VILLAGE VOICES

the website for Hollesley,
Boyton, Capel St Andrew
and Shingle Street

    WHAT TO SEE AND DO
1.   Hollesley
2.   Boyton
3.   Capel St Andrew
4.   Shingle Street
5.   Woodbridge
6.   Aldeburgh
7.   Orford
8.   Southwold
  1.  HOLLESLEY

   Hollesley is the largest village on the southern tip of the peninsula.  Like other Sandlings villages, it has 
   seen centuries of uncertain but tenacious growth, reflecting the ups and downs of the surrounding 
   arable and livestock farms.  It has a thriving shop/post office, a small car-service and sales garage, the
   Shepherd and Dog pub, a primary school, a pre-school, a Village Hall, recreation ground, and the 15th 
   century All Saints Church (pictured right) which has one of the best peal of bells in Suffolk.  The
   Poplar Park Equestrian Centre is also located in the village, near the village hall.
All Saints,Hollesley
   White's Suffolk Directory (1844) lists many trades and a few professions: a cooper/basket maker, mariner, publican of The Old 
   Fox, corn miller, curate, shopkeeper, surgeon, schoolmaster, a dozen farmers, many farm workers, a grocer/draper/tailor, a
   bricklayer, three blacksmiths, three bootmakers, three carpenters, a wheelwright and a post carrier.  The Street runs through the 
   centre of the village starting near the church.  Houses are loosely scattered along its length, and in small side roads.  At the far end 
   of the village, The Street makes a crossroads with a road to Shingle Street, and the main road to Woodbridge eight miles away. 
   The other half of Hollesley is 1km north east along the main road to Boyton.  This area is called Oak Hill, and is close to the group 
   of HM prisons and corrective establishments known as the Hollesley Bay Colony - a modern link to the Colonial College and Training 
   Farms venture established in 1887 that trained colonists in the skills of farming and agriculture, prior to their leaving Britain to 
   work in far-flung corners of the Empire.
   Walks from the village will take you in various directions, depending upon your wish to see heathland, pine forest or the sea. 
     Hollesley Primary School
  2.  BOYTON

   The village is small, quiet and attractive, with houses and cottages scattered along the single road.  Two fine buildings enhance 
   Boyton: the imposing 18th century Mary Warner Almshouses and the adjacent St. Andrew's Church (see photo left), which has a 
   handsome Norman doorway.  The village has a fine Village Hall, but lost its Post Office and shop in 1970, and The Bell pub is also 
   gone.  In White's Suffolk Directory for 1844, Boyton is listed as having a population of 247, several farmers, and a butcher, cattle 
   dealer, miller, bootmaker, joiner, publican, blacksmith, grocer and postmaster.  An important piece of Boyton's history juts out into 
   the tidal Butley river in the form of the old, disused Boyton Dock.  From here, barges carried away cargoes of bricks from Boyton's 
   brickworks, as well as white clay dug locally for high quality pottery, and also coprolite, which is a natural phosphate fertiliser 
   found in brown nodules that were also dug locally.  These industries brought employment and some wealth to Boyton, but were 
   short-lived.  
    St Andrews Church,Boyton 
  Coal from Durham was also landed at Boyton Dock, and return cargoes included hay to feed the pit ponies in
  the Durham mines. The watery marshland close to the dock is rich in wildfowl and other birds.
 
  During World War 2 this area was a tank range, and the remains of a military building are still visible.  Today,
  Boyton Marshes nature reserve is owned by the RSPB.  The Tang River flows through the sandy farmland
  that surrounds the village and enters the River Ore through the reclaimed marshes just east of the village.
  A handsome village sign outside the Village Hall depicts scenes from the history of Boyton (see photo right).
  3.  CAPEL ST ANDREW

   Capel St Andrew is an attractive small community of cottages, houses and barns, surrounded by Sandlings farmland, with one foot 
   in Rendlesham Forest.  Capel means chapel, and although the chapel of St. Andrew was the vicarage of the powerful and wealthy 
   Butley Priory in 1529, it was demolished soon after.  In 1844 the Parish held 222 residents, and 30 children attended the school.  
   Travellers passing through the hamlet today enjoy the steel sculpture of St Andrew the Fisherman at the crossroads (see photo left).
   It was created by Paul Richardson for the Millennium.  The hamlet may be small and with no public facilities, but the Parish is large.  
   It stretches down the runway of the nearby airbase, and includes the Rendlesham Forest area where the famed UFO sighting was 
   claimed in 1980. 
'Steel Man'

   4.  SHINGLE STREET

   At first glance, there is no reason at all to visit Shingle Street.  The tiny beach hamlet has absolutely nothing to offer, unless 
   you love wild solitude, the crash of waves, the sight of wheeling seabirds, and the sound of the wind.  With marshland behind 
   them and the beach in front, the cottages confront the North Sea across great tracts of stones.  It is one of the iconic views 
   of Suffolk.  Offshore, a welter of white water shows where the outgoing River Ore collides with the incoming breakers.  It's 
   a dangerous place, where the submerged tip of Orford Ness is marked by the clanging North Weir bell buoy.  The wastes of 
   shingle look barren, but in summer they are a riot of wild flowers.  

