Dates & Prices
Dates: Tuesday 10th August 2021
Price Includes: Services of the guide for the day 09:00 – 17:00
Meeting place: Sutton Heath Southern Car Park (TM305475) off the B1083
Car Parking: Two or three separate walks – detailed (easy) instructions will be given to drive between the car park areas. All car parks are free.
Leader: Dr Chris Gibson
Group Size: Minimum of 3 and a maximum of 8 guests plus 1 leader.
Grade: 8-10km walk, mostly easy going although can be muddy in stretches after rain…but this is one of the driest parts of the country! May be some walking on loose beach shingle.
Toilet facilities : NONE other than the ‘natural option’
- Explore some of the wilder parts of the south Suffolk heaths and coast
- Led by Dr Chris Gibson, highly experienced and professional all-round naturalist
- Visit Sutton Heath & Upper Hollesley Common and Shingle Street
- Chance to look for a range of specialist flora & fauna that inhabit these special habitats
- Perfect for a family day out and equally excellent for a group of friends or natural history group gatherings
- Relaxed pace to full appreciate the wildlife and landscapes & ideal for photography
We invite you to join us for a day exploring some of the wilder parts of Suffolk with an expert naturalist guide!
Dr Chris Gibson is an all-round naturalist, with a particular interest in plants and insects, and conservationist, having recently retired after 31 years’ work with Natural England and its predecessors. He has been leading wildlife tours around Europe since 1988, including taking trips to Berdun in the Spanish Pyrenees for more than 25 years.
Chris is also leading a new and exciting ‘Moon Moths & More’ holiday in Spain, May 2021.
Insects are everywhere, with bees and wasps coming to the fore, often easy to watch around the last Bramble flowers. One of our largest flies, Tachina grossa, a great furry bumble of a fly is sometimes numerous, while Sand-wasps are always entertaining, provisioning their nests with paralysed caterpillar, and Wasp Spiders set about making inroads into the grasshopper populations. Small Coppers and Gatekeepers will be abundant, as indeed will Graylings, pretending hard to be lichen-covered sand. Bell heather may be starting to fade out as Ling stamps its purple haze on the landscape; Climbing Corydalis and Wood Sage are just two of the other heathland plants reaching their peak right now. For parking reasons, this trip is unlikely to include Shingle Street, but the intoxicating scent and gentle hum of late summer is enough to keep us more than occupied around the heaths.
These blogs detail more of the invertebrate and botanical interest one can find:
Following our initial trip in September 2020, throughout 2021 we will return to the same sites at different times to see different things!
09 FEBRUARY: The Blasted Heath and the Wild North Sea – winter birds and atmospheric landscapes. The weather may be cold or otherwise inclement, but with luck and a little sun, Crossbills will be active, maybe a Great Grey Shrike hunting the heaths, and seabirds out at sea. And plenty of fresh air…
14 APRIL: Spring Steals In – Woodlarks and Dartford Warblers singing at their best, spring flowers of the woods, and the first emerging insects and reptiles.
09 JUNE : Nightjar Time – an evening wander on the heaths for nightjars, moths and more, preceded by an afternoon on the heaths and shingle in their midsummer glory.
13 JULY : High Summer – heaths and shingle at their most flowery and insect-rich : Graylings and maybe Silver-studded Blues; dragonflies being fed upon by Hobbies; and Yellow Horned-poppy, Sea Kale, Sea Campion and Viper’s Bugloss especially attractive by the coast.
10 AUGUST : Heather at its Best – insects everywhere, with bees and wasps coming to the fore, often easy to watch around the last Bramble flowers.
12 OCTOBER: Autumn colours – the year has turned full circle: the leaves tinged with autumnal fire, (hopefully) fungi galore, the arrival of winter birds, and maybe late-season insects if the hard frosts of midwinter have not yet exerted their grip on the landscape.
All walks (except June) start at 0900 at Sutton Heath Southern Car Park (TM305475) off the B1083 and end by 1700.
Due to potential parking problems, the August trip is unlikely to include Shingle Street, but the heaths will have more than enough to fill the day!
The June walk will start at 1400 and run through to 2200, mosquito repellent advisable.
Please bring a packed lunch, drinks and suitable footwear and clothing. Binoculars, telescopes, books and other equipment can no longer be shared, so please bring any that you like to use yourself. We may be able to find a formal picnic spot in which we could all sit in a distanced way, but please be prepared to sit on the ground.
Although we will attempt to stick to the routes as advertised, unforeseen events or ground conditions may require us to amend without notice.
New trip – testimonials will appear later