Join all-round naturalist Chris Gibson for an autumnal exploration of a relatively unknown part of the southern Suffolk Sandlings, a world away from the northerly honeypots of Minsmere and Dunwich.
Sutton Heath and Upper Hollesley Common have large tracts of lowland heath, attractive in late summer and autumn with flowering heathers and Gorse. In warm weather a great range of specialised insects can be found, from tiger beetles to Grayling butterflies, along with Adders and Common Lizards. These blog details more of the invertebrate and botanical interest one can find:
The heaths are also known for a suite of iconic birds. Stonechats and Dartford Warblers are reasonably reliable, Woodlarks and Hobbies perhaps less so as autumn arrives. But the winter fare of finches and thrushes help to make bird interest year-round.
Depending upon how entranced we are by the heaths, a final stop may be at the exposed coastal location of Shingle Street. Scarce plants growing in the natural stony deposits include Yellow Horned-poppy, Sea Kale, Sea Campion and Viper’s Bugloss. Any remaining flowers can attract late-season insects, and birds could include divers and grebes offshore, and autumn migrants like Wheatears.
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.