Shingle Street, Suffolk
The sun was just setting and a storm was rolling in. We had raincoats (luckily) and a desire for adventure one Sunday evening. Our choice of exploration was indeed Shingle Street; sitting between Orford and Bawdsey this intriguing place has an interesting past.
Shingle Street is a coastal hamlet with only a few cottages, one pub and couple of bungalows sitting atop the shore in a long line overseeing this eerie, but compelling coastline. Many of the buildings here were built for fishermen in the 19th century and are still homes today.
However in 1940 an evacuation took place to move residents away from a supposed German invasion during World War 2. A number of the buildings were destroyed during this war and a speculative past was left behind on this desolate shingle landscape. Legend has it that British forces stopped a German invasion by "setting the sea alight" with flammable liquid moving through the sea floor pipelines.
Many rumours about Shingle Street were usually just wartime propaganda. But in 1943 this gorgeous landscape was home to a large number of mines, which led to Shingle Street being a munitions testing zone, and furthermore made it uninhabitable for many years; until the late 1940's when residents could slowly move back in, due to the mine clear up.
Now exploring Shingle Street in the 21st century, it's easy to let your mind wander in such an isolated area of natural beauty, every crunch of shingle under your feet envelopes the mind into the nature of this place (and it is also a perfect sunset spot). We luckily caught the sun just as the storm clouds were rolling in.
The only foot prints left behind by a war time Britain here is the Martello Tower, which helped to keep Napoleon out in the 19th century. You can now stay in this brilliant 200 year old landmark; what a fabulous, characterful holiday location.
Although this landscape may look barren, it is now home to a variety of birds and species of wildlife who have made this unusual beach a place called home. If beach-combing is your thing too, then there are numerous findings amongst the shingle; whelk shells, mermaids purses, drift wood, and many other interesting treasures.
I hope you enjoy venturing to this eerie landscape as much as we did. I would love to know your findings and wanderings from your exciting trips too, let me know in the comments below! Happy exploring!