Follow the walking trails around this beautiful nature reserve on the Suffolk Coast. The reserve is located on a remote shingle spit by the River Ore. It can be accessed by catching the National Trust ferry from Orford Quay (this is show on the google street view link below). You can then pick up the walking trails which take you to the WWI airfield, King's Marsh, Orford Ness lighthouse and Orford beach. There's three colour coded, waymarked trails to try with reserve features including shingle, salt-marsh, mud-flats and brackish lagoons. These areas are a haven for wildlife. Highlights include Orford's brown hares and the wonderful Chinese water deer who swam the river to reach the reserve.
Also look out for a wide variety of birds such as avocet and common tern. Marsh harrier's have a nest in King's Marsh and Barn Owls can also been seen nesting in the disused military buildings on the site.
To extend your walking in the area you could pick up the waterside footpath along the River Ore and River Alde and head north towards Aldeburgh Bay. The Suffolk Coast Path also runs near to the reserve. You can pick it up a couple of miles west of Orford where it runs along the Butley River to Boyton Marshes. Just to the north of the reserve you will find the village of Snape and the interesting Snape Maltings. The area also includes an expansive arts complex on the banks of the River Alde.
Rendlesham Forest is also nearby and has miles of nice woodland walking trails.
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Orford Ness Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Orford Ness Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Orford Ness OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Orford Ness Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
There's a couple of very nice refreshments options in the little village of Orford. The Jolly Sailor is a pub of some note, dating from the 1600s. It's full of charm with nooks and crannies, log burning fires and sailing memorabilia. There is also a large patio area, garden and orchard with views across the marshes towards the Ness with its fascinating history and a haven for birds and other wildlife. The fine traditional village pub is in close proximity to Orford Quay where you can take a boat trip on the River Ore or over to Havergate Island. A short stroll takes you into the pretty village centre and the historic castle. You can find pub on Quay Street with a postcode of IP12 2NU for your sat navs.
Also of interest are the delightful Riverside Tea Rooms. There's more nice outdoor seating here with nice views over the River Ore. The interior is also very nice with various paintings of Orford and surrounding areas by local artists which are a real joy and asset to the tearoom. The large windows give a wonderful panoramic view of the river and beyond where you can sit and gaze as you enjoy mid-morning coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea and a slice of cake. You can find the tea rooms on the left hand side of Orford Quay.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Wander into the village of Orford and pay a visit to Orford Castle if you have some time. The historic structure was built between 1165 and 1173 by Henry II of England to consolidate royal power in the region. The well-preserved keep, described by historian R. Allen Brown as "one of the most remarkable keeps in England", is of a unique design and probably based on Byzantine architecture. From the elevated position of the castle there are fine views back down to the coastal reserve.