Dunwich in Suffolk has waves that lap the seashore and
seabirds that wheel and swoop where once a village
stood, old Dunwich is said to have extended another
seven miles beyond its current boundaries. Back in
the 12th century Dunwich was a thriving port and a place
of major trade, it had churches, chapel and rich
merchant houses all enclosed behind high city walls.
Dunwich was the capital city of East Anglia and its
fishermen fished the Icelandic waters.
However, all this changed in the 13th
century when the majority of the city disappeared under
the sea. The culprit a high spring tide, which
swept into old Dunwich, literally burying it under the
sea as well as silting up the harbour. The people of
Dunwich fought back and dug out the harbour but over the
next hundreds of years Dunwich reduced in size to the
present petite village we love and see today.
Dunwich has a village teashop, village
inn The Ship Inn, once a haunt of smugglers and a tiny
but interesting museum that gives details of how Dunwich
looked in the old days, including a model representing
the town of the 12th century.
Nearby Dunwich Heath is a wonderful nature reserve with
over 200 acres of sandy cliffs, heath and beach. Under
two miles away you will find RSPB Minsmere, offering
families and keen birdwatchers a great day out. Nature
trails take you through a variety of habitats to
excellent birdwatching hides.
In the grounds of the remaining church at Dunwich there
are the ruins of a medieval hospital which looked after
people with leprosy. In 1175 the church ordered that
lepers were not allowed to live in towns, so isolated
hospitals were built to cope with this public health
Also in the churchyard corner is the last buttress of
All saints church a 14th century church which closed in
1778. The rest of the church fell over the cliff between
1904 and 1919 but its last buttress was rebuilt here in
1923. The word Dunwich means a port with deep water.
The popular seaside resort of Southwold lies slightly
over four miles round the Suffolk Heritage Coast, it has
a bevy of interesting shops and lots of place to eat and
say that sometimes you
can see the bones from the graveyard of old St. James
church poking out of the still-crumbling cliff.
cannon is one of a number that were
around in Dunwich until the 1939-45 war when most of
them were taken away. This one survived and re-appeared
a few years ago. Where it was originally in use and how
it came to Dunwich are not known.
Dingle Marshes is one of only
a handful of sites in England where the tiny starlet sea
anemone is found. Despite its national rarity it can
occur in very large numbers sometimes more than 10,000
per square metre.
say that on still
quiet days you can hear the old church bells tolling out
for their drowned parishioners.