Gunton Warren - a rare and precious piece of coastline representing natural habitat progression from beach to woodland

Gunton Warren - Steve Aylward

Gunton Warren is a wonderful wildlife gem within walking distance of Lowestoft.

An incredibly rare instance of a full range of coastal habitats from marine to sand dunes and heathland, this nature reserve is cherished by local people and is nationally important for its diverse flora and fauna. 

Extending from sea to cliff top, the site is a dynamic transition of habitats, from mobile shingle, sand dunes,  cliff slope, coastal scrub and woodland, to grassland and lowland heath. Suffolk’s coastline is dominated by man-made structures such as sea walls and defences, and the fact that this precious site has survived on one of most heavily developed parts of the coast is extraordinary.

Gunton Warren Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Gunton Warren - Steve Aylward

The mosaic of habitats attracts an exciting array of birds. Icterine and yellow-browed warbler take shelter in the scrubby woodland on migration, alongside linnet and greenfinch breeding in the gorse. The reserve attracts a huge range of migratory birds such as stonechat, firecrest and short-eared owl. The marram grass, sea holly and sea sandwort on the dunes draw in flocks of feeding reed bunting, snow bunting and occasional Lapland bunting in autumn and winter. Dartford warblers also appear in the bracken and scrub during the winter months.

Firecrest - David Tipling/2020Vision

Firecrest - David Tipling/2020Vision

Much of the cliff top plateau is dominated by dense bracken and gorse with scattered patches of heather which have been restored, this habitat supports locally important reptile population of common lizards and adders. The reserve also supports several notable insects including green hairstreak and small heath butterflies, as well as ant-lion and glow-worm.

Green hairstreak butterfly - Steve Aylward

Green hairstreak butterfly - Steve Aylward

The vegetated shingle and dunes are very sensitive to trampling, with some areas being fenced to protect them. Specialist plants grow here such as low-growing sea pea, and yellow horned-poppy and sea kale which have metres long tap-roots to find fresh water.

Gunton Warren Suffolk Wildlife Trust

Gunton Warren - Steve Aylward

This special place for wildlife needs ongoing protection from pressures such as coastal development and erosion. Suffolk Wildlife Trust is working to safeguard these unique habitats, and to demonstrate the fantastic wildlife on site by providing guided walks and open days. We are also keen to get local people involved with volunteer conservation work parties on the reserve. If you would like to find out more please contact Matt Gooch or a member of our North East Suffolk sites team.

You can find a map showing parking and a circular walking trail on our website.