FRANCIS SIMPSON'S "OTHER" RESERVES
You also may care to visit two other Suffolk Reserves acquired by Francis Simpson, Mickfield Meadow (Debenham) and what is now known as Simpson's Saltings (Hollesley). Both sites are now managed by Suffolk Wildlife Trust (SWT) and can be visited free of charge at any time, but with dogs kept on a lead. Unfortunately neither site is suitable for wheelchairs.
MICKFIELD MEADOW, Wetheringsett Road, Mickfield
Mickfield Meadow (close to Debenham) was the first-ever Nature Reserve in Suffolk, acquired by Francis Simpson in 1937 and passed over to SWT in 1966.
It is a stunning flower-rich hay meadow of five acres (1.9 hectares), a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest. It has never been sprayed or fertilised, so it contains a host of wildflowers, many of which are now scarce in Suffolk, including fritillary. The dominant grasses are meadow foxtail, cocksfoot, false oat-grass, timothy and Yorkshire fog. The best time to visit is between April and June, before the hay is cut in July and it is turned over to grazing.
Set your satnav to postcode IP17 2RG or (preferably) 52.2261°N 1.1335°E
OS Grid Reference TM 143633
For a map view,
From opposite the end of Brook Lane, there is a 200-metre walk along an uneven field margin and through a kissing gate. The infant River Deben flows in a ditch beside this track, and then around two sides of the reserve.
For more information, visit
SIMPSON'S SALTINGS, behind HMP Hollesey Bay Colony
The Saltings Reserve, named in honour of Francis Simpson, is described by SWT as "one of the county’s most important coastal sites for its wealth of uncommon coastal and saltmarsh plants. … A wonderfully lonely and isolated spot with an aura of timelessness, [its] immediate appeal ... is its openness and wide views of the Ore estuary." It lies opposite the southern tip of Orford Ness.
Habitats include intertidal mud, estuary creeks, saltmarsh, compacted sand, and shingle. Sea campion, thrift and bird’s-foot trefoil flourish here alongside many rarer plants such as sea kale, sea pea and sea heath. It has been awarded a host of environmental designations. The best time to visit is between May and August.
Set your satnav to postcode IP12 3JW or (preferably) 52.051°N 1.456°E
OS Grid Reference TM383453
For a map view,
From the car park to the river wall is about half a mile along a field track. Because of its ecological importance, there is no access to the 25-hectare (60-acre) site, but it can be viewed from the public footpath along the river wall. The path is uneven in places and can be very muddy.
For more information,
RSPB's Hollesley Marsh adjoins Simpson's Saltings, and shares the car park. For more information, visit