We are now a fully Accredited ‘Walkers Are Welcome’ village, the first in the County of Suffolk.
To find out more about this national scheme, go to walkers are welcome.
Want to take a closer look? Map of Shotley can be found here >>>
For great walks in Shotley, look at our Walks Around Shotley page
The Village of Shotley, Suffolk
Shotley is located 9 miles south of Suffolk’s historic county town of Ipswich. It is at the southernmost tip of the Shotley peninsula where the river Stour and river Orwell meet in the Harwich basin and flow out into the North Sea.
In 2015 the village was honoured to be voted the winner of the ‘Suffolk and Babergh Village of the Year’ competition. This award was in recognition of it’s excellent community spirit with so many local groups and organisations working together to make Shotley a very special place.
Whether you are a resident, frequent visitor or here for the first time you can be assured of a warm reception wherever you go or whatever you do.
Shotley is steeped in Naval history as it was home to some 150,000 naval ratings who trained at the dry ship HMS Ganges until 1976, when the Naval base closed. When in Shotley a visit to the HMS Ganges Museum located at Shotley Marina is a must, as there is a huge amount of information and artifacts to be explored. www.hmsgangesmuseum.com
The Shotley Peninsula is well known for its rich and fertile soil and the area has been farmed for centuries. Thames barges shipped produce from Shotley to London and returned with holds full of manure from the horses that abounded in the city to feed the fields ready for the next harvest. The barges have long since ceased this commercial activity, though they are often seen on the rivers in full magnificent sail as leisure vessels, or by the RSPB for their splendid birdwatching trips.
The river’s Stour and Orwell wrap themselves around Shotley like a pair of comforting arms, with the village nestled in the middle, safe and secured by mother nature. Somehow there is a micro-climate at the tip of the Peninsula that is warmer and less aggressive than elsewhere in Suffolk.
Across the river Stour from Shotley is Harwich, amongst other things well known for the twice daily superferry to the Hook of Holland. Harwich is linked to Shotley by the excellent ‘Foot and Bicycle Ferry’ service that runs daily from Shotley to Harwich to Felixtowe from Easter to the end of October.
Christian Zamann, the ferry owner and operator, purchased a new boat in 2016 and now has the capacity to take up to 58 passengers and it’s timetable is linked in with the public bus service from Ipswich.
Visitors can travel to Shotley by bicycle, car, boat or public transport. For bike riders the peninsula is criss-crossed with a network of quiet roads and cycleways, and has well sign posted cycle routes through the picturesque villages on the way to Shotley.
If traveling by car there are ample places to park. Either at the local pubs or village hall, in the free of charge spaces at the bottom of ‘Bristol Hill’, or at Shotley Marina.
The local buses from Ipswich are the numbers 202 or 98, and depart from the Old Cattle Market Bus Station to Shotley via Ipswich Railway Station (which is on the mainline route direct to London operated by ‘Greater Anglia’).
A really good way to see the surrounding countryside is to take a circular tour from Shotley, first by bus to Ipswich rail station. Then the train to ‘Manningtree’, just one stop from Ipswich towards London. Changing at Manningtree station, take a train to Harwich Town, then return to Shotley for dinner via the Footferry.
Those traveling by boat can use the facilities at Shotley Marina, with access at any time of the day or night regardless of tide condition via the lock gates. Contact the Marina operator on VHF Channel 80.
Shotley is blessed with some of the most important mudflat feeding grounds for migrating birds in the UK, and is internationally recognised for this. The most southerly part of Shotley is the fondly termed ‘wet end’, where you will find the ‘Bristol Hill picnic area’. A short 15 minute stroll along the coastal path through the picnic area will take you to the RSPB Erwarton Bay reserve. This is a vast swathe of mudflats that at low tide are teaming with birds, resting and feeding before their onward journey.
Shotley residents are very proud of their association with wildlife organisations, and do the best they can to protect and preserve the natural beauty of the area. The volunteer group ‘Shotley Open Spaces’ and the local ‘Viking Forest’ group are keen to help to maintain various areas for the benefit of residents and visitors. There are information boards at various locations about the local flora and fauna.
