The Suffolk coast just south of Aldeburgh is where the river at the point known as the Alde gets within a stone’s throw of the sea, turns south and meanders another ten miles before slipping by then known as the River Ore into the Pebbles of Shingle Street. Due to longshore drift, the pushing of material southwards and its re-settling, deflected and shaped by river and tide, to form Orford Ness, the longest shingle spit in Europe.
The Ore creeps out of town down a storm gulley beside the Co-op supermarket, following the B1116 to Parham which once has a WWII aerodrome where Glenn Miller played in a hanger. The Alde comes down from Badingham, and meanders in meadows until it reaches Stratford St Andrew, beyond which it too ducks under the A12 and, after a mile or so, meets the Ore.
Aldeburgh from which the character, Peter Grimes, was the inspiration for Britten’s opera, is now as bijou as Southwold, and a thriving beach-selling fishing sector. Aldeburgh also fears the sea and more recently sculptor Maggi Hambling, installed The Scallop, a steel shell four metres high, deliberately at the top of the beach. It has the words of Peter Grimes, “I hear those voices that will not be drowned“.
Beyond Slaughden the rivers now called the Ore again, and snakes off beside the flatness of Orford Ness, and the only permitted access is by the National Trust’s ferry from Orford, half way down on the right.www.nationaltrust.org.uk/orfordness.
Just south of Slaughden is The Martello tower shown in the picture above where East Of England Online’s Chloe Giles stayed for a weekend. Havergate Island is a wildliife reserve opposite the entrance to Butley River, a creek, crossed by a summertime ferry, www.aldeandore.org, beyond which the Ore reaches Shingle Street.