Adventure 10: Suffolk Coast Pt 2

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Saturday 28 – Tuesday 31 Aug 2004

A busy summer in London and holidaying Spain meant that we hadn’t been able to have the number of adventures in the Devon21 that we’d hoped. So we jumped at the oportunity to get away in the Fun Bus for the last Bank Holiday weekend of the year. We decided to continue exploring the different sides of Suffolk. Our weekend took in aspects of Suffolk’s history, from age old brewing to atomic weapons research.

Saturday was spent driving up to Southwold. We diverted round some M25 gridlock and drove through Colchester to see what it’s like. We didn’t stop! The torrential rain of the previous weeks had us worried about the state of the Harbour Campsite by the beach would be in. It was very muddy in places but with slow moving we chose a pitch and hoped we wouldn’t get bogged down.

On Sunday we walked into town via the harbour and river. There was the same feel of being back in time we had last time we visited in May. Morris dancers were stood outside the pub in the shadow of the lighthouse. We lazed around the town and had a cream tea before wandering back to camp for a steak dinner with plenty of red wine.

We decided on Monday to explore northern Suffolk on the road. We were underwhelmed by Beccles and the broads. But could see that from a boat it might be pleasant enough. The day took a turn for the better when we stumbled accross the Suffolk Aviation Museum. I’m not normally interested by memorabillia of war but the sight of an array of huge fighters bombers and helicopters in what looked like the back garden of a pub was quite arresting. Inspired by displays on the bombers based on local air-fileds during WWII we drove around the area and looked at abandonned air-fields. We stumbled across the quaint St Peter’s Brewery in St Peter’s Hall a short way from the end of a runway.

By Tuesday it was time to head home. We stopped for a few fascinating hours on route at Orford Ness. Reached via a National Trust boat from Orford quay, the ness is Europe’s largest spit. It was used for animal grazing for hundreds of years before the advent of modern war lead to its appropriation by the military. It’s a place of contrasts: stark natural beauty and rusting concrete decay. Bomb craters litter the now earily quiet shingle landscape. Much of Brtain’s aerial bombing hardware was developed at Orford including Britain’s first nuclear bomb, Blue Danube.

A very relaxing and interesting long weekend away.

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