'Minsmere Levels' is the name used to designate the lower valley of the River Yox, which as it reaches the sea forms the boundary between the villages of Middleton and Sizewell/Leiston to the south and Westleton and Dunwich to the north. The following maps present four divisions of the landscape of Minsmere produced from the 1928 OS Map. The small stretch of coasline where the river passes under the shingle bar via a large sluice is called Minsmere Haven, a reminder that coastal erosion has removed all traces of the hamlet of Minsmere and its maritime lagoon, that even in historical times was marked by a church and a scattering of fishermen's houses. The broad stretch of reedbeds and small dyked pasture enclosures are the terminal remains of the former estuary of the River Yox, carved out of the Sandlings by glacial meltwaters, which rises in Dennington, ten miles inland'.

The land north of the river consisting of reedbeds, plantation woodland and heathland of Westleton and Dunwich is largely a preserved landscape managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Dunwich Heath National Trust.


The 'Levels'

Solid black line = 5O ft contour; dotted purple line = parish boundaries; blue lines = the River Yox-Minsmere, which between the village of Middleton and the Theberton hamlet of East Bridge, is also a parish boundary.

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North West division; Westleton Common and Middleton Levels
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North East division; Dunwich Common
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South West division; Fordley and Theberton
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South East division; Sizewell Leiston
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