23 April 2014
Stephen last travelled to Orford Ness in
2011, for a visit to the main, National Trust, site. The lighthouse on
Orford Ness has now been decommissioned by Trinity House, and will fall into the
sea soon - within a few years with normal winters, or quite possibly next winter
if we have more storms like this last winter. So a trip to the lighthouse was an
opportunity to be taken while it was still available.
From the quay at Orford, looking down the River Ore
The boat that will take us across the river to the ness
Looking across the river. The lighthouse is faintly visible in the
centre of the photo.
A shame about the haze today, so this isn't a great photo, but it does
show the lighthouse
So after a short ride across the river, we have walked along the road
across the marshes, and are about to cross Stony Ditch
The bridge across Stony Ditch
Approaching the lighthouse at the end of our 40-minute walk from the
Evidence of the winter storms - the security police of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment used
the tower in the distance as an observation post, its position enabling
them to scan the length of the beach looking for potential intruders.
Three years ago it was well inland, now it is about to fall into the
Some makeshift sea defences in front of the lighthouse. These may help
slightly to reduce the effects of ordinary wave action, but will not
stop a big storm.
Climbing the spiral staircase inside the lighthouse, past the sector
A hazy look to the southwest, with the police tower on the left, and the
Black Beacon on the right.
And a hazy view to the north-east, across the ridges and swales of the
vegetated shingle which are formed by the action of the sea moving
material along the shore. Large stones are in the swales and smaller
ones on the tops of the ridges; the smaller stones provide smaller gaps
which trap organic material and thus favour vegetation.
The coloured sector lights
The coastguard watch house is also continuing to disintegrate
This lighthouse came into service in 1793, presumably the last to be
here from a series of structures first erected in 1637. It is 89 feet
high, with 163 steps to the lantern. The construction is of brick
covered with stucco, with a Coade stone panel above the door. Trinity
House took over the light from Lord Braybrooke in 1837. The lighthouse
was the point from which the submarine electric telegraph left England
for Scheveningen in the Netherlands, thus linking London with the Hague
for the first time.
The light no longer shines out, and the building won't be here for much
An interesting visit - I'm glad I went.