New Dunwich Heath research project commemorates the site's first 50 years
PUBLISHED: 12:30 05 June 2018 | UPDATED: 12:30 05 June 2018
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John Grant reports on the launch of a memories project to mark an important anniversary for Suffolk's much loved Dunwich Heath
Memories made on bygone days spent at the National Trust’s Dunwich Heath are being gathered in a research project launched to celebrate a milestone in the area’s long and eventful history. It is 50 years since the trust took on the care of this popular and important area of internationally rare lowland heath habitat.
Now a memories project has been launched to mark the anniversary of the site’s hand-over to the trust.
On March 27, 1968, th trust took on the care of 250 acres of heath and a mile of cliffs and beach following a £12,000 donation from HJ Heinz Co Ltd – a gift that is the equivalent of about £207,533 today.
The donation was to the trust’s national Enterprise Neptune campaign to acquire and manage stretches of the UK’s coastline. It enabled the trust to acquire the site – rich in wildlife and scenically stunning – from the Dunwich Town Trust.
The memories project was launched in a ceremony that echoed that momentous occasion in 1968, with the help of a prop from the day. Originally, the National Trust’s East Anglian regional committee chairman, the Earl of Euston, unveiled a sign with HJ Heinz’s managing director, Anthony Beresford, and Jack Docwra, the first warden of the new nature reserve.
The same sign – bearing a former trust logo and no longer in use – featured yesterday, proudly held by Nigel Dickie, corporate and government affairs director for what is now the Kraft Heinz Company, and Inga Grimsey, who chairs the trust’s East of England regional advisory committee.
Launching the memories project, the trust’s east Suffolk general manager Nick Collinson said: “Research by the National Trust has previously shown that for many people, some of their happiest memories are of days spent visiting the coast.
People have very strong, very happy and life-long memories of visiting the beach, where they learn about nature and the countryside and for us caring for such special places as Dunwich Heath means really getting to know what it is that makes them so loved by the people that visit here.”
Now the trust is appealing for people’s memories, stories, anecdotes and images of Dunwich Heath so that an archive of its rich and deeply important social, military and natural history can be established. If you have memories you’d like to contribute, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Dogs are welcome throughout Dunwich Heath, but owners need to be respectful of the environment. Keep your dog in sight and under control at all times. At certain times, dogs must be on leads to protect ground nesting birds. Signs will let you know where and when.
Dogs can be off the lead on the beach all year round. Be aware that Dunwich Heath is home to ticks, and adders. If your dog gets bitten it may hurt, but it isn’t fatal.
Tea & scones
A warm welcome awaits you in the tea room, with its wood-burning stove, while the lookout upstairs provides stunning panoramic views over the sea.
The tea room serves freshly made food using ethically sourced ingredients – a light lunch of homemade soup, fresh sandwiches or savoury one-pot, afternoon tea with freshly baked scones and delicious cakes. Open daily during spring and summer – occasionally the tea room may close early due to bad weather.
Rare & loved
Dunwich Heath is a precious landscape tucked away on the Suffolk coast, where you can find peace and quiet, and a true sense of being at one with nature. A rare and treasured habitat, the heath is home to special species such as the Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark, ant-lion, adders and much more.
At times serene, wild and dramatic, the heath inspires, whatever the time of year. From July to September, is alive with colour, pink and purple heather and coconut-scented yellow gorse. In winter a takes on a rugged beauty all of its own.