Walk in the Footsteps of Sailors and Smugglers

Thursday 1, January 1970


Walk in the Footsteps of Sailors and Smugglers


Visitors to the historic county of Suffolk will have the chance to walk in the footsteps of sailors and smugglers as an ancient route on Suffolk’s coastline re-launches on Wednesday 7th November 2012.


The Sailors’ Path is a six mile route linking the village of Snape with the coastal town of Aldeburgh.

Over the centuries it became a commuting route for local sailors who moored at Snape Maltings to unload goods and after finding boats stuck at low tide were forced to walk back home to their cottages in Aldeburgh.

The route was also once reportedly rife with dangerous smugglers who, if challenged, might assault passers by before moving on with their loot.
The fascinating history of the route is reflected in the beauty and diversity of the path which takes in views of the meandering River Alde, the ancient woods of the Blackheath Estate and expanses of marshes and reed beds. 

Highlights include Aldeburgh, one of Suffolk’s most historic coastal towns, the Alde Estuary and the finale at Snape Maltings, home of the World-famous Snape Proms.

The Sailors’ Path forms part of the Suffolk Coast Path which runs the length of the Suffolk coast from Lowestoft to Felixstowe. The project has been delivered by Suffolk County Council in partnership with the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) by BALANCE, a European funded project, to address the need for visitors to connect with and appreciate nature and open spaces. It has also been supported by Suffolk County Council and funds raised by Suffolk Secrets, the leading holiday cottage provider in Suffolk and its holidaymakers.

Funding has enabled the six-mile route from Aldeburgh to Snape to be sensitively upgraded, including improved access, new signage and the installation of interpretation panels to tell the story of the path and local environment.

Amanda Bond from Visit Suffolk comments: “Suffolk is renowned for its diverse range of landscapes and, of course, its stunning coastline. The Sailors’ Path amalgamates all of this in one manageable walk which not only has historic significance but showcases the best Suffolk has to offer. Plus, with Snape and Aldeburgh at either side it’s easy to work the Sailors Path into a wider break to these popular seaside and cultural destinations”.

Alex Paul from Suffolk Secrets comments: “As we are responsible for bringing in over 35,000 visitors to Suffolk we have a duty to look after Suffolk ‘the product’, which is why we’re supporting the development of this important route. The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB is an important tourist destination and it is thanks to our customers who have made the voluntary £1 donation per booking that enjoyment of the Sailors’ Path is about to be widened to an even greater audience.” 


Those who visit Suffolk for the Sailors’ Path can also enjoy the Benjamin Britten centenary, starting November 2012. The composer was famously attracted to Suffolk on account of its vast skies and moody seas and, with singer Peter Pears and writer Eric Crozier, founded the Aldeburgh Music Festival, which continues to be held at Snape Maltings. Details of the Britten Centenary can be found here.



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