In 2012,Shotley Parish Council purchased 7 acres of woodland and 50 acres of foreshore adjacent to the River Stour at Shotley Gate. Babergh District Council, Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the local County Councillor all contributed to help fund the purchase. This community recreational area has outstanding views of Parkeston Quay, Harwich, and across the River Stour to the County of Essex. The woodland is being managed to help protect flora and fauna, and to inform visitors about the heritage of Shotley.
Wildlife Discovery Day
In late 2012, having successfully purchased Shotley Cliff and around 50 acres of attached foreshore from a local businessman, Shotley Parish Council with the assistance of the Shotley Stour Footpath Renovation Group began a programme of land management in the area with a view to turning the cliff, the woodland on top of it and parts of the surrounding area into "Shotley Heritage Park", a country park with a number of delineated and non delineated walks and features. The woodland on the cliff is home to a variety of species of flora and fauna, including a colony of Muntjac. There are now information boards throughout the area portraying its historical associations and local ecology, as well as a number of viewing and seating areas for rest and relaxation. A centrepiece is the viewing gallery sited in a concrete structure overlooking the river, which is currrently in ruins. It is thought that the structure, which dates back to World War II when the area was owned by the Navy, was part of coastal fortifications, perhaps a gun emplacement.
The woodland on the cliff is home to a variety of species of flora and fauna, including a number of Muntjac deer living in the area.
The park is still in the early stages of work but has already undergone a large amount of work from clearing pathways and removing dead trees to the erection of an all-weather shelter at the bottom of the cliff, which has provided a great place to take a rest and enjoy a picnic. Another seating area, the 'Crow's Nest', has been constructed at the top of the cliff, and an outdoor learning space with tables and benches capable of seating up to thirty children has been provided.
Below is the fence installed at the Crow's Nest.