Where in Suffolk did Netflix's The Dig film?

Crews filming a boat

Behind the scenes of filming for The Dig in 2019. Picture: SCREEN SUFFOLK - Credit: Screen Suffolk

While The Dig did not exclusively film in Suffolk, the county’s countryside does feature heavily in the film. 

One of the most notable locations is Butley Ferry - “As soon as Simon [Stone, director] saw the Butley Ferry he was absolutely set that was where he had to be,” Screen Suffolk’s Rachel Aldridge said. 

Brick structure in Boyton Marshes

The old brick structure on Boyton Marshes is used in The Dig. Picture: SCREEN SUFFOLK - Credit: Screen Suffolk

Elsewhere, the landscapes at RSPB’s Boyton Marshes featured – including the prominent brick structure there which also featured in Ed Sheeran’s Castle on the Hill music video, as well as shooting landscapes around Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh beach and Suffolk Wildlife Trust land. 

Indeed, Snape Maltings was a key production base in Suffolk for the film while the surrounding landscape was captured on film, and those in Aldeburgh and Shingle Street at the time of filming may have encountered the road closures which facilitated some of the scenes - particularly those of Ralph on his bicycle in his portrayal of excavator Basil Brown. 

Jim Horsfield and Rachel Aldridge from Screen Suffolk. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Jim Horsfield and Rachel Aldridge from Screen Suffolk. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Archant

“They started off the principal photography in Suffolk, and were here for about a week or 10 days across a mixture of council [owned] and other locations,” said Screen Suffolk’s Jim Horsfield.  

“The mound part of the film is actually filmed in Surrey, but all the way through the film is interspersed with shots of Basil Brown going on his bike cycling through the countryside showing the broken nature of the coastline in Suffolk that you can’t get across quickly.” 

However, the decision by filmmakers to visit the Suffolk countryside where the famous dig happened first helped inform the aesthetic of the film throughout, regardless of whether shots were filmed in the county or elsewhere. 

A boat in Suffolk

Filming for The Dig in Suffolk, in late 2019. Picture: SCREEN SUFFOLK - Credit: Screen Suffolk

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Director Simon Stone said: “You go to Suffolk once and visit the estuary lands and you see such a unique landscape, like a world that you just don't recognise as quintessentially English, and so I thought to myself this is a real opportunity to show a side of England that you don't usually see. 

“As you see, it's constantly through the film. We keep cutting back to shots that were shot in the environment where it took place.” 

The Dig is out on Netflix today. 

Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown in The Dig Picture: LARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX

Ralph Fiennes as Basil Brown in The Dig unearthing the Sutton Hoo ship burial - Credit: LARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX