Saturday, September 27, 2008

Orford - Castle and Ness

For a change this is a post about somewhere in Suffolk on my Suffolk Blog.

Last weekend we took advantage of the great weather that's finally arrived and went for a day out to Orford. Here we were able to use our memberships in both the National Trust and English Heritage all in one day.

First was a trip over to Orford Ness on the National Trust ferry. The trip costs just £3.70 for members, and you can spend as long as you like on the Ness, subject to catching the last ferry back at 5:00pm.

There are trails to follow around, which must be kept to. A lot of aircraft testing of bomb trajectories was carried out on Orford Ness, and so there is a danger of unexploded ordinance still to be found.

We started out by going to the displays about the history of the area which is inside one of the old military buildings.

From there the trail continued on to reach the lighthouse, which is one of the major features.

After stopping on the beach for a picnic lunch, we walked back across the expanse of shingle to head to some more of the buildings. Though as you can see, it's difficult to get away from that lighthouse with the ground being so flat!

Next point on our tour was the Black Beacon, which was built to house an experimental navigation beacon in 1928. Now it is open as a great viewing platform through small slotted windows. Each window has a picture above it to label what can be seen in that direction.

The second trail we followed took us out towards the tall masts which broadcast the BBC World Service radio. This section of the ness contains lots of grazing marshes, and channels of fresh water. We saw plenty of gulls around, plus some little egrets and wheatears.

After catching the boat back to Orford we called in for a cup of tea at the Riverside Tearoom, then walked back up through the town to the castle. Here our English Heritage cards got us in for free and we collected our audio tours to lead us around.

The tour gradually led us up the levels of the castle, ending up on the rooftop. From here we could see all over the town and back across to the lighthouse.

Unfortunately we had to rush the tour a little, as it lasts for almost an hour, and we had just 50 minutes until the castle closed. We skipped the introduction, and also the basement section.

Back outside we had a brief walk around the ridges of the castle defenses, getting the whole building in a picture by using a wideangle lens which has made an unusually bent castle.

The castle really shone in the evening light, looking quite golden.

We ended the day by going for tea in the Kings Head pub.


Ruby said...

Oh, Suffolk looks so .... Suffolk like!! I miss it! Lovely post and pics :-)

Alex from Suffolk said...

Thinking of getting a yearly pass. Certainly seems worth it!

Picklesmum said...

ah, a proper red and white lighthouse! Just how they should be.

MarkG said...

I spent the weekend playing around a little more with blogger and decided to use the lighthouse in the header.

Now going back to all my walking blogs and trying to update them too to make them look prettier.

Anonymous said...

Orford was one of my favorite places to visit when I lived in Suffolk. Wonderful place, scenery, and it brings back many wonderful memories!

Excellent pictures!

Happy day!

David Hunter said...

These are some lovely Photos of Orford.
I like to take my camera around with me and take pictures all around Suffolk.
I saw the red and white light house and wondered where that was!
Next time i'm near there i will have to visit and take some Photo's! That is the job of a Photographer after all!