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10 of the prettiest spots in Suffolk for a picnic and a walk

PUBLISHED: 10:11 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:11 24 April 2018

Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds (c) Dave Catchpole, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds (c) Dave Catchpole, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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As summer finally begins to set in now is the perfect time to pack up a hamper, grab some blankets and go exploring through these incredible Suffolk locations. Here are 10 of the prettiest spots to go for a picnic and a walk

1) Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad

Situated in the very heart of Oulton Broads amd surrounded by a plethora of stunning gardens and vast vistas, Nicholas Everitt Park is a fantastic place to have some fun when the sun is shining.

There is plenty to do in the park for both adults and children with tennis courts, a bowling green and a bandstand which plays host to a traditional brass band for their Sunday concerts. There is a huge selection of children’s play equipment, as well as arcades and crazy golf. The vast open spaces make an excellent spot of a picnic and if you’re lucky you’ll snag a spot with the boating lake in view to sit back and watch as the boats sail by.

The walk: These two easy-going, one-mile tracks provide incredible views of the Oulton Broads and lead onto the park while also giving you the chance to see kestrels soar above.

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2) Rendlesham Forest

Rendlesham Forest is 1,500 hectares of mixed woodland and a haven for nature enthusiasts, walkers and bird watchers alike. As well as having an excellent BBQ-friendly picnic area there are two circular walking trails and two cycle routes.

Each offer different degrees of distance and difficulty and cover all of the incredible view points in the forest. Explore the plantations, heathland & wetlands and the famous UFO trails that are connected to the 1980 UFO sightings in the area. If this doesn’t interest the kids don’t panic, there is also a superb play area with a climbing wall, obstacle course, slide, swings and a zip-line.

The walk: The UFO trail is a must for anyone visiting the area as the three-mile route will not only give you all the important information about the UFO sighting but also take you right next to a number of designated picnic spots.

3) Beccles Quay

Surrounded by the picturesque scenery of the River Waveney, Beccles Quay is large and open with lots of picnic benches that are simply wonderful for enjoying a homemade feast whilst watching the boats.

Keep the kids entertained with the children’s play area located nearby or explore the local area on one of the many walking routes. For a real treat time your visit to be on the 3rd weekend of August when the Beccles Carnival takes place.

The walk: Other than a brief crossing of the Beccles bypass, this three-mile route is entirely traffic free and rolls through serene stretches of riverside farmland.

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4) Covehithe Beach

As one of Suffolk’s best kept secrets Covehithe Beach is a great place if you’re searching for somewhere to have a romantic picnic for two. Only accessible by foot or bicycle, the beach materialises at the end of a secluded footpath.

Flanked by sand dunes and offering stunning views, Covehithe – named by the Telegraph as one of Britain’s best 40 beaches - is peaceful and very rarely busy. There’s not much on offer in terms of refreshments or entertainment but the ruins of the nearby church make a great sight for some exploring. It’s also dog friendly so Fido is welcome to come too.

The walk: Although this ten-mile walk is on the longer side, its incredible views will certainly make it worthwhile. Features to look out for include the ruins of St Andrews Church and fossils in the ever-receding cliffs at Easton Bavents.

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5) Bawdsey Quay

Found at the mouth of the River Deben, Bawdsey Quay is a top destination for anyone who loves the water. With excellent fishing and sailing and an abundance of wildlife there’s plenty to see and do.

There is also a fantastic stretch of sandy beach that’s ideal for a family picnic. Take a blanket and some deck chairs and set up shop on the sand whilst the kids play nearby.

The walk: Lovers of history will find plenty to be fascinated by over this seven-mile walk that passes numerous remnants of old wars. These include Martello towers – you can even book a stay in oneBawdsey Radar Station and several sites of military testing.

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6) Clare Castle Country Park

For a spot oozing culture and history look no further than Clare Castle Country Park. Find a spot to dine al fresco on the grass with the magnificent 13th Century castle in view.

With huge grounds and the castle – perched on a 60-foot motte - to explore, you’ll be able to get stunning views Clare itself, making for a summer day out you won’t soon forget.

The walk: There are lots of circular walks going through the various areas of countryside surrounding Clare yet the one that stays closest to the town is the two to four-mile Clare Loop. As well as going through the bailey of the castle, it provides the ideal introduction to the hills of West Suffolk.

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7) Iken Cliff

The picnic site at Iken Cliff is peaceful and secluded with an abundance of wildlife to admire.

You’ll find breathtaking views of the River Alde to one side and vast corn fields and meadows on the other with a picnic here really taking you back nature. There is plenty of parking space nearby and the area is great for long walks with the dog.

The walk: Beginning at the car park at Iken Cliff, you’ll trot through lanes and tracks that weave through Tunstall Forest and be wowed by views of the gorgeous Alde Valley. As a five-mile circular route, it should take two hours before you get back to Iken Cliff.

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8) The Brecks

The Brecks is an area of Suffolk and Norfolk that spans approximately 390 square miles being made up of heathland, farms, wetlands, pine forest and inland sand dunes.

Because of this varied mix of different landscapes, the wildlife living in the area is hugely diverse featuring a large number of bird species, Stone Curlew and even the occasional roaming deer. The stunning scenery, fresh air and tranquillity of the area make it perfect for a family picnic.

The walk: As The Brecks is such a large area, it’s difficult to pin down just one walk but we think this route skirting the borders of Suffolk and Norfolk encompasses lots of what makes this environment so distinct. Over its six miles you’ll walk by the Little Ouse River, go through Brandon and experience the grand serenity of Thetford Forest.

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9) Aldeburgh Beach

As one of Suffolk’s best known beaches, this sand and shingle paradise backs onto the charming seaside town of Aldeburgh.

The pretty pastel blues, yellows and pinks of the seafront houses lend lots of character and quirkiness to the area and make a great backdrop for a traditionally British family picnic. Take a nice thick blanket to lay over the shingle and treat to yourself to delicious fish and chips by the sea.

The walk: Titled ‘Benjamin Britten’s Aldeburgh’, this six-mile walk will allow you to experience how this area of the Suffolk Coast influenced Britain’s greatest 20th century composer. The circular route starts at Slaughden Quay, traces the edge of Aldeburgh Marshes before bringing you back to the beach for a picnic.

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10) Abbey Gardens, Bury St Edmunds

The Abbey Gardens are set in the centre of Suffolk’s historic gem Bury St Edmunds and are delightful for a summer picnic.

With the grandeur of the Abbey in the backdrop sit amongst the vibrancy of the flower gardens and enjoy a homemade picnic with all the family. Afterwards spend some time exploring the different gardens and monuments: the water gardens, rose gardens and sensory gardens are all well worth a look.

The walk: Within the three miles of this walk known as the ‘Bury St Edmunds Pilgrimage’, you’ll experience several locations that have been crucial in the history of the market town. These include the 12th century Moyses Hall, The Nutshell – Britain’s smallest pub – and, of course, the stunning gardens.

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