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Our favourite Suffolk villages: Levington

PUBLISHED: 17:40 23 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:24 20 February 2013

Our favourite Suffolk villages: Levington

Our favourite Suffolk villages: Levington

An excellent marina and wealth of wildlife are just two of Levington's attractions, says Cathy Brown

An excellent marina and wealth of wildlife are just two of Levington's attractions, says Cathy Brown




Levington is a village name that means lots of different things to different people. To gardeners it means Levington Compost, a trusted brand dating back to the time when Fisons, Suffolks home-grown fertiliser company, developed research facilities in the village.
To horseriders, Levington is known as the home of two major equestrian centres, Orwell Arena and Red House Farm Livery. To yachtsmen, it is synonymous with Suffolk Yacht Harbour, the East Coast's largest independent marina, where some 550 boats are moored.
To nature enthusiasts, the village is renowned for its Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, with a wealth of wildlife, attracting bird watchers in particular.
To walkers it is known for its extensive network of footpaths, which thanks to the sandy nature of the local soil are rarely muddy. These offer wonderful views across the Orwell estuary, thanks to the idyllic situation of the village, half-way between Ipswich and Felixstowe, but tucked away from the main road and railway line which thunder with freight traffic.
But of course the most important thing about Levington is the community itself. That this village has not become just another commuter dormitory, despite such a convenient location, is underlined by the coveted Calor England Village of the Year title awarded in 2008/2009.
This recognised the strength of community life, not least the vitality of the village hall, completely refurbished in 2005, and the hub of all kinds of village societies and activities.
There is no village store and no school, but at the centre of the village is St Peter's Church, small by the standards of many of Suffolk's medieval churches, but recognised by enthusiasts as an "absolute gem", believed to date back to the 1300s.
This picturesque landmark has overseen all kinds of change within its parish over the intervening centuries, but two ingredients have remained constant: farming and the river.
Levington Creek still has the rotting remains of a quay where barges used to moor to load up with local produce to deliver to London, and from where pilots used to board bigger ships to guide them up to Ipswich.
It was also used by smugglers. In 1817 the crew of a boat called Daisy were caught red-handed there, with 48 barrels of spirits.
Levington's medieval thatched pub, the Ship, at the top of the path from the creek, is also believed to have had strong smuggling connections. It has won all kinds of awards for its real ale and fine food and these days provides a magnet for more law-abiding visitors to the village.

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