The Geography Department


Dunwich update   April & May 2005

Dunwich Beach 2000


Fieldwork in May 2001

Dunwich Beach 2001  taken  Sunday 13 May 2001

Dunwich Beach Fieldwork & Sizewell 21 May 2001

Dunwich Beach Fieldwork & Thorpeness 24 May 2001


Dunwich Heath - the main areas of study in Spring 2002


Fieldwork in May 2002

Dunwich Beach -Wednesday and Thursday

Dunwich - tourism pressures

Dunwich - management practices


Fieldwork in May 2003

Beach photographs from Mon 20 May and Friday 23 May 2003

Photos from Mr Duncan of the tourist pressures


Fieldwork in May 2004 Sunday 16, Tuesday 25,  and Thursday 27 May


Fieldwork in May 2004

Dunwich Forest and Heath November 2004


Dunwich update April and May 2005


Dunwich beach and Dingle Marsh breach 29 Nov 2006

Dunwich beach and Dingle Marsh update 19 May 2007


Dunwich Heath May 19 2007


A new map of the heath in National Trust hands has been placed on the outside of the new information centre.

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Coastguard Cottage area



Some views of the Coastguard Cottages with Spring growths of gorse all around. On the right a new scrape has been made to accommodate additional parking.

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A new area of parking has been created near to the Coastguard Cottages. Several bays have been created for residents of the holiday flats, and the others for disabled visitors. Construction photos of this facility are available on the November 2004 update.


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Some more photographs of, and from, the new Information Hut. The area looks a little stark, but there has been little time for weathering and vegetation to soften the area. The access for the disabled has been enhanced, and visitor facilities improved.

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Three landscapes at Dunwich Heath; the parking area for the holiday lets and entrance gate on the left, the cliff top parking in the centre and the maintenance yard behind the Education Centre.

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Three photographs of signs: at the entrance to the Education Centre (centre), and on either side post signs for parking.

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Eroded footpaths have been blocked off, in order to give them time to recover and re-vegetate. Brushwood is the chosen barrier, together with highly  visible yellow signs. Cliff top warning are also yellow (right).

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The cliff tops




Three views from the cliff top. On the left  is a shot towards Sizewell and its power stations, with Minsmere beach ... and a Birthday party organised by the Education Officer! The two other photos show views vertically down towards the beach, and indicate the high level of vegetation cover present at the southern end of the cliffs in 2005.



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A trio of photographs of the eroding and collapsing cliff top. Vegetation has bound the surface sandy layers together, as the free face below collapses and leaves an overhang. Eventually, however, gravity has its way (right) and clumps and grass and gorse tumble down the cliff, together with the brown-stained surface layers of sandy cliff.

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The cliffs and beach




The cliff fall, fence line and shingle upper beach at Dunwich.


Two cliffs, each just a few inches high, show where high tides have reached the base of the cliffs and started to erode them.


Even gorse has colonised the cliffs ... but this stability is in doubt for the future due to the falling level of the beach.

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The beach has been lowered since 2004, as indicated by the different colour on the telegraph pole in the foreshore. The centre shot is of a recent cliff fall, pouring gold-coloured sand down to the beach over the binding marram grass.

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Some two hundred yards to the north of the beach access the cliffs are actively eroding. The clean face tells its own story; the vegetation here is minimal and screes of pebbles line the high-water mark. The contorted pebble beds are sometimes brought down (right) by a cliff top fall.

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Mixed in with the pebble screes are the remains of the nut-brown sand from the cliff top. The colouration is caused by humus being first created by the vegetation, dissolved in rainwater, and then redeposited half a metre lower on soil profile. A typical 'boulder' of sand, humus and pebbles is seen on the right.

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The beach at Dunwich Heath, with telegraph pole marker.


Two photos of an offshore wind taking the tops of energetic waves from the east. The right-hand photo includes the cooling intake at Sizewell.

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Beach conservation area




The southern end of Dunwich Heath leads down to the Minsmere RSPB reserve, a wetland, separated from the sea only by the beach. The photographs above and below show this area, its provision of steps down from the cliffs, and access to walks at the edge of the reserve. A wooden walkway eases the visitor across loose sand and on to the beach.

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An information board on Minsmere Beach, explaining the ecology of the area. Sections of the upper beach have been cordoned off to protect nesting birds and vegetation.

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Dunwich 9 May 2005 - a trip to the museum!



The street in Dunwich, a Victorian small village, with just the pub, church and museum as services - a very small village!


A detail from the remarkable model of medieval Dunwich, which dominates the ground floor space of the tiny museum.


Awarded prizes for what has been done with few resources and very little space, the museum is a friendly and informative port of call for all interested in this stretch of coast.

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Featured in the new guide book to Dunwich Heath, the painting of what medieval Dunwich might have looked like. The harbour remains, as does the town, but with far greater expanses of heather sheep-grazing surrounding the settlement.


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A display panel on the erosion of the coast.


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The coffee shop at the Coastguard Cottages.


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Newly-emerging bracken will soon cover extensive areas of heathland.



The path northwards from the Coastguard Cottages winds its way through old heather and new gorse growth in an area called 'The Dell'..


Gorse in full bloom - dazzling on a bright day!

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Entrance to the path going north-west from the area behind the education centre - the Water Pipeline path. The erosion and widening of the pathway are evident.


Children's amusements at the Coastguard Cottages, to ensure every visitor has something to do!


Car-parking charges, with ticket machine, on the outside of the new information hut.

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The new banks to the south of the Coastguard Cottages, designed to restrict tourist movement, and enclose an eating/relaxation area of picnic tables.


Wooden posts, placing limits on parking.


The children's wooden play feature, picnic tables, new disabled access in white concrete, and the new soil banks.







Lowland heath panel from inside the new Information Hut.

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