Several of our recommended local walks take you through the areas that these groups look after.
For more information about the mudflats please take a look at the ‘Mudflat Management Plan’ in the Maintenance Schedule section of this website (click on link here).
Shotley Heritage Park
In 2012, Shotley Parish Council purchased 8 acres of woodland and 50 acres of mudflats at Shotley Gate on behalf of the community. This area is now known as Shotley Heritage Park.
Since 2012 the area has seen many improvements. From the installation of new picnic tables and benches at the bottom of Bristol Hill (the picnic area is known as ‘the Galley’), the coastal footpath from the picnic area in a westerly direction for a distance of around a half mile is regularly maintained, as overtopping waves during storms often displace the shingle surface.
Benches are located at many points along the foot of ‘Shotley Cliff’, and so this is ideal for people of all ages to enjoy a relaxing stroll with stunning views across the river Stour towards the County of Essex, with plenty of places to stop and have a rest.
At the halfway point along the Heritage Park Coastal path, there are new steps that lead up into the ‘Quarterdeck’, another picnic area, immersed in the trees, sheltered from the river. This area is often used by the local Primary School, and was the focal point for a school art project in the winter of 2015. The Quarterdeck has also been the setting for a community singsong at Christmas, with the last one held on 17 December 2016. Quite a spiritual setting.
Just above the Quarterdeck adjacent to the ‘Upper Woodland Path’ is the start of a community orchard, planted with plum trees and hazelnuts.
To the left in a distance of around 200 metres is the ‘Crows Nest’. Another resting place with benches and stunning clifftop views across the River Stour.
During summer the Crows Nest is a very hot spot, sheltered from prevailing winds. A great place to watch the cruise liners arrive and depart from Harwich International Port directly across the water. For the cruise timetable 2017, click on the link www.harwich.co.uk/cruise_times.asp.
Continue past the Crows Nest and you will come to the end of the Heritage Park, where you can take a left and double back along the Coastal path back to the Galley, or continue in a westerly direction on the footpath that is part of the ‘Suffolk Way’.
If you took a right turn at the community orchard, the upper woodland path would take you to a recreational area with a tennis Court, 5-a-side and basketball court, kick wall, football pitch, and swings and slide for younger children.
Or you could continue past the sign to the recreational area and return to Bristol Hill via the ‘Gun Deck’, a site uncovered two years ago that was the location of a second world war Bofurs Gun.
Viking Forest Golden Wood and Wildflower Meadow
The Viking Forest Project was born out of several meetings with the Green Light Trust, an environmental charity that works locally in schools and communities. Their People Planting Team is made up of environmentalists, trainers and performers and draws on over ten years experience and expertise developed with Forests for Our Children, Green Light’s own successful project in Suffolk – and its nationwide schools programme for The Woodland Trust.
The Viking Forest Project comes from the logo used by Shotley Primary School depicting a Viking Longboat. This name was chosen by the Steering Group from a selection of names offered by our local children.
We are growing our own woodland and wildflower meadow and our aim is to be part of a nationwide patchwork of enriched landscapes and neighbourhoods.
The project focuses on:
Inspiring children and young people through active and creative participation
Developing community spirit through full and long-term involvement
Planting only native and naturalised trees to provide rich havens for wildlfe
Fostering environmental links with communities of different cultures
Approximately two acres of agricultural land has been purchased from Richard and Hazel Wrinch and, in the summer of 2004, Golden Wood and wildflower meadow was born.
In the spring of 2004 and with the kind consent of Richard and Hazel, we planted over 1300 hedging plants comprising – hawthorn, blackthorn, myrobalan plum, field maple, dog rose, dogwood, hazel and holly which were funded by Suffolk Coast and Heaths project, prior to ownership.
The older children at the primary school planted over twenty trees, including small-leaved lime, alder, oak and hornbeam in Golden Wood. Later in the year, as part of Green Light Trust’s Rolling School Programme, they were shown the importance of and helped in the tending and mulching of their trees.
