Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Suffolk . . . the sea side

We didn't want to waste a Bank Holiday Monday doing home stuff, so where should be go? We live in Suffolk, famous for it's lovely coastal towns and villages; from our village it's a good two hours drive to cross the width of the county and reach the sea side – but sometimes a visit to the sea is a must.

The sea-side! "How about Southwold, or maybe Walberswick and we could go to Dunwich Heath" . . . I had a plan :-)

We decided to skip Southwold and go straight to Walberswick, we had not been there before – and it's not exactly on the way to anywhere else, in fact it's at the end of a long narrow lane that leads to Walberswick and nowhere else! The village is quite small and sits on the right bank of the Blyth estuary and it was once a busy port, there's a couple of pubs, a tea-room and some small shops, and lots of little black-tar painted wooden shacks along the shore.

We were surprised by the number of people there, "What's going on? There must be an event!" But there wasn't, it was just lots of families happily engrossed in the simple pass-time of 'crabbing'!

After a lovely lunch in the tea-room garden (it was just warm enough to sit outside, in a bracing English sea-side fashion – and wearing outdoor jackets with the collars up) we decided to move on. We drove down the coast, past Dunwich – the town that was lost to the sea – and along a road through the mounds of purple heather to Dunwich Heath.

And look! the clouds parted and we could walk along the beach in the sunshine!

We watched the waves roll in and leave lace patterns along the sand.

I found a tiny silver fish.

We even lay down on the shingle bank and basked like a couple of seals!

Those clouds moving in from the west looked a bit serious!
So we headed back to the white buildings you can just see in the distance.

Those buildings are the Coastguard Cottages, now owned by the National Trust – they are holiday cottages and a lovely tearoom with a huge selection of delicious cakes! There's also a barn a little way behind, on the heather covered heath – we popped in to see an exhibition (you see – that was my cunning plan). I was interested to see Mandy Walden's hand-coloured colograph prints – her work is inspired by the birds, animals and landscape around Dunwich Heath and seeing her work in situ on the heathland by the sea really brought it to life.

We loved the beach – in fact I think it will now be one of our favourite Suffolk sea-sides. I liked the wildness and the curious plant-life on the shingle bank – like this Sea Kale . . .

and this Sea Poppy plant (also known as the Yellow Horned Poppy, glaucium flavum) – just look at those sculptural leaves . . .

next year that plant will be covered with bright yellow flowers and then long slim seed pods . . .

The paths over the heath were edged with gorse bushes, still covered with their coconut-scented yellow flowers and ripening blackberries tumbled over them in a rich clash of colours.

On the way home we passed through the village of Peasenhall – we'd spied an inviting emporium selling all sorts of vintage treasures . . . so we stopped and went in for a browse – which was a perfect end to a day over on the sea side of Suffolk.

Top: bargain buys from Walberswick – a butterfly printed tunic and a woven straw food cover.
Bottom: from The Shed in Peasenhall – a vintage jelly mould and a box of Suffolk blend tea from Peasenhall Village Shop.



  1. What a beautiful way to spend the bank holiday weekend. I love the tunic, is it full size?

  2. lovely photos. what a wonderful day! neat food cover. what is in the tea blend?

  3. Terrific post! I love the coast in your area, Suffolk or Norfolk - I don't mind - it is just so beautiful.

    That fish is too small to even be Whitebait I think.

    Sea Poppy is a new one on me, so thanks for that!

  4. We love Walberswick, and enjoy watching the crabbing (and looking at the very dodgily sloganned T-shirts on sale ;-)

  5. This looks like the perfect bank holiday! I'm going to suffolk for the first time in a few weeks time - I can't wait now after seeing these pics!

  6. Celia, we are all back to normal in NYC, with brilliant blue sky overhead and dry air that makes for "good hair" days.

    I love these photos you've taken at the Suffolk sea side. Beautiful sky, and the seaside plants, particularly the sea poppy, are fantastic. I've never seen anything like them. These poppy leaves would surely be grand for lino cutting?

    That single silver fish is a beauty and ...admit it, reminded me of foil-wrapped chocolate fish.

    Your posts are grand!

  7. What a wonderful day and you packed so much into it. Love the pictures ty. :)

  8. sounds a beautiful day :-)

    I really liked Dunwich heath too when we visited , and your plan was excellent x

  9. What a great day out Celia. You have made it sound like a place to visit. I seem to recall that Charles Rennie Mackintosh ended his days at Walberswick - or have I just made that up. The name is in my memory bank for some reason! Gorgeous photos of an area of the country that I've never seen. Must now rectify that one day. Lesley

  10. What a lovely day spent by the sea. I like to think of myself basking as a seal!!!

  11. What a wonderful day out - all places I've never been. Sounds infinitely preferable to what I was doing... standing in a freezing craft tent at Ashwell show. Huge footfall but virtually no sales. It was very disheartening!

  12. Gorgeous! I know exactly where you mean, having spent childhood holidays, as did my father, at Southwold and Walberswick. I was at Southwold and the harbour just 2 weeks ago. All a lot busier than in my childhood but still very special. And your photos show a deserted beautiful place ps. love that food cover - lovely purchases!

  13. Very brave of you to do Walberswick on a Bank Holiday weekend! But worth it all the same - one of our favourite places and always busy.

  14. Lovely photos of an amazing beach - it's so different to the beaches that we have where I come from, i.e. the Baltic shores.

    It seems like you had a very nice bank holiday with all the things that a girl can dream of - a walk on the beach, some art and shopping for beautiful things.

  15. We camped near dunwich heath (cliff house)this week four years ago. It was the week before Owen started school and two weeks before Huw was born. We did a great NT kids trail on the heath. I slept in the roof of the camper despite being rather large! and had an owl for company in the night. We intended to revisit the heath and beach. Where has the time gone!
    Your trip makes me long to return

  16. Hi Celia, I was on the same beach recently when I spent the w/end in Suffolk, staying at Saxmundham. I hadn't been to Dunwich for about 40 years - far too long, as I love that area of Suffolk.

  17. Ooh, I'm very envious of your buys, especially that lovely food cover. Thanks for the information about that poppy - it starred in my last post!

  18. We took our son there a couple of days ago - it has become one of our favourite beaches too. It's so close to that wonderful nature reserve, so we all have something to keep us occupied.


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