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Orford
Orfordness, Ferries, Excursion Boats, Quays, AWRE
 
 
This page is devoted to postcards and photographs of the Suffolk village of Orford and its ferries and excursion boats.
 
The town of Orford grew up around a 12th Century Royal castle, of which the surviving 90 ft high Keep dominates the surroundings of Orford to this day. Henry II built the castle for coastal defence and against invaders from the sea, underlining the political and commercial importance of the area at that time. At this time Orford was on the coast, and it was a thriving port in Elizabethan times, but its importance diminished when the long shingle spit of Orfordness cut it off from the sea. Orford is now on the River Ore, which becomes the River Alde further upstream (the two towns of Orford and Aldeburgh each had their own name for the same river). The isolated Orfordness has been used by the military from 1913, when a large part of the Ness was taken over by the War Department. It was drained to form airfields for the Central Flying School’s Experimental Flying Section; and so began an intense seventy year period of military activity. Experiments during the First World War included those on parachutes, aerial photography, bomb and machine gun sights, the evaluation of aircraft and the development of camouflage. In the Cold War, tests relating to atomic weapons were undertaken in strange-looking 'pagodas' which still remain. Access was not permitted to Orfordness until 1995 when the National Trust opened it to visitors and provided the ferry service from Orford Quay. Even now, visitors must stick to the paths due to the danger of 'unexploded ordnance', although I suspect this is primarily to allow birds to nest in peace.
 
The Ministry of Defence ran a number of ferries from Orford Quay to Orfordness, which in later years included the Portree of Caledonian SP Co. When the military pulled out, Orfordness was handed to the National Trust in 1993 for protection. They maintain a small passenger ferry Octavia to take visitors across the River Ore. The National Trust ferry runs through the summer months only (Saturday's only in October).
 
A second ferry to Orford runs across the Butley River.
 
Two excursion boats run from Orford Quay. The Lady Florence is a restaurant boat which runs all year, carrying 12 passengers on brunch, lunch and dinner cruises. She has been running cruises from Orford since 1984. Regardless runs short cruises around the RSPB bird sanctuary of Havergate Island, plus fishing and bird watching charters.
 
 
Sections on this Page:-
Excursion Boats & Ferries
Orfordness - AWRE
Orfordness Lighthouse
Orford Quay
Orford Village
 
Boats on this Page:-
AWRE-No3 - Orfordness MOD ferry
Butley Ferry
Guinevere - Orfordness BBC World Service ferry
Lady Florence - Orford restaurant boat
Octavia - Orfordness ferry - National Trust
Regardless - Orford excursion boat
 
Suffolk Pages:-
Suffolk Excursion Boats & Ferries
Harwich-Shotley-Felixstowe ferry: Brightlingsea
Harwich-Shotley-Felixstowe ferry: Explorer 12
Orwell River Cruises
Lunch Cruise on Lady Florence
www.lady-florence.co.uk - official company website
 
Associated Pages:-
UK Excursion Ships
Ferry Postcards
Cruise Ship Postcards
Ocean Liner Postcards
Simplon Postcards - Recent Updates
Simplon Postcards - Home Page
 
References:-
www.suffolkimages.com - Superb images of the fascinating Suffolk Coast
The Deben River - by Robert Simper - Creekside Publishing 1992
Rivers Alde, Ore & Blythe - Robert Simper - Creekside Publishing 1994
Trip Out Guides - Written and published by G.P.Hamer - various editions from 1977 to 2005 consulted
 
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Orford Excursion Boats & Ferries

All images link to larger copies



Lady Florence
 
Contact:- 07831 698 298
Website:- www.lady-florence.co.uk
 
Lady Florence is an ex-Admiralty motor fishing vessel (MFV) one of over 1000 built during World War II as supply boats. She is 50 ft long, 16ft 6' in beam, draws 6ft of water and weighs 35 tons net, 54 gross. Lady Florence sales from Orford Quay as a floating restaurant, and carries 12 passengers. She usually runs a morning Brunch Cruise at 9:30 followed by a Lunch Cruise at 12:00. Between April and August she also runs an evening Dinner Cruise at 16:00, whilst in September to mid-October a High Tea cruise runs at the same time. Each trip runs both upriver on the Alde and downstream to the sea on the Ore, whatever the weather and tides. Food is served in the comfortable deck saloon, which has a coal fired stove in winter. She gets booked up well in advance, so bookings should be made at: 07831 698 298
 
