Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east. The county town is Ipswich and other important towns include Lowestoft and Bury St Edmunds. Felixstowe is one of the largest container ports in Europe.
The county is low-lying with few hills, and is largely wetland habitat and arable land with the wetlands of The Broads in the North. The Suffolk Coast and Heaths are an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Suffolk was part of the kingdom of East Anglia which was settled by the Angles in the 5th century.
Suffolk was divided into separate Quarter Sessions divisions. These were originally four in number, reduced to two in 1860: the eastern division being administered from Ipswich and the western from Bury St Edmunds. The two divisions were made separate administrative counties as East Suffolk and West Suffolk under the Local Government Act 1888, with Ipswich becoming a county borough.
Under the Local Government Act 1972, East Suffolk, West Suffolk and Ipswich were merged to form a unified county of Suffolk on April 1, 1974. This was divided into several local government districts: Babergh, Forest Heath, Ipswich, Mid Suffolk, St. Edmundsbury, Suffolk Coastal, Waveney. This also saw a further part of land near Great Yarmouth become part of Norfolk. As introduced into Parliament, the Local Government Bill would have included Newmarket and Haverhill into Cambridgeshire, with it being compensated by the inclusion of Colchester from Essex: these proposals were ultimately decided against.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has referred Ipswich Borough Council's bid to become a new unitary authority to the Boundary Committee. The Boundary Committee will report back by the end of the year.
West Suffolk is, like nearby East Cambridgeshire, renowned for archaeological finds from the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age. Bronze Age artefacts have been found in the area between Mildenhall and West Row, in Eriswell and in Lakenheath. Many bronze objects, such as swords, spear-heads, arrows, axes, palstaves, knives, daggers, rapiers, armour, decorative equipment (in particular for horses) and fragments of sheet bronze, are entrusted to the Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds. Other finds include traces of cremations and barrows.
Much of Suffolk is low-lying on Eocene sand and clays. These rocks are relatively unresistant and on the coast are eroded rapidly. Coastal defences have been used to protect several towns, but several cliff-top houses have been lost to coastal erosion in the past.
The west of the county lies on more resistant Cretaceous Chalk. This chalk is the north-eastern extreme of the Southern England Chalk Formation that stretches from Dorset in the south west to Dover in the south east. The Chalk is less easily eroded so forms the only significant hills in the county. The highest point of the county is Great Wood Hill, the highest point of the Newmarket Ridge, near the village of Rede which reaches 128 m (420 ft).
Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/
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