England.  It lies on the Suffolk coast, between Dunwich village and the bird reserve at Minsmere.

Dunwich today is a pretty coastal village with an attractive shingle beach:

Dunwich beach


Dunwich is a possible candidate for the location of Dommoc, where St Felix established the bishopric of the Kingdom of East Anglia under the patronage of King Sigeberht in the 630s.

In the Middle Ages Dunwich was a major town and an international port, until a series of fierce storms in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth century destroyed the harbour, silted up the river and swept large parts of the town into the sea.

Dunwich Heath is south of the village, a wide open space of sandy soils covered in gorse, bracken and heather.  In the time of King Sigebehrt and St Felix, much of the Suffolk coast would have looked like this.  The heath is especially lovely in late summer, when the heather comes into bloom and carpets the landscape in purple flowers, alive with bees and other insects.

Dunwich Heath

Close-up of heather flowers

Peacock butterfly


Gabriele Campbell said...

Yes, the heath in bloom is always lovely. That's the one advantage of traveling later; some plces on Orkney should look beautiful now.

Constance Brewer said...

Love the heather. It's interesting it blooms in late summer, a treat for the eyes I would think.

Carla said...

Gabriele - Orkney might be a few weeks later, being so much further north. If you get a chance to visit northern Britain in heather season, it's well worth making a trip onto the moors.

Constance - Yes, a treat for the eyes indeed.

Rick said...

The shingle beach could only make me think "ouchouchouchouchouch!"

But I love the cloud pattern in the background! And of course the heather and peacock butterfly.

Carla said...

Rick - At least the stones in shingle are rounded, having been pounded around by the waves for however many thousands of years, so a shingle beach is not as painful as one might imagine (man-made litter excepted, of course).