We obtained funding from Suffolk Environmental Trust to purchase two benches and over two hundred and fifty trees. All are of locally grown stock – hazel, goat willow, ash, rowan, crab apple, hornbeam and alder which were planted early spring 2005.
Planted out a number of oak trees grown from acorns collected from local veteran trees. Installed the benches and cut and raked, the herbage prior to planting in 2005.
There’s a warm welcome for everyone from the green oak man and friends…..
Shotley Saint Mary’s Church
The Church is something of a hidden gem as many people fail to find it, with it being located a mile outside the village. Even when you do find it the exterior of the Church fails to do justice to what you will encounter inside.
The outside of the Church is itself noteworthy in terms of its magnificent setting with views down to the Orwell estuary. Also, the beautifully maintained naval graveyards within the churchyard allow you to consider the sacrifice given in 2 world wars as well as the graves of the boy recruits who died whilst attending the HMS Ganges training establishment.
When you enter the Church, which is always open, you will be surprised by the bright openness of the building. Whilst there is a record of a place of Christian worship on this site in the Domesday Book the earliest parts of this building date from the 13th Century. The medieval treasures include a spectacular double-hammerbeam roof in the nave.
The chancel (at the front of the church) was adapted to its current and unusual Georgian architectural style in the 1740’s. The pews, pulpit and organ were Victorian additions.
The Church continues to thrive with weekly services as well as being a place of quiet reflection for parishioners and visitors alike.
The nearest Tourist Information Centers covering the Shotley Peninsula are Ipswich (01473 258070), Stowmarket (01449 676800), Sudbury (01787 881320) and Lavenham 01787 248207.
You can find full details on their website.
Please email us at email@example.com if you have any specific questions about your visit
Walks Around Shotley
There are three walks around Shotley which bring out the best features in this area. The Shotley Point Stroll is an easy 2.7 miles. The Two Rivers Walk is a little more challenging at 5.4 miles and, for enthusiastic ramblers, the Farms and Rivers Walk at 7.5 miles is great for working up an appetite!
Farms and Rivers Walk
To download a copy of map click here Farms & Rivers Walk
For anyone wanting to experience the tranquility of the peninsula, view the hustle and bustle of the UK’s largest container port and walk right alongside two mighty rivers, the Orwell and the Stour, then this walk is just for you.
It is a circular route 7.5 miles in total and will take around 2 hours 30minutes at a moderate pace. The overall terrain is relatively flat with no stiles to climb although in places it can be quite muddy in wet weather.
There are several convenient places to start this circular walk with parking available at Shotley Village Hall, the bottom of Bristol Hill adjacent to the river Stour or at Shotley Marina. The description of the walk chosen here starts at Shotley Marina.
If traveling by bus the 98 or 202 from Ipswich Cattle Market bus station will bring you right into Shotley, with bus stops at the Rose Public House, the Bristol Arms and the Shipwreck all on the route of this walk.
Start at the Marina and proceed westwards alongside the river Stour towards Shotley Gate. At the bottom of Bristol Hill you will see the picnic area.
Directly opposite the picnic area is Parkeston Quay, and Harwich International Port. The Quay is very busy with ‘roll on roll off’ freight ships, grain carrying ships, and home to the year round Stenna Line Superferries that travel twice daily to the Hook of Holland. Most impressive of all for ship watchers are the huge Cruise Liners that use the Port during the summer.
If you want to time your visit to Shotley to coincide with the berth of one of these megaships, please have a look at the timetable
There continue through the picnic area on the coastal path towards the village of Erwarton, a couple of miles further on. This footpath is part of the ‘Suffolk Way’. For the next half mile, the coastal path sits at the foot of Shotley Cliff. There are benches dotted here and there, and the 8 acres of cliff and woodland is known as ‘Shotley Heritage Park’. The local community look after the area and if you have the time and energy it’s worth spending time exploring it.
The ‘Two Rivers Walk’ and the ‘Shotley Point Stroll’ both go through and around Shotley Heritage Park so it may be worth leaving the Heritage Park for another day.
