The Suffolk Heritage Coastline is one of low marshes and reed beds interspersed with beaches of sand and shingle. Several long estuaries serve to keep the major roads well inland and preserve a sense of unhurried calm along the coast. There are RSPB nature reserves at Aldeburgh, Orford, and Minsmere, where you will see avocet, bitterns, and marsh harriers, in addition to numerous butterflies and wildflowers.
Nowhere is the effect of sea erosion more noticeable than at Dunwich. The town was once one of the leading ports on the east coast, but the sea crept in, and much of the village, including 6 churches, a monastery, and 3 chapels, is now underwater. Legend has it that if you listen carefully you can hear the sound of the church bells ringing under the waves.
Nearby Dunwich Heath is an expanse of 215 acres of sandy cliffs and beach owned by the National Trust.
Orford is another town that has seen changing fortunes due to its seaside location. In the 12th century Henry II built a castle here, in recognition of its strategic importance as a port. The long shingle of Orford Ness gradually cut off the town from the sea, and today it survives as a small fishing village and holiday centre on the River Alde. The castle keep houses an exhibition of arms and armour.
The attractive fishing and sailing centre of Southwold boasts more excellent bathing beaches, and close by is Walberswick nature reserve, overlooking the estuary of the River Blyth.