As well as being a great place to simply relax, The Ship at Dunwich is an ideal base from which to explore the wealth of open countryside offered by the local area and its Heritage Coast.


Our friendly team here at The Ship at Dunwich is always on hand to help,point you in the right direction for a stroll along the beach or to our sister pub The Westleton Inn. If you need some inspiration why not choose from some popular walks below

Distance: approx 4 miles

Time: 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on your pace

Terrain: moderate; farm tracks and sandy paths, quiet road and woodland paths

Stops: National Trust Tea Rooms and The Ship at Dunwich

Ordinance Survey Map: 212 & 231

Start point OS reference: 478 706


This circular walk offers a spectacular range of Suffolk landscapes from shady woodland paths, stretches of purple-carpeted heather heaths and the signature big open East Anglia skies that are so easy to take for granted. If you’re lucky you’ll also see some rather handsome sheep grazing in St James’ Church yard in the final stretch.

1. Park at the beach car park in Dunwich and walk back towards the village centre. Keeping The Ship at Dunwich to your right, at the bend in the road take the public footpath signposted to your left.

2. After a short climb you’re at the 13th century ruins of the Greyfriars Friary. Follow the perimeter to where the path re-enters woodland and keep straight ahead until you reach a T-junction. Turn right and follow the track until it meets Westleton Road. Turn left walking on the roadside for 100 yds or so, re-joining the public footpath with a left turn at The Dairy House.

3. Continue straight ahead through the woods until you reach the road. Turn left on to Minsmere Road and continue past two caravan sites on your left hand side.

4. As you enter the National Trust land turn immediately left following the cliff top path to the tea rooms.

5. Head across the heath to the right of the Field Study Centre. As the path forks take the right hand route.

6. After 10 to 15 minutes along this path (at our moderate pace) you’ll approach a small wooded area. Take the third right hand turn marked as the Suffolk Coast Path (yellow arrow in blue circle) and continue to the crossroads at Mount Pleasant Farm. Walk straight ahead along a farm track, eventually passing the farm buildings. At Westleton Road cross over and continue ahead taking the well marked gravel farm track to the cattle grid.

7. Turn right long the tree lined path and follow this until you meet St James’ Street. Turn right, and passing the church you’ll reach The Ship at Dunwich on the right-hand side. A left turn at the top of the road takes you back to the car park.

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Walk by Places&Faces

Distance: approx. 4 miles

Time: 1½ to 2 hours depending on your pace

Terrain: flat with well-maintained paths/track and shingle beach

Stops: The Ship at Dunwich and tea rooms

Ordinance Survey Map: Explorer 231

Start point OS reference: 478 706

The walk, starting in the heart of the village, skirts the edge of Dunwich Forest before opening up into magnificent views across the largest freshwater reedbed in Britain. To the north Walberswick and Southwold can clearly be seen on the horizon however even with civilisation in view there is a sense of wilderness, splendid isolation and breath taking beauty.

1. Park at the beach car park in Dunwich and walk back towards the village centre. Keeping The Ship at Dunwich and Dunwich museum on your left walk through the village until you reach St James Church. At this point follow the road round to the right.

2. At Bridge House Nurseries & Tearoom turn right following the Bridleway/Suffolk Coastal Path sign. Keep to the right of all buildings following the well maintained track. You will see a sign ‘Resident Vehicle Access Only’ continue on this track

3. After approx. 20 minutes the track passes Dingle Stone House on your right and then Foxburrow on you left. Here the track turns to the right and through a wooded area.

4. Having followed the track for a short while you will come to a wooden gate. Pass through the gate and you will soon see ahead of you and red brick building (Great Dingle Farm). Before reaching the farm the path turns to the right marked by a yellow and blue Suffolk Coastal Path sign. Follow the path through the reed beds and toward the sea passing through a single wooden gate and behind a mound. (Looking back to your left here you will see ‘Dingle Great Hill’)

5. Having passed the mound the path splits. The Suffolk Coastal Path heads left here toward Walberswick. Our route turns right toward the sea and over Dingle Sluice.

6. The walk returns to the starting point by following the beach or the path behind the shingle bank.

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Walk by Places&Faces

Distance: approx. 4.5 miles

Time: 1.5 to 2 hours depending on your pace

Terrain: varied. Mainly flat, woodland paths with short gentle climb

Stops: The Ship at Dunwich

Ordinance Survey Map: Explorer 231

Start point OS reference: 478 706

From the beach car park this route heads inland along leafy bridleways and through the woods of Dunwich Forest. Although much of the planted stock in this area is coniferous, giving a background of consistent pine, it is a walk with infinite variety as the hedgerows and deciduous glades constantly change with the seasons. During spring and early summer the swathes of gorse add an extra dimension with their vibrant yellow flowers and sweet aroma. On the return section of the route there are a couple of gentle climbs that ultimately lead to great views over Dunwich and toward the sea. Summer is also a great time to make sure you visit the garden of The Ship at Dunwich as it is home to England’s oldest fig tree – believed to be over 600 years old – and it looks magnificent in full leaf.

1. Park at the beach car park in Dunwich and walk back towards the village centre. Keeping The Ship and then the museum on you left walk through the village until you reach St. James Church. At this point the road bends to the right (ignore the junction immediately after the church) with a bridleway directly in front of you. Take the bridleway.

