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. Access to both is by tracks that are often very muddy.
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.
For parking, set your satnav to postcode IP14 5LN or (preferably) 52.2261°N 1.1335°E
OS Grid Reference TM 143633 (for the Reserve itself)
For a map view (clearer in "satellite view"), visit
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 along the river wall, opposite the southern tip of Orford Ness — and immediately above the mouth of the Alde/Ore, where the ebb and flood river-tides are at their strongest.
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.
For parking, set your satnav to postcode IP12 3JW or (preferably) 52.05295°N 1.452°E. DON'T ENTER THE PRISON PROPERTY, but instead turn down the left side of the buildings. This track leads down to the RSPB Hollesley Marsh Reserve's car park.
OS Grid Reference TM383453 (for the Saltings Reserve itself)
For a map view, visit https://map.what3words.com/tramps.static.draw in "satellite view"
From the car park to the river wall is about 600 metres further along the farm track: after about 250 metres, at the end of the curving belt of trees, bear right through a metal five-bar gate (going straight on here instead leads almost immediately to the RSPB hide). Because of its ecological importance, there is no access to the 25-hectare (60-acre) Saltings 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, visit https://www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/simpsonssaltings
RSPB's Hollesley Marsh adjoins Simpson's Saltings. For more information, visit