   Shingle Street was very different 100 years ago, when a fishing community lived amongst the stones in a long row of small wood 
   houses and huts.  Nets, pots, boats and other fishing gear were strewn along the beach, and winches and cables stood ready to 
  pull the boats up the steep shingle out of the sea.  The houses were built clinker-style, like the boats, and the men made wooden 
   smokehouses and small workshops - often, from the hulls of old boats.  Hollesley Bay was full of fish, and the hardy Shingle-
  streeters caught what they needed within yards of the shore.  They ate the fish themselves, carted it to nearby Hollesley and 
  Alderton, or sold it to the coastguards who lived in the cottages.  Some of the catch would have been eagerly snapped up by 
   summer visitors to the German Mansion (the North Sea was named the German Ocean at the time).  The long, low Mansion is still 
   there, but the pub - a charismatic, two-storey timber building called The Lifeboat - was blown to splinters in an RAF bomb 
   experiment in World War 2.  Shingle Street is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), dominated by its fine Martello 
   Tower - one of four spaced around the curve of Hollesley Bay.
           Shingle Street
Coastguard Cottages
  OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
   5.  Woodbridge
   Like most towns in Suffolk, what you see at Woodbridge today is an intriguing ghost from the past: a memory 
   deeply rooted in centuries of growth, commercial wealth, political influence and flourishing trade.  It is a 
   fine town, much loved by its people and by visitors who return year after year to wander the waterfront and 
   explore the narrow lanes and alleys.  People have lived here at the head of the tidal reach of the Deben for 
   1200 years.  Nine miles of the Deben river separate Woodbridge from the sea, and yet somehow the water-
   front has kept alive echoes of its maritime port tradition with its salty atmosphere  and yodelling gulls, long 
   after shipbuilding ceased and the wharves and docks were converted to recreational and residential uses.

   Famous landmarks in the town include St. Mary's church, the Guild Hall in Market Square, the Olde Bell and 
   Steelyard pub, the Tide Mill and Buttrum's Windmill.  An open-top bus service runs two days per week in 
   summer that takes in these highlights: it terminates at the National Trust's world-famous Sutton Hoo site.  
   From the riverside railway station, you can take a train up the coast to Lowestoft, or go the other way to 
   Ipswich and Colchester.
       The Tide Mill
       The Waterfront
      The Waterfront
   Riverside Theatre & Cinema
  
  6.  Aldeburgh

   The people of Aldeburgh are only too aware of changing times, and the way their town has become highly 
   popular - fashionable even - with visitors who keep the shops busy and go away praising the fish and chips.  
   Somehow Aldeburgh has kept its identity, and it is one that delights the visitors who return time and again to 
   the salty, windswept town that Suffolk poet George Crabbe found a bit disagreeable.  Stand on the shingle 
   beach with the crashing North Sea at your back, and gaze at one of the iconic views of Suffolk, complete 
   with the Lifeboat Station, the two historic pilot company watchtowers and the ever-hungry gulls.  Colourful 
   nets, pots, floats and boats stand beside rusting winches on the shingle ridge, behind which the houses of 
   Aldeburgh face the wind and waves as they have for centuries.  

   The town has a rich musical heritage, and hosts Benjamin Britten's world-renowned Aldeburgh Festival of 
   Music and the Arts each June.  There are award-winning restaurants and bistros in the town, and you can 
   buy fresh fish from the huts on the beach.
  
   The ancient Moot Hall near the beach is a fine sight, and it is sobering to learn that it once stood in the 
   centre of the town: the sea has swallowed half of Aldeburgh. 
       Aldeburgh Beach
 Famous Fish & Chips
         Aldeburgh Shops
   Aldeburgh Fishing Nets
  
  7.  Orford

   Shifting shingle has always been the nemesis of villages and towns on the East Anglian coast.  Harbours 
   have been blocked and rivers diverted by shingle banks thrown up almost overnight by great storms in the 
   past.  The Normans built a large castle on the shore at Orford in the 12th century.  By the 14th century 
   Orford was an important port, but by the end of the 16th century it was all over: the ever-growing shingle 
   mass of Orford Ness had cut the port off from the sea, and large ships were unable to reach the town.  
   Today, the surviving Keep of the castle lies hundreds of metres from the sea and is in the safe hands of 
   English Heritage.  Fishing boats still work from Orford, and from the quay you can take the National Trust 
   ferry across to Orford Ness, or the RSPB boat to their famous nature reserve at Havergate Island.  The 
   village square and the handsome church mark the original heart of Orford, which was apparently larger 
   than it is today.

   You eat well in Orford, and the pubs are good.  From the quay you can walk miles along the sea wall 
   following the Ore to the sea. 
            Orford Ness
      Orford Castle
  The Jolly Sailor, Orford
 Orford Ness & Lighthouse
  
  8.  Southwold

   Everybody loves Southwold, which is why the cost of its beach huts is so famously high.  It is a truly 
   beautiful, unspoiled town, dominated by a magnificent church, the Adnams brewery and of course its light-
   house, rearing high above the narrow streets.  Unusually for Suffolk, it has a sandy beach, ensuring the 
   town is a Mecca for young families on holiday.  The main road through the town has a good variety of shops, 
   and several good pubs and places to eat.  There are grassy greens scattered throughout Southwold, giving 
   the town a nice, open feel.  

   This is the Amber Coast: you may be lucky enough to find a piece on the beach, but if you don't, head for 
   the Amber Museum in the town square.  The seafaring history of this coastline makes a fascinating study in 
   the Sailor's Reading Room on the cliff top path above the beach.  A visit to the new pier is another 'must': it 
   is the first new pier built for 100 years.  The saucy Water Clock is brilliant! 
 Southwold Cannon
        Water Clock