2. Follow the bridleway passing Walnut Tree and Apple Tree cottages on you left, and then a residence marked as Sandy Lane Farm on the map, on your right. Continue past the farm for a short while until you meet a fork in the path where you turn right.

3. Continue straight ahead along a broad open path with the tall pine trees to your right. After a short walk you will enter an area of mixed woodland and meet a sign ‘Welcome to Westleton Heath Nature Reserve’ – keep right.

4. After approx. 250 yards you will reach another sign (seeing the back of it) turn right here and follow the path for approx. 350yds to point 5.

5. Turn right at the sign ‘Public footpath over Private land’ follow this path. After a short stretch you will emerge to an open area. There are wooden horse jumps to your left and beyond the jumps, to your right a patch of gorse. The path passes behind the gorse and follows the left edge of the field.

6.At the bottom of the field the path bears left into a patch of woodland and over a wooden footbridge after which the path rises.

7. At the top of the hill you reach a bench –turn right and then keep to the left as the path forks and follow the path for approx 200yds to point 8

8. After approx. 200 yds (moving up a slight hill) the path forks. Take the right fork and follow for approx. 200yds to the track at point 9

9. Go directly over the track (do not turn right) and follow the path. Keeping straight on after approx. 100yds the path narrows and passes through a long stretch of gorse.

10. Emerging from the gorse turn right and follow the path down the hill.

11. The path passes over an area of boardwalk before emerging by Sandy Lane Farm.

12. At the farm turn left and retrace your steps back to the start of the route.

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Walk by Places&Faces


1. Leaving The Ship turn left and walk down the road towards St James’ Church. Passing the Church, head straight across the junction and onto the bridle path opposite. Follow the path as it passes the old graveyard and remnants of the old chapel on your left. Follow this path, passing Sandy Lane Farm on your right after about 1.5 miles.

2. Past the farm, you head into a wooded section leading to Westleton Heath, a large area of protected heathland that has beautiful displays of gorse and heather in the late summer and is  good area for red deer spotting. 

3. As you see the heath emerging on your right, you will see a wide bridleway on the right with a metal barrier across it, continue on the path that you are on - do not go through the barrier. On your left is the Archery Course. Just after you have passed the barrier take the path on the left that skirts the edge of the Archery course.

4. Climb the slight hill and turn right as the path reaches a hedge that borders the road. After 100 yards you will see a gate on the left in the hedge. Take the gate and cross the road going through the ‘kissing’ gate on the other side. Follow the path along the edge of the field keeping the fence on your right. In the corner of the field you will come to another ‘kissing’ gate. Go through the gate and follow the path as it crosses Westleton Heath. The path leads you past an old chalk quarry on your right and here take the left fork just past a group of trees. This is another good spot to see red deer, particularly in the October rutting season.

5. Follow this path until you come to a road after a ‘kissing’ gate, turn left along the road and after 100 yds turn right onto a footpath that is the driveway towards King’s Farm & Nash Barn. Pass the Barn on your right and follow the avenue of trees onto another part of Westleton Common. Aim to keep the cottage ahead on your left as you pass it leading to a road.

6. Turn right down the road and this will bring you into the village, turn left at the end of the road and you will see the Westleton Crown ahead.


1. With your back to The Westleton Crown, turn left and follow the pavement before turning left into Mill Street. After a few hundred yard,s you will see a pair of change of speed signs; take the path to the right immediately after the signs. Follow the rutted path for a short distance until you come to the Westleton Common notice board. Take a look at the map of the common, you will be crossing the common heading for Black Slough.

2. Follow the path to the left of the notice board, bearing left as it splits. Head across the concrete square towards the first electricity wire pole. Pick up the path here and follow it straight ahead. Keep the same direction (south) as the path crosses the Common, ignoring left and right turns, until you see the path rising as it bears right at the end of the Common.

3. Go up the small hill and descend steps to the bridleway below - ‘Black Slough’. Turn left and follow the path until you reach a road. On your right you will see a ‘Welcome to Minsmere' sign; take the path to the right of this as it rises up through the gorse.

4. Stay on this path as it skirts a field, keeping the fence & gorse on your right. Go through a ‘kissing’ gate and follow the path as it descends into a wood, you will see signs of deer runs here so keep an eye out for red deer, particularly if it’s dawn or dusk.

5. Going through another ‘kissing’ gate you will come to a rutted bridleway, turn right and follow it, keeping an eye to the right again, looking for deer and Hangmans New Wood on the left. When you arrive at a house with lions on the gate posts, turn left and follow the single track road as it enters Minsmere. Take a look at the trees here as they have re-rooted having blown down.

6. As the road bears right, you will see a footpath going straight ahead up Saunders Hill. Take this path. As you get to the top of the hill, you will see Minsmere lakes and the white dome of Sizewell to your right. Go straight ahead as you cross a road. Follow the path straight ahead through two gates until you come to a road. Go straight across the road and follow the path into the wood. Passing houses on your right when you reach a road turn right.

7. Follow the path on the edge of the road until the road bears left - follow the private road straight ahead keeping the cottages on your right. This will lead you to Dunwich woods; you are now following the Suffolk Coastal Path signs through the wood and down into Dunwich, you will see on your left the ruins of Greyfriars monastery along the cliff top. On arriving at a road you will see The Ship just ahead of you.

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