Benacre NNR is on the Suffolk coast. It includes the reedbeds and lagoons of Benacre, Covehithe and Easton Broads, together with the woodlands and heathlands on the higher ground between them.
Main habitats: Coastal, Woodland, Peatland
Area: 393 Ha
Site map: Nature on the Map.
Some features of the reserve are man-made. Many of the site's woodlands were planted as game cover, and the pits at Benacreness were created by gravel extraction.
The saline lagoons of the reserve were formed in shallow valleys when ice age glacial drift blocked the out-flow to the sea. They are the reserve's main interest and support specialist species such as lagoon shrimp and starlet sea-anemone.
Over 100 breeding bird species use the reserve including marsh harrier, bearded reedling, water rail, a variety of ducks, and, in some years, bittern. Little terns are summer visitors to the shore and the heathlands are home to woodlark, wheatear and hobby.
A typical East Anglian shingle flora is to be found along the shore, with yellow-horned poppy, sea kale, sea holly and prickly saltwort. The northern dunes support extensive areas of sheep-bit and the rare grey hair grass.
The reedbeds support marsh sower thistle, marsh mallow and golden dock while on other parts of the reserve wild daffodil, climbing corydalis, orpine and greater broomrape can be found.
Please note that much of the reserve is private property and access off public rights of way is by permission only.
The reserve comprises two main sites to the north and south of the village of Covehithe. To the north the reserve extends as far as Benacre village, and to the south, as far as Reydon Smear.
By car the reserve is accessed via minor roads from the A12 and B1127. The nearest car parks are in Kessingham (3 km north of Benacre) and Reydon (one km south of Reydon Smear).
The nearest train station is in Lowestoft, 10 km to the north, served by One Railway.
Bus services from Lowestoft down the A12 are provided by First Group.
The reserve is on the route of a major trail, the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Path.
The nearest toilet and refreshment facilities are in local villages. Leaflets and signs are available for visitor information and there is a public hide on Benacre Broad.