View Full Version : Possible Meet - Orford Ness, Suffolk May 2010 - Ex-military test site and wildlife reserve

The Saint
1st January 2010, 06:50 PM
Possible access to areas generally not open to the public!


Orford Ness is an ex-military test site on a shingle spit between the North Sea and the river Alde in Suffolk. When the Ness was vacated by the MOD it was taken over by the National Trust and is now a nature reserve.

Access to the Ness is via a ferry run by the National Trust and from the landing point there is numerous tracks and paths to follow around the site. I paid a visit to the Ness in October last year to see if the location was suitable for an event and I had to hurry around and in 3 hrs didn't manage to get everywhere.


There is a lot of varied things to see on the split, including birds of various types, rare flora, a lighthouse which is rapidly getting closer to the sea and numerous old or derelict military structures.

Speaking to the Warden of the site, he has suggested that if there is a group of us, an escort could be laid on to allow us access to areas that are generally not open to the public (there are plenty of signs on the site warning to stay to the paths because of unexploded ordinance!). Even if this could not be arranged there is plenty to see for a whole day.


If you do find you have some spare time at the end of the day, Orford is a pretty little Suffolk village (with some nice looking pubs) and there is also a castle open to the public for a small charge (the views from the top are meant to be stunning).

Access to the Ness is approximately 7 for non-National Trust members and 4 for members. I'm not sure if there would be an additional charge for the escort.

There is a car park close to the quay side, which charges about a 1/hr.

If you would be interested in attending the event I would be grateful if you could leave a message below, so I can gauge the level of interest and see if it is worth following up the escort with the warden. Also can you please confirm when you would be available, I'm currently thinking of a Saturday or Sunday in May.

Further details for Orford Ness can be found here (http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-orfordness.htm)


1st January 2010, 07:15 PM
Seen this place on the box,yes I'd be interested.

Any weekend except 15/16 May.

Barrie Norman
2nd January 2010, 09:50 AM
any other month would have been good I will be in America for most of the month but this site has a great appeal. I hope the trip is sucsessful, many regards

2nd January 2010, 11:18 AM
I'm very interested in this. Is there decent, reasonably priced accomodation near here?

2nd January 2010, 02:35 PM
I would be interested in the first half of May, as I`ve got to go to Dubai the last week of May! :)

The Saint
2nd January 2010, 05:56 PM
I'm very interested in this. Is there decent, reasonably priced accomodation near here?

Tracey, I don't know any off the top of my head as I'm not that local to the area.

My parents have stayed at the Best Western in Aldeburgh which is not far away and I know Brian Mosley stays in a B&B on the outskirts of Ipswich when he is down on business.

I'm sure you could find somewhere which suites your budget, obviously a personal recommendation helps.



2nd January 2010, 06:56 PM
Felixstowe is a minor holiday resort and out of season should have plenty of B and B. It's a nice area, well worth a visit. Orford Ness itself isn't much, just a shingle spit with a vicious bar to the estuary (I got stuck there once in a sailing cruiser) some abandoned military buildings and lots of stories (they tested explosives there hence the strange pagoda roofed buildings) but Snape Maltings and Aldeburg are nearby and very photogenic. Well worth a visit for a long weekend.

2nd January 2010, 07:09 PM
Unfortunately it's a bit far for a day trip in my case, but it's well worth a visit.
Jane & I stopped at Sweffling Hall Farm (http://www.swefflinghallfarm.co.uk/index.html)

A quiet farmhouse up it's own private drive, reasonably priced and friendly.
Personally I liked it and would go back, but I guess it might be a bit secluded for some.
Ideally suited to chicken fanciers with an interest in old cars.

I don't think they do evening meals, but The Crown at Great Glenham (http://www.flickr.com/photos/brokentaco/3893166071/) down the road was fairly decent. It's in walking distance if you are reasonably fit, but may be a car ride for others.

p.s. It's not my photo of the pub

The Saint
2nd January 2010, 10:40 PM

I agree with you that a Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings are well worth a visit if you want to make a weekend of it.

A little further up the coast from Aldeburgh is Thorpeness which has attractive windmill, house in the trees (converted water tower) and boating lake (with lots of swans/ducks), although not worth stopping for any length of time. The next notable town north or Aldeburgh is Southwold (home of Adam's brewery) and this is an attractive small holiday resort with a nice pier.

We regularly go to Aldeburgh/Southwold for day trips out and never really tire of the area.


2nd January 2010, 11:44 PM
I'm interested.


3rd January 2010, 07:17 PM
Definitely up for this - any date in May is OK at the moment.

I've been going to this area regularly for over 35 years and it never disappoints (although I remember one trip in the late 70's when I was woken by the frost falling off the inside of the tent!). As well as the other attractions mentioned, RSPB Minsmere and Havergate Island reserves are within very easy reach.

On the accommodation/ food front, the seafood at the Butley Orford Oysterage ( http://www.butleyorfordoysterage.co.uk/ ) is superb and gets it into many guides (although the ambiance is more chippy than cordon bleu). The Crown and Castle ( http://www.crownandcastle.co.uk/index.php ) is owned by Ruth Watson (who used to do the Hotel Inspector TV programmes). The food is good, but the establishment trades on her reputation somewhat. She also owned the Kings Head in Orford as well, but that now seems to be under new ownership ( http://www.thekingsheadorford.co.uk/index.html ). We've stayed in The Brudenell hotel in Aldeburgh and that was very good. The Wentworth is also good. The fish and chip shop (not the Golden Hind, the other one!) in Aldeburgh's main street is said to be one of the best in England (well worth eating on the sea wall near the Martello Tower for atmos!).

The Crown at Westleton nearby is excellent ( http://www.westletoncrown.co.uk/ ) and should be even better when they complete a refurb in January (we were last there on Dec 27 after a day @ Minsmere). The Anchor at Walberswick a bit further up the coast is also said to be excellent. Nearby, at Blythburgh, the church is known as the "cathedral of the marshes", and has both the most incredible light and an angel roof.

Andrew Riddell
3rd January 2010, 10:59 PM

I'd like to come to this as well, but I won't be able to confirm until much nearer the time, so make arrangements as you can and I'll fit in if I can.

BTW, the FT Magazine had a photo feature on Donna Nook this weekend.


4th January 2010, 03:55 PM
I might be interested Simon. Depends on dates.

4th January 2010, 04:42 PM

I'd like to come to this as well, but I won't be able to confirm until much nearer the time, so make arrangements as you can and I'll fit in if I can.

Same for me. I only know 3 weeks in advance what shifts I will be working at any given time.

I live in south Norfolk, only an hour or so away from me. But somwhere I have never been to.

And this would be my first meet.

15th January 2010, 09:57 PM
Hey Simon,

I figured I'd sign-up here and check out the site. As you know Angela and I are up for any meeting with you & Tracey. I'll be in the states for 3 weeks starting the 21st of March, but other than that, I'm good. *yes