Lovely weather today and all boded well for a trip to Orford Ness. But before that a rather large friendly camper made himself and his wife known to us, gave us a tourist leaflet on Suffolk, and chatted for a long time about this and that. Apparently, news of our eventful trip up had got around!
Bessie behaved herself beautifully and we arrived at Orford village at about midday – it was only about half an hour away. A huge gravel car park for such a tiny place. The village itself is pretty, with cottages wreathed in summer flowers.
A short walk to the ferry reminded us of Denmark a bit – quite appropriate considering East Anglia’s Viking past.
There was a very talkative woman in the National Trust booking office for the ferry and the chap sitting chatting to her turned out to be the ferryman. Didn’t look much like your typical sailor but then the trip over took less than four minutes so I suppose not much seafaring experience was needed. Up some scary metal steps which looked like they were made from Meccano and we had landed on Orford Ness. Lots of reed beds and generally marshy ground meant that we saw some birds but from a distance. We recognised some Shelducks and the odd Oystercatcher out on the water.
About a half a mile along the tarmac road we found the Information building where there were some interesting photos of the area during WW1 and WW2 when it was used for research into bombs and radar equipment.
The whole place had a derelict and eerie air about it – hardly a soul about apart from the odd walker. We crossed over a bailey bridge and walked towards the lighthouse over shingle studded with wild flowers and the odd rusty bit of scrap metal.
There was a look-out with a telescope which enabled you to see for miles across the shingle, with just a ramshackle building or two in the distance.
It would have made an ideal location for an episode of Dr Who. Walking across the shingle was hard going but we eventually reached the lighthouse situated just above the sea’s edge.
We decided not to carry on along by the water but to head back the way we had come as that would make it a four mile trip by the time we got back to the ferry, and I had already got a couple of blisters on two of my toes (luckily Boy Scout Peter had a plaster in his wallet).
A fascinating and strange place – one could imagine that the last war had only just ended, what with all the bits of rusty old metal and coils of wire left around on the shingle. Danger notices abounded and we had been warned not to stray from the paths for fear of unexploded ordnance.
On the way back Peter managed to capture some more interesting birds with his camera – some linnets, a wheatear and a couple of avocets.
Unlike the trip over, when we had been the sole passengers on the little ferry boat, there were a few people waiting by the time we reached the little jetty and no sooner were we onboard than we had landed the other side. Some children had been crabbing with their father – one of the crabs made a dash for freedom but was soon captured again amongst a lot of delighted squealing from the little girl.
We bought some fresh Dover Sole on the quayside, together with a couple of portions of cockles, and enjoyed them later with a salad, followed by strawberries and cream.
Sounds like a fantastic place to visit. Very jealous, especially of seeing the avocets!
Haven’t put all the pics up yet – will find the avocets one next!