Lady Florence was built in Poole during 1944, at Jake Bolson's yard where many Bournemouth excursion boats were built. She was launched as MFV 766, and served initially at Glasson Dock in Lancashire, then from 1947 out of Plymouth and then Portsmouth from 1955. In 1963 she transferred to the Sea Cadets at Midhurst Sussex, then Hove from 1969. In 1971 she went into private hands. There is a gap in the history from 1971 to 1977, in which year she was registered as a British Ship, named Margaret Jane, and was back at Glasson Dock. She was sold in 1983 to Geoffrey Ingram Smith of Woodbridge who renamed her Lady Florence and set up the river cruise business in Orford in 1984. He subsequently sold the business to Susan and John Haresnape in 1992, and they and sons Rhys and Craig continue to operate the Lady Florence business.
 
Lady Florence cruises the Rivers Alde and Ore, one river which has two names. The river is tidal as far as Snape Bridge, but although very wide, it becomes too shallow for Lady Florence beyond Cob Island, two miles above Aldeburgh Yacht Club and Slaughden Quay.
 
Images from a lunch cruise on Lady Florence
 

Lady Florence official postcard




Lady Florence Christmas card




Lady Florence as built as MFV 766



Lady Florence arriving back at Orford Quay after her morning Brunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence arriving back at Orford Quay after her morning Brunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence at Orford Quay
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence leaving Orford Quay for her lunch cruise
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence leaving Orford Quay for her lunch cruise
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence leaving Orford Quay for her lunch cruise
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence leaving Orford Quay for her lunch cruise
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence passing Orford Quay on her Lunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence passing Orford Quay on her Lunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence passing Orford Quay on her Lunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence passing Orford Quay on her Lunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence passing Orford Quay on her Lunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence passing Orford Quay on her Lunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Lady Florence arriving back at Orford Quay on 27th December 2006 after her morning Brunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



Lady Florence arriving back at Orford Quay on 27th December 2006 after her morning Brunch Cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



The tide was exceptionally low and there was a delay before berthing was possible
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



The tide was exceptionally low and there was a delay before berthing was possible
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



The tide was exceptionally low and there was a delay before berthing was possible
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



The tide was exceptionally low and there was a delay before berthing was possible
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



On board Lady Florence on the 27th December 2006 lunch cruise.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



The saloon on Lady Florence
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



The wheelhouse on Lady Florence
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



The wheelhouse on Lady Florence
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



Lady Florence at Orford Quay with Regardless
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
LADY FLORENCE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Lady Florence at Orford Quay with Regardless
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
LADY FLORENCE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Lady Florence 2005 brochure front



Lady Florence 2005 brochure back



Lady Florence 2006 brochure front



Lady Florence 2006 brochure back



The family runs a similar venture in Durban, South Africa, with the Allen Gardiner
2006 brochure front



Allen Gardiner 2006 brochure back






Guinevere

The Ministry of Defence ran a number of ferries from Orford Quay to Orfordness, which in later years included the Portree of Caledonian SP Co. When the military pulled out, Orfordness was handed to the National Trust in 1993 for protection. They maintain a small passenger ferry Octavia to take visitors across the River Ore. The National Trust ferry runs through the summer months only (Saturday's only in October). Some MOD buildings passed to the BBC for use by the BBC World Service. They have maintained a landing craft to transport vehicles across, although no public vehicles are carried. In 2006 this landing craft is named Guinevere, and is very similar (but not identical) to AWRE-No3 shown below.


MOD ferry AWRE-No3 - ex-landing craft.



BBC ex-landing craft Guinevere
These images were taken in near darkness at 3:30pm with very slow shutter speeds, and show the value of anti-shake digital cameras!
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



BBC ex-landing craft Guinevere
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



BBC ex-landing craft Guinevere
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



BBC ex-landing craft Guinevere
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



BBC ex-landing craft Guinevere
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 27th December 2006



BBC ex-landing craft Guinevere
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
GUINEVERE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



BBC ex-landing craft Guinevere
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
GUINEVERE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



BBC ex-landing craft Guinevere
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
GUINEVERE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



BBC ex-landing craft Guinevere
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
GUINEVERE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011






Butley Ferry
 
The ferry over the Butley River links Orford and Boyton for walkers and cyclists. This is on the alternative link of the Suffolk Coastal Cycle Route saving a 4 mile detour through Chillesford. The ferry operates from April to September - Please phone to arrange time as this ferry must be booked in advance. I have no images yet of the Butley Ferry.
 
