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Ferry Cliff is owned by the National Trust and features as part of the Sutton Hoo Long Estate Walk.This view tells a story of how we have interacted with the landscape in the past whilst monitoring the estuary habitat.
What am I looking at?
Here you can see the Woodbridge Tide Mill looking over the River Deben, which is a tidal estuary (where the sea tide meets freshwater) between Wilford Bridge and Felixstowe.
During low tide the exposed mudflats are home to millions of tiny creatures which are an essential food source for many wading birds.
The Deben has more saltmarsh than any other Suffolk river. This is brilliant for people and wildlife as saltmarshes support both marine and terrestrial food chains, provide flood protection, and just one hectare of saltmarsh captures two tonnes of CO2 per year.
What lives here?
Extensive mudflats, saltmarsh and the river itself support up to 150 species of bird throughout the year, including cormorants, dunlins, godwits, oyster-catchers and curlews. The estuary has one of the most significant overwintering populations of avocets in the UK and a large population of redshanks.
The importance of this habitat is recognised by its designation as a Special Protection Area by Natural England
Within the salt marshes, plants like glasswort and salicornia grow at the uppermost edges of the marsh where they’re exposed to salt water for a shorter time during high tide.
- From the 1400s to the 1700s, Woodbridge Waterfront was the centre of a thriving merchant and naval ship building industry, serving customers including Edward III and Sir Francis Drake.
- The quays allowed the town to prosper, with local products such as cloth and rope being traded.
- There has been a grain Tide Mill on the site for over 800 years. As the tide rises, water is trapped in a large pool, which is then released to turn the machinery.
- The present mill dates from 1793 and was working until 1957. It was saved in 1968 and restored to working order a few years later.
Walks and more
The Woodbridge Tide Mill has recently been restored and has lots more historic information on the site, where you can also see the machinery in action!
This location is also part of the circular Ferry Cliff walk from the Sutton Hoo National Trust visitor’s centre, where you can learn about one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in British history.