Before leaving the path at the foot of the cliff there are fine views to be had of the RSPB Erwarton Bay reserve. An information board adjacent to the coastal path tells of the international importance of the mudflats as a feeding ground for migrating birds. The bench at the side of the information board is a lovely spot to rest a while and soak up the atmosphere looking across the vast swathe of foreshore to the County of Essex on the opposite bank of the river.
As you walk up out of the Heritage Park a small sign ‘Shotley and Erwarton Coastal Path’ points the way. This takes you through the small hamlet of the ‘Brickyards’.
Take a left turn at the electricity transformer and follow the two guys in the picture back to the coastal path.
A little way along the next stretch of pathway are good expanses of salt marsh. Inland, the small wood known as Kiln Queach can be seen.
At the ‘Erwarton One’ sluice gate, head inland towards Erwarton. The path forks left towards Erwarton St. Mary’s church and leads towards the main road. Follow the markers all the way up to the church, which winds it’s way alongside some houses.
It’s well worth a look in the church, and runour has it that the heart of Anne Boleyn is buried in the wall of the church as she often visited her Uncle, Sir Phillip Calthorpe, who lived in Erwarton Hall. For more information on Anne Boleyn and her Erwarton connection take a look at this website:
Turn right at the church and taking care as this section is a fairly well used B road, carry on past Erwarton Hall with it’s fine Gatehouse that frames the tudor mansion beyond.
Continue past Warren Lane and turn left into Erwarton Walk with it’s avenue of veteran chestnut trees. Erwarton Walk finishes on the main Shotley to Ipswich road (the B 1456).
Take care crossing over the road and follow the field to the left up to the first hedge. At the hedge turn right and follow the path towards ‘Cow Meadow’.
Alderton’s Grove can be seen on your right. The green lane (Cow Lane) is to be taken left and out onto Church Walk with Shotley Hall opposite.
Turn left and then second right. The footpath is on a hard farm track and will take you to Wades Lane. At the lane, turn right and follow the road to Hill House Farm which is sign posted off to the right. Don’t go up to Hill House Farm and carry straight on down Wades Lane to an area of holiday cottages and farm buildings.
Follow the path through to the right and continue to the traditionally grazed Shotley marshes. The mighty Port of Felixstowe is now coming into view. The cranes become so close you can almost touch the containers across on the other side of the River Orwell.
As you come to a steel gate down some steps, take a left towards the river wall. There are steps on the left leading up to the top of the river wall, and a right turn on the river path will give you fine views across the Orwell salt marshes all the way back to Shotley Marina.
As you emerge from the path at the back of the Marina, take a left turn at the finger post and this will lead you up to the lock, where there is a footbridge to cross. It’s a very busy marina throughout summer with boat coming and going from all over. Shotley is a very popular destination for Dutch, Belgian and French sailors so look out for the many nationalities’ flags fluttering in the breeze.
You have now arrived back where you started, and hope you enjoyed the Shotley Farms and Rivers Walk.
Shotley Point Stroll and Two Rivers Walk
‘The Arthur Ransome Walking Trail’ is part of a series of events being organised by the ‘Shotley Peninsula Tourist Action Group’. This year is the 80th anniversary of the publication of Arthur Ransome’s novel ‘We didn’t mean to go to Sea’, and 50 years since his death. Shotley Open Spaces has worked with the Tourist Action Group by helping to develop the Arthur Ransome walking trail.
Whilst the route of the trail is not new (it follows existing public rights of way adjacent to the river Orwell) there are eight information boards located around the peninsula and a leaflet describing the six mile walk.
The information boards, installed at Suffolk Food Hall, Alton Water, Lower Holbrook, Woolverstone Marina, Pin Mill and Shotley celebrate various aspects of the Author and his life and works. The walking trail leaflet describes a journey on the river from Pin Mill to Shotley that is the start of the children’s adventure in the book ‘We didn’t mean to go to Sea’.
As you walk the river path and follow the new ‘Arthur Ransome Trail’ waymarkers, the leaflet has narrative from the book at the actual locations described in the book. It really is a work of fiction brought to life as you follow the trail from one end to the other.