Contact:-
Butley Ferry
Butley Pottery
Mill Lane
Butley
Suffolk
IP12 3PA
Great Britain
 
Tel: +44 (0)1394 450843 -or- +44 (0)7913 672499






Octavia
(Orfordness Ferry - National Trust)
 
The Ministry of Defence ran a number of ferries from Orford Quay to, which in later years included the Portree of Caledonian SP Co. When the military pulled out, Orfordness was handed to the National Trust in 1993 for protection. They maintain a small passenger ferry Octavia to take visitors across the River Ore. The National Trust ferry runs through the summer months only (Saturday's only in October). Octavia is named after one of the founders of the National Trust.


Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



National Trust ferry Octavia
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
OCTAVIA - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



National Trust ferry Octavia
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
OCTAVIA - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



National Trust ferry Octavia
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
OCTAVIA - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



National Trust ferry Octavia
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
OCTAVIA - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



National Trust ferry Octavia
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
OCTAVIA - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011






Regardless
 
Regardless runs short cruises from Orford Quay around the RSPB bird sanctuary of Havergate Island, plus fishing and bird watching charters. She began operating from Orford for Peter Weir in 1992.
 
 
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006
 
 
 
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006
 
 
 
Regardless 2006 activity brochure front
The web address shown no longer works
 
 
 
Regardless 2006 activity brochure back
The web address shown no longer works






Orford Quay


Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006






Orford Village


Orford village with the castle and church, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



The 90 ft high keep of Henry II's 12th Century Castle.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



The 90 ft high keep of Henry II's 12th Century Castle.
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006






Orfordness
 
The isolated Orfordness has been used by the military from 1913, when a large part of the Ness was taken over by the War Department. It was drained to form airfields for the Central Flying School’s Experimental Flying Section; and so began an intense seventy year period of military activity. Experiments during the First World War included those on parachutes, aerial photography, bomb and machine gun sights, the evaluation of aircraft and the development of camouflage. During the Second World War experimental work concentrated on bomb ballistics and firing trials. In the Cold War, tests relating to atomic weapons were undertaken in strange-looking 'pagodas' which still remain.


Sinister-looking 'pagodas' used for atomic weapons research
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



'Pagoda' used for atomic weapons research
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



'Pagoda' used for atomic weapons research
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Atomic research bunker at Orfordness, with Orford Church, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Atomic research bunker at Orfordness, with Orford Church, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Atomic research bunker at Orfordness, with Orford Castle, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Atomic research bunker at Orfordness, with Orford Church, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Atomic research bunker at Orfordness, with Orford Church, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Atomic research bunker at Orfordness, with Orford Church, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Atomic research bunker at Orfordness, with Orford Church, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



'Black Beacon' and police watchtower at Orfordness, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Orfordness warning not to leave the paths due to 'unexploded ordnance'
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness AWRE test cells ('Pagodas')
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness AWRE test cells ('Pagodas')
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness AWRE test cells ('Pagodas')
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness AWRE test cells
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness AWRE test cells
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness AWRE test cells
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness AWRE test cells
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness AWRE test cells
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness AWRE test cells
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Inside an Orfordness AWRE test cell
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Inside an Orfordness AWRE test cell
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011






Orfordness High Lighthouse

Orfordness High Lighthouse, built in 1792 by Lord Braybroke, as a private venture along with a Low Light which was destroyed in a storm in 1887 and not replaced. Trinity House took over the lighthouse in 1837. The light was automated in 1965. The black building to the left of the lighthouse is the Black Beacon. This unusual building was constructed in 1928 for the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough, to house an experimental 'rotating loop' navigation beacon. The Air Ministry also funded work on the development of an aircraft location system based on this early innovation. The Racon navigation beacon on its pole atop the lighthouse is a direct descendant of this early innovation. Renovated in 1995, the beacon now provides an elevated viewing area and displays for the visiting public.


Orfordness High Lighthouse and the Black Beacon
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 14th October 2006



Orfordness lighthouse, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Orfordness