The areas around the cottages are full of wildlife – at Holly Tree you can lie in bed and listen to nightingales, owls and nightjars on the heath, and hear the deer rutting in Autumn. At the Eastbridge cottages barn owls, marsh harriers and a wide variety of garden birds can be enjoyed from the gardens. Dartford warblers, stone curlews, bitterns, and marsh harriers are all present on Westleton and Dunwich Heath, along with deer, rabbits, reptiles (and glow worms!). At nearby Minsmere reserve, over 200 species of bird are recorded annually, including the famous avocet, featured on the RSPB's logo. Minsmere runs many guided birdwatching walks and family events throughout the year.
With plenty of quiet lanes, and bridle paths, the area is very popular with cyclists. The cottages have a secure shed, should you wish to bring bikes, while several local firms offer bike hire.
For those with children, there are loads of places to visit; there's the amusement park at Pleasurewood Hills, farms, zoos, museums (including a very interesting one in Dunwich, once a large port and now mainly lying beneath the sea). At Framlingham and Orford there are fascinating castles to explore, while Sutton Hoo, the mysterious burial ground of Anglo-Saxon kings is also worth a visit. Then of course there is the large garden back at the cottage for the children to run around in!
There is so much to do in the area. The beaches of Dunwich, Aldeburgh, Dunwich Heath, Thorpeness, Walberswick and Southwold are all close by. Thorpeness has a very safe boating lake called The Meare, complete with little islands to explore, and is also home to the well-known House in the Clouds and adjacent post mill. Walberswick has a lovely beach with sand dunes, and is the place to go crabbing - it hosts the annual British Crabbing Championship each August (sadly cancelled last year). From here, you can take the rowing boat ferry across the river Blyth to the charming town of Southwold, where there are nice shops, cafes, a lighthouse, as well as the recently restored pier with its alternative slot machines. Snape Malting is a fascinating place to visit; as well as hosting first rate concerts and music festivals, there are shops, restaurants and beautiful walks along the river Alde.
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Barn Owls 2022
Unfortunately, this year the barn owl box has been taken over by jackdaws. Barn owls have occupied the nest for 8 years with the jackdaws living in a separate compartment at the top. Breeding was successful in 7 of those 8 years. Despite a barn owl occupying the nest box this winter, the jackdaws made their move in the spring and they are now sitting on eggs. Hopefully the barn owls will make a comeback next year!
Barn Owls 2021
Barn Owls 2020
The Barn Owls stayed in the nest box throughout winter and produced a clutch of eggs this spring. Unfortunately, the camera got knocked out of position so we couldn't see the eggs or chicks very clearly. At the moment there are two healthy looking chicks in the box, who we hope to see fledging in the next few weeks. If we manage to get any decent photos, we'll post them on the news page and Twitter.