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Category Archives: suffolk

Cycling past a couple of traffic cops yesterday armed with a radar gun, one shouted at me:


If I’d known I was being clocked I would have at least tried to hit the speed limit.


I visited Orford over the weekend. It’s a really pretty town, but with a slightly sinister history. Orford Ness is perhaps best known for its part in military history. During both world wars it was used a weapons testing facility, and later as a development site for radar and Britain’s atomic weapons programme. From the shoreline, it’s possible to see the “pagodas” which were cells used to house the weapons during testing. The pagodas were ominous-looking concrete buildings designed to contain a blast (although originally they had aluminium roofs!).

We walked down to the quay and on the left is a great little tea room which serves up a mean ham and cheese baguette. The other great thing about Orford is Richardson’s Smokehouse were you can buy pretty much anything smoked: anything from Trout, to Eel, to garlic bulbs!

Plus, if castles are your thing, then it’s worth a visit to Orford Castle, built between 1165 and 1173 at a sky-high cost of £1413. Actually, even if they aren’t your thing then the views from the castle are great.

I think a lot of what makes the blogosphere interesting is the way that individual, local knowledge can be transferred to whoever wants to know. So here’s some of my local knowledge based on places to visit around Suffolk, where I’ve lived for the last 5 years. It expands upon one of my previous posts from last year.

Aldeburgh (map)
Aldeburgh is a gorgeous little town on the coast. You can spot a tiny little 2-storey cottage that is literally in a parking space, and there’s the Moot Hall which is a 400 year old building used for town meetings. A bit further along is where Slaughden used to stand, the town that was claimed by the North Sea. Good food available at the Cross Keys pub. Aldeburgh is also home to Britain’s best fish and chips, apparently. Fresh fish are sometimes on sale along the seafront.

Alton Water (map)
Alton Water is a huge reservoir with paths for walking and cycling around the perimeter. There’s a hide part-way round for bird watchers and a café for post-walk/cycle refreshments.

Landguard Fort in Felixstowe (map)
Landguard is a 14th Century fort on the coast of Felixstowe right by the docks. It was used to repel the Dutch in 1667, so it’s got interesting history too. The fort isn’t open all year round, but the times can be found on its official English Heritage site (

Felixstowe Ferry (map)
Drive through the Felixstowe golf course and Felixstowe Ferry is on the other side. It’s a really nice part of Felixstowe with walks along the sea and the coastal defences. You can buy fresh fish from little hits by the moored boats. There’s also a good pub, the Ferry Boat Inn, which serves food.

So now 2 more women have been found in Levington, and it seems increasingly likely that they are the 2 missing prostitutes, Paula Clenell and Annette Nicholls – although the police aren’t confirming this until they’ve been officially identified. The feeling in and about town, particularly at night is very strange at the moment. There definitely seems to be less people about town in the evenings now and it’ll be interesting to know how busy Ipswich is (or more likely isn’t) on Friday and Saturday night. Driving past the Nacton turn-off yesterday on the way to work makes it all seem a lot closer to home and it’s weird watching the evenings news and then hearing police and news helicopters flying by overhead. I just hope that Ipswich isn’t forever tainted by these events in the way that Soham seems to have been following the murders there.My hope is that the story has now become so big that the killer will be scared off although, that said, if prostitutes are still going out then he still has opportunities. Or maybe the punters will be scared off and make the whole thing a pointless exercise anyway. 

Update: Ok, so first the police arrested Tom Stephens, a supermarket employee from a small town called Trimley, not far from Ipswich. The mass media found his myspace page and subsequently his pictures where plastered all over the prime time news programmes and newspapers. It turns out that this is most likely not the murderer, because the following day the police arrested another guy, Stephen Wright, for the murder of all 5 girls. He has since been charged and the hearing is due on 1st May 2007. There’s a pretty good write-up of the whole thing on wikipedia. Another interesting part to the whole investigation is that there is a possiblity that these crimes could be linked to a series of other similar crimes that have occurred over the last 15 years in East Anglia. 

