The Second World War changed the face of the Suffolk coast with large complexes of anti-invasion defences across the landscape and into the surrounding countryside, as part of the national effort to defended against the threat of German invasion. As such, Suffolk’s coast is a nationally and regionally significant Second World War historic landscape.
In this section, you can discover more about the archaeological remains, with further detail on Dunwich, Bawdsey, Minsmere, Walberswick and Westleton.
Image: Beach scaffolding at Minsmere.
Anti-tank obstacles and anti-landing ditches (also known as anti-glider ditches) were dug on areas of flat open land, such as heathland, which lay inland from potential invasion beaches. Cropmarks of these are visible on Aldringham Common (ARG 017, ARG 070, ARG 071, LCS 113) and on Sutton Common (SUT 057, SUT 105, SUT 111, SUT 214).
An ‘Inner Defence Line’, also known as the back line, was a second line of defence in the form of revetted trenches, which was parallel to the coast c.4-10 miles inland.
Large areas of heathland were also used as Second World War training grounds further in land. There were large training areas on Dunwich Heath (DUN 058, DUN 068, DUN 074, DUN 116), Sutton Common (SUT 213, SUT 250) and at Aldeburgh (ADB 205). Earthworks and a Suffolk Square pill box survives at North Warren, Aldringham (ADB 020). A large area was given over to training north of Orford which encompassed Sudbourne, Iken and parts of Tunstall Forest (ORF 137).
Image: Remains of radar station at Bawdsey.
Image: Pillbox and associated earthwork trenches surviving at North Warren.
a series of four guidebooks detailing the physical remains of the conflict which still lie in the county's countryside and walking trails to explore