Route details, maps, pubs, features, local history and folklore for a wide variety of walks focusing primarily on Norfolk and Suffolk

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Suffolk Coast Path - Sizewell to Aldeburgh Circular Walk

Fishing shacks at Aldeburgh

A circular walk from Sizewell to Aldeburgh along the Suffolk Coast Path

The Suffolk Coast Path does not go into Aldeburgh but it is a simple excursion to continue along the beach all the way down to the unique clover leafed Martello Tower at the vanished village of Slaughden using the old railway track to make a circular walk.

Leiston to Aldeburgh Walk - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
LeistonView in OS Map | View in Google Map
End Point
AldeburghView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
13 miles
Walk difficulty

Walk Data

Date of Walk
Walk Time
11:00 to 17:30
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
Sunny spells, warm but a haze along the coast

Walk Notes

The highlight of the walk was undoubtedly the recent coastal erosion at Thorpeness which I had read about but never expected what we witnessed. It was at least two hours past high tide and the sea was battering the old defences, wired up stones at the base of the cliff. A sign on the path to the beach declared that the route north MAY be passable at low tide. I have walked this beach many many times and had no difficulty no matter what state the tide so the changes that greeted us were quite remarkable. The sea had cut out a huge section from the beach and was threatening the houses atop the cliffs. We did attempt to see if it was possible to walk along the top of the defences but it was clear that this would be pretty treacherous. To negotiate a path past this we went up along the private road in front of the threatened houses, then across Thorpeness common from where a sandy slope leads back down the cliff. The coast all the way through to Sizewell had sand on it where normally there was shingle. Some appear to blame this upon dredging but in the 10 short years I have lived here, I have seen repeated turns of sand and shingle which appears to be down more to storms than dredging.

Mileage post at AldeburghAldeburgh fishing boat 'Silver Harvest'
On the left Mileage post at Aldeburgh; On the right Aldeburgh fishing boat 'Silver Harvest'


A track at the bottom of Red House Lane in Leiston will lead onto a footpath through to Thorpeness where the former railway track will take you through to Aldeburgh. Continue through the High Street or Crag Path to the southerly end and walk along the shingle spit between the sea and the Rive Alde to get access to Slaughden Quay and the Martello Tower. Return is along the beachside path to Thorpeness then follow the cliff tops to Siewell. Here a path at the Cliff House caravan park will lead back through to Red House Lane.

Leiston to Aldeburgh

From Leiston take Red House Lane which is the last road on the left as you leave Leiston on the Aldeburgh road. This goes down to the Leisure centre from where a track leads past the school playing fields. Beyond this there is a footpath that crosses the track, take the right hand path which leads through to Thorpeness Golf Course. Keep a straight path through the course slightly bearing to the left as the path leads out into the open. Here it will then go through some undergrowth and through the cutting in the railway. Turn immediately right and follow the embankment. the path will join a track which comes out onto the Thorpeness road. Go straight over and continue following the path. There are Sandlings waymarkers to Mere to the left and the other turns right and onto the old railway track. Take this and walk all the way through to Aldeburgh. Pass the caravan park where the broad path narrows and comes out onto a road. Go straight across and there is a short section of path before you meet the main road into Aldeburgh. Cross this and go onto the private road down the side of the library. Walk through until the road bears right where a track on the left. Take this and continue straight on as it junctions with a road. When this road bears sharp right the town steps lead down into central Aldebrugh. Turn right and walk through to the southern end of Aldeburgh. The houses give way to a shingle track with boatyards. Continue along this to the Martello tower which is a landmark in the distance.

