Desolate, lonely, mysterious. Peaceful, facinating, beautiful. A visit to Orford Ness National Nature Reserve provokes all of these responses,and more. You will find an international treasure of strange and scarce wildlife, scarred by a frightening recent past, Come to Orford Ness to feed your senses and challenge your perceptions.
Known as 'The Island', Orford Ness National Nature Reserve is an internationally important site for nature conversation. It is the largest vegetated shingle spit in Europe and an important location for breeding and migrating birds. Coastal plants and other wildlife flourish on Orford Ness, including a large number of internationally rare species. You can follow waymarked trails through a variety of enviroments, including saltmarsh, mudflat, brackish lagoons and the internationally rare and protected vegetated shingle.
From 1913 until the mid-1980s the Ness was used as a military test site and closely gaurdedto prevent public access. Vital to the defence of the realm but damaging to the fragile flora and fauna, top secret experiments were conducted here across both World Wars and into the nuclear age.
Today, you canlook inside some of the intriguing test buildings and view displays about the ecology and history of the site. Cross the River Ore to 'The Island' and see the remnants of the past military activity abandoned amongst the recovering habitates.