Update 2: The trial date has been set for January 2008. I imagine that there will be a fair bit of news coverage surrounding this. Ipswich has largely returned to normal now, and the events of last year are rarely brought up in conversation now. It’s hard to tell what people’s feelings are outside of Ipswich, but I *think* the town has pretty much escaped being tainted by this event.

So a lot has been happening over the last few days in little old Ipswich. It’s looking increasingly likely that we’ve now acquired our own serial killer. Over the last few days 3 women have been found dead in different locations around the outskirts of Ipswich, and two more are reported missing. It seems that the killer is targetting prostitutes in the area, presumably since they are easier targets.

And as if a prowling serial killer wasn’t enough, there was also a stabbing and a shooting in Ipswich over the weekend at a local nightclub called Zest, leaving one bloke dead. Suddenly London sounds like a nice, safe, cozy place to live again. I think everyone in the town is getting spooked by the serial killings and I reckon that the place is going to be a lot quieter in the evenings as a result, with taxi drivers being a lot busier.

On Saturday I did another bike route and decided to use Gmaps-pedometer again to record the route.

Route 18/11/2006

What would make this great tool even better would be to allow photos to be added to the map and also notes so that the whole route can be recorded for others to follow. I’m sure, with the Google Maps and Flickr APIs this has got to be possible, especially now that Flickr supports geotagging of photos.

It’s really great seeing the route set out like this – it gives me a real sense of distance and scale. I think next time I’ve got to try going out to a different part of Suffolk.

I just got back from being out on my bike, and wanted to know how far I’d been. Since I’ve not got round to transferring the bike computer from my old bike to my new one, I usually just have a quick look at Google Maps and work it out roughly. But this time I found Gmaps Pedometer. Its a great little app that uses the Google Maps API and allows you to plot the route bit by bit just by double clicking on the map. Its great and I managed to work out I’d cycled a shade over 9 miles.

So here’s my route:
Bike route Sat 4th Nov 2006

I had my folks come to visit this weekend and had the task of working out where in the area we should visit. When I first moved to Ipswich I had very poor knowledge of the area, but now that I’m in my 5th (!) year here, I’m getting a better measure for East Anglia. It turned out that I had too many places I wanted to take my parents for the time they were here. So I thought I’d list the some of the great places to visit here for next time they’re down and for anyone else who’s interested:

The Suffolk Coast
There’s so many small towns along this very unspoilt coastline which are great to visit and very different from similar towns along the south coast. Particular highlights are Aldeburgh, Southwold, Walberswick, Thorpe Ness, and Dunwich. Aldeburgh and Southwold are the largest of the coastal towns. Aldeburgh sports a fantastic ice-cream parlour in the summer with a huge array of flavours as well as a tiny little cottage along the sea front that neatly fits into a single car park space. Southwold has its own pier, a lighthouse and a great little restaurant called the Blue Lighthouse.

Further in-land is Framlingham. It’s a tiny little market town but the pride of Framlingham has to be the huge medieval castle which is free to walk around the outside but you pay a fee to go in the grounds.

Norfolk Broads
Further north lies Norwich and the Norfolk Broads. I’ve not spent a huge amount of time in Norfolk, but the Norfolk Broads are well worth a visit. I spent some time in Wroxham which is on the north west side of the broads. Here you can hire a boat in units of one hour to chug along the broads. We hired one for just an hour, and in September (just after peak season) the price was £13.

Pinnmill is a tiny little hamlet on the way to Shotley from Ipswich. It’s right on the river Orwell, along with a great pub called the Butt and Oyster, which has apparently played host to Colin Farell and Ewan McGregor when they were recently filming nearby. The pub is right on the river and has a really good menu – especially worth checking out the specials. There’s also a nice walk along the river from Pin Mill.

Shotley Gate
A small town from which you can see Harwich and Felixstowe across the water. On the way into Shotley there’s some impressive views of the *huge* cargo ships that dock at Felixstowe. There’s a nice walk along the beach at Shotley, and there’s also the marina on the Felixstowe side – can see the lock in almost constant operation on the weekends.