Aldeburgh to Sizewell

Follow the coast path through to Thorpeness. At low tide it should be possible to continue along the beach here but at high tide , due to recent erosion, access is not possible. In this case walk through to the private road and up onto Thorpeness Common. Walk across the common to the far end where there is a sandy slope back down to the beach. The Suffolk Coast Path continues along the base of the cliff but soon navigates back to the top through to Sizewell

Sizewell to Leiston

At Cliff House caravan park, take the path between the static site and the touring field. At the end of the path and then road go straight across onto some common land and bear to the right until it meets up with a farm track. Continue until there is a junction of tracks and paths. Take the immediate right path bordered by hedgerows. This leads to the rear of Halfway cottages. At the end of the cottages, turn sharp left then sharp right to cross the fields heading for the cottage and track at the far side. This track then leads back into Red House Lane

The Old Customs House in AldeburghFort Green Mill
On the left The Old Customs House in Aldeburgh; On the right Fort Green Mill


White Hart, Aldeburgh View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
High Street, Aldeburgh

This Grade II listed building dating from the 18th century, is a single roomed bar with wood panelling and decorated with nautical memorabilia. Originally a reading room, it bacame an alehouse during the early 1800s. The pub offers Adnams ales plus guests and has occasional music and basic pub food.


The White Hart had three guest ales on this visit; these were Gales HSB, Nethergates Suffolk County and Puritys Pure Ubu. We opted for the Purity as we had not heard of this brewery before. Apparently it comes from Warwickshire. An excellent ale, with a sweetish finish balanced by a lingering bitterness. Very enjoyable indeed.

The Dolphin, Thorpenes View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
Peace Place, Thorpenes

Formally known as the Crown Inn, the original building used to be attached to six cottages known as West Terrace. The inn was renamed when the cottages were demolished and the building extended with bedrooms to become the Dolphin Inn. Parts of the village, then known as Aldringham-cum-Thorpe, date back to Tudor times, but in 1910 the village was renamed Thorpeness when landowner, Stuart Ogilvie, began realising his plan to create a unique seaside holiday village on the site. The Dolphin Inn was consumed by fire in September 1995 and was rebuilt and re-opened in 1998 by Thorpeness and Aldeburgh Hotels. Friendly service, good food using local producers and an extensive choice of beverages including Adnams and a guest ale.


I normally frequent the Club across the road when visiting Thorpeness but I had heard that the Dolphin had started selling guest ales. Unfortunately the Crouch Vale Gold had just gone when we arrived. However, its replacement was Woodefordes Wherry which is one of my personal favourites. The pint was hazy, but had the distinctive Wherry hopiness. The price was £3.40 which I think is excessive for Wherry. In 2009 we took part in the Woodefordes Ale trail and Wherry prices ranged from £2.30 (Fishing Boat, Runton) to £3.20 (Sea Marge, Overstrand) with the average being about £2.70 but his price beat all of those. Someone somewhere is making a real killing off of us public when it comes to ale. In future I think I will stick to the Thorpeness Club in Olgilvie Hall ( across the road where you can get a decent pint of Adnams Bitter for under £2.50.

The controvorsial Scallop SculptureMartello Tower
On the left The controvorsial Scallop Sculpture; On the right Martello Tower
Thorpeness Mere
Thorpeness Mere


Below are a selection of images taken from from the photo album for this walk. Feel free to browse through these or click on any image to view a larger version in the Gallery.

Click on an image below to view the Image Gallery


Below is the route depicted on the OpenStreetMap, Ordnance Survey Map and Google Map. Links to full page versions are found in the Essential Information

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: ... 2016-01-15

2013-01-01 : Retitled from 'Erosion at Thorpeness' after posting specific to Thorpeness erosion published


Post a Comment

Walk Summaries

Latest walk summaries are basic information sheets for walks that have yet to be fully documented. These provide links to maps, public transport and walks stats, although detailed notes and features are not included.

Latest Walk Summaries

Featured Walk

Horstead to Heggatt Circular Walk

A stroll along the southern side of the River Bure to the ancient hamlet of Heggatt This short walk takes one through country lanes and alon...

What is GPX

All you need to know about GPX, electronic mapping and how to use modern apps and mobile devices as navigation devices

Popular Walks