As the buzz of summer sweeps us off our feet, beyond the to-dos, warnings and noise, looking for a moment of calm, and finding somewhere to breathe and be can seem a challenge. Be it at the beach, the national trust or on an adventure with wildlife, this list of places to meditate in nature in Norfolk and Suffolk just may be the answer to your call to find a sense of calm and healing.
I used to associate finding calm and serenity with destinations far away, on a blissful retreat from the world around me. But the year 2020 was an invitation for me to learn otherwise. As the door to distant travel closed, an opportunity to enjoy the moment, here on our doorstep with an abundance of beauty waiting to be noticed before me.
Places To Meditate in Suffolk
Below are just a couple of places I have found in Suffolk that hold something special, somewhere we can go to just simply be.
Serenity by the Water
One of my favourite places is Oulton Broad. Situated inland from Lowestoft, the gateway to the Norfolk Broads is nothing short of magical. There's something about Oulton Broad that softens me as soon as I set foot there. Nicholas Everitt park is both a serene and uplifting setting with something different everywhere you turn, from the sweet vibrant smell of roses lining the pathways, to the sound of children's laughter amongst an array of beautiful birds. Here I seem to breathe more deeply, and not a tree is the same as the next. I often wonder who walked this path before me, who planted these ancient, tall trees I so often sit beneath. You can take your pick from yews, pines, redwoods, chestnuts, maples and those are just the trees I've discovered and hugged, which you won't be alone in doing here! If you're a lover of oak trees, then be sure to seek out the mighty, ancient oak tree, it's a hard one to miss! There is a real sense of love for the land and history here, with beautifully kept gardens, events all year round and Lowestoft museum, which is free to look around.
My favourite tree to sit beneath here is the giant willow, hollowed out a little but still so gracefully growing with dancing leaves that always sway with the wind. The twisting trunk sits beside the broads, waters that sparkle whatever the weather. You can sit beneath the willow and hear the sounds of boats tinkling to the backdrop of trees whispering in the wind and the reeds that seem to be in a neverending dance with the elements. I love to come here at sunset, walking through the enchanting trees to a westerly facing spot overlooking the boats and carlton marshes rspb across the distance. The vast sky often sets a striking backdrop of different colours and there's always a moment shared silently with another, in awe of nature and all that she has to offer.
Another serene spot to connect to your inner calm is Pakefield beach, where boats are homed upon the sand. The seemingly never-ending coastline extends down to Kessingland, with a sense of serenity you can just sit and be with. Sometimes not a soul walks past, and hearing the sound of the gentle waves to the chorus of chirping birds, it's nothing short of a natural gem. I often sit and watch the sunrise in the late summer, just as blackberries and Hawthorn berries are fruiting. Seeing the rising sun paint the shores a fiery display of colours, lights something within me and I'm reminded how grateful I am for another day here on earth, surrounded by nature and the power that she holds.
Almost any morning all year round, you can find an abundance of sea swimmers, sunseekers and when the sea is calmer, the morning sun is greeted by yogis, paddleboarders and nature lovers. There is both great calm and a feeling of being so vibrantly alive found in being with the rising sun here at the most easterly point in England, what a way to start the day!
Grounding in Nature Among Trees
My second favourite nature spot is Dunwich forest and Westleton Heath. Free to park in with endless hiking and bike trails, there are always new places to discover.
Take a stroll through the colourful forest of ancient pines, oaks, cedars and birches, and you'll be sure to find not only a sense of grounded connection to yourself and to nature, but you may be blessed enough to be met by beautiful birds, deer and hares. You can always head over to the beautiful RSPB nearby to see even more beauty.
If you happen to pass the Henham Estate whilst in the area, there is a beautiful studio there called Henham Yoga Studio, which offers an array of different classes from yoga classes to the amazing goddess dance and more. A must see if you are in the area!
Places to Meditate in Norfolk
My favourite place to slow down and find tranquillity lies in the heart of the Norfolk countryside, at a beautiful spot just outside of the beautiful Norwich, the famous home of Literature. Beautiful flint walls and gardens lovingly tended to, dragonflies dancing beside rolling fields, and the area of Stoke Holy Cross brings with it both a rich history with the must-see ruins of Venta Icenorum as well as a touch of elegant peace and beauty.
I often come to the beautiful Shotesham Mill, where nature thrives and it feels like you've stepped into another world, a quiet, tranquil pool of water brings about such a deep feeling of peace, that even in the height of summer, those who bathe here seem to be engulfed by it's calmness. You can swim beside the ancient willows, bathing in the seeming healing waters or you can sit and simply be.
These are just a few of the many places I have grown to love whilst on this journey of connecting back to nature and to myself. As we've known in the last few years, sometimes we can't travel as far as we'd like to, or when life gets busy and we have less time for ourselves, the practice of seeking out beauty all around us is such an important and necessary one. It's a tool that we can take with us into many other areas of our lives. If we can find peace, stillness and gratitude in the here and now, then we can begin to see what's before us from a new perspective.
Meditation as a Healing Practice
A practice I use to connect with my surroundings begins with a few deep breaths and looking around at my surroundings, be it an enclosed garden space or a long sandy beach. I slow down my breathing and I notice what's in front of me. The colours, the sounds, the smells and so on, noticing how they make me feel. To connect a little deeper, I'll put my bare feet on the earth, stone or sand and again, breathing deeply into my belly, I notice how I feel.
You can do this practice stood up or sat down, and consciously connect to your deepening breath observing both your inner and outer world. You may wish to close your eyes or look around, but it begins with the intention. You may find you become distracted by your thoughts or by noises around, that's okay, this isn't about silencing or changing anything. Gently bring your focus back to your breath without judgement and notice again how you feel.
I wonder, how many other beautiful spots in nature are waiting to be discovered? And how much wisdom within us is too waiting to be found, if we can just for this moment, breathe, be and listen.
If you find, like me, there are days you cannot focus, sit still or you do not wish to be in a quiet meditation, that is okay. Like anything, it's a practice. And it's about finding what's right for you, be that a walking meditation, mindfully cooking or creating or dancing among the trees. It is all about cultivating a connection to your body and your breath, however that may look to you. Know that it's okay for it to sometimes be emotionally uncomfortable, that is a part of the healing process. To find out more about meditation, breathwork and shamanic healing, please don't hesitate to contact me.