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Photographer's Note

Orford Ness is a cuspate foreland shingle spit on the Suffolk coast in Great Britain, linked to the mainland at Aldeburgh and stretching along the coast to Orford and down to North Wier Point, opposite Shingle Street. It is divided from the mainland by the River Alde, and was formed by longshore drift along the coast. The material of the spit comes from places further north, such as Dunwich. Near the middle point of its length, at the foreland point or 'Ness', lies the Orfordness lighthouse Note that, in the name of the lighthouse (and the radio transmitting station - see below), ‘Orfordness’ is written as one word.The peninsula was formerly administered by the Ministry of Defence, which conducted secret military tests during both world wars and the Cold War. The Atomic Weapons Research Establishment had a base on the site, used for environmental testing. This is when a laboratory test is conducted to determine the functional performance of a component or system under conditions that simulate the real environment in which the component or system is expected to operate. Many of the buildings from this time remain clearly visible from the quay at Orford, including the distinctive "pagodas". Whilst it is maintained that no fissile material was tested on the site, the very high explosive initiator charge was present and the buildings were designed to absorb any accidental explosion, allowing gases and other material to vent and dissipate in a directed or contained manner. In the event of a larger accident, the roofs were designed to collapse onto the building, sealing it with a lid of concrete.
The Orfordness transmitting station was built on the peninsula in the late 1970s and early 1980s using the site and building of an experimental military over-the-horizon radar known as Cobra Mist, which had closed in 1973. This powerful mediumwave radio station - originally owned and run by the Foreign Office, then the BBC and, after privatization in the 1990s, a series of private companies - is best known for transmitting BBC World Service in English around the clock to continental Europe on 648 kHz from September 1982 until March 2011. Following the ending of these broadcasts, and with no other major clients for the station, its future is uncertain.
In the 1930s Orford Ness was the site of the first purpose built experiments on the defence system that would later be known as radar. Having proved the technology on Orford Ness Robert Watson-Watt and his team moved to nearby Bawdsey Manor and developed the Chain Home radar system in time for its vital role in the Battle of Britain.
Orford Ness is now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public under the name "Orford Ness National Nature Reserve", though access is strictly controlled to protect the fragile habitats and due to a residual danger to the public from the site's former use by the military. Access is therefore only available by the National Trust ferry from Orford Quay on designated open days.
Rachel Woodward writes:
“ It is a place of strange contrasts. For the National Trust, its 'elemental nature' contrasts with the 'inherent dangers' of this place, a 'hostile and potentially dangerous site'. Military structures – the Bomb Ballistics Building, the Black Beacon, the 'pagodas' used for explosive design – have been converted into viewing spots. This is not a celebratory site, however; there is ambivalence and doubt here, with regard to what is being physically and ideologically conserved. ”
Owing to its military history, its stark appearance and the fact that it was closed to the public for many decades, several apocryphal stories have circulated about Orford Ness. The best-known is the suggestion that Nazi troops attempted to invade England and actually disembarked at the tip of the peninsula near Shingle Street, before being repelled with a wall of fire. Official sources denied any such attempted invasion took place, an assertion apparently confirmed by classified documents released in 1993. More recently, the flashes of the lighthouse were implicated in the Rendlesham Forest UFO sightings of late December 1980.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: Iain Richardson (RhodieIke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 835 W: 1 N: 2670] (11752)
  • Genre: Miejsca
  • Medium: Kolorowe
  • Date Taken: 2009-10-03
  • Categories: Architektura
  • Na¶wietlenie: f/13.0, 1/200 sekund
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Wersja zdjęcia: Oryginalna wersja
  • Date Submitted: 2011-08-31 21:51
Viewed: 5561
Points: 18
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Additional Photos by Iain Richardson (RhodieIke) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 835 W: 1 N: 2670] (11752)
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