Dry weather and successive heatwaves are beginning to damage Suffolk's beauty spots, the National Trust has said.

In July, Suffolk recorded its hottest ever day with highs of 38.4C at Santon Downham and 2022 has been the driest year for East Anglia since 1996.

Now, with a four-day weather warning in place for extreme heat for the remainder of the week, the National Trust says the weather is starting to damage Suffolk's landscape.

According to reports from the charity, heather is struggling to flower on Dunwich's lowland heath and similar problems are occurring across the country.

National Trust experts said the summer's exceptional conditions were a wake-up call to cut the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change and to adapt to the impacts already being caused by rising temperatures.

The charity added it was responding to the ongoing hot, dry conditions with short-term measures including discouraging barbecues and stopping mowing.

It is also implementing longer-term strategies such as selecting drought-resistant plants in its gardens, increasing tree cover and shade, and creating wetlands to hold more water in the landscape to curb flooding and reduce the impact of drought.

Some of those projects are already bearing fruit, the National Trust says.

Keith Jones, national climate change adviser for the National Trust, said: “We shouldn’t be surprised by these temperatures, it’s what the science has been saying for decades.

“But even with years of planning, some of the effects are stark, and we are still learning of the precise impacts extreme weather events like this can have.

“What we can do, is adapt.

"At the Trust we’re taking action to make sure our sites are ready for future changes, from making our landscapes rich in nature, our rivers cooler and our gardens more resilient to helping our buildings cope with excessive heat.”

Richard Millar, head of adaptation at the UK’s advisory Climate Change Committee, said: “We have long known that climate change is making UK heatwaves more frequent and more intense.

“These amplified heatwaves are just one of the impacts on the UK’s significant cultural heritage sites and landscapes.

“Addressing these impacts requires conservation and heritage planning to be undertaken on the basis that the UK’s climate is changing.”

The charity is introducing 20 million new trees by 2030, creating 3,000 hectares of new trees along water courses to help cool water temperatures and returning rivers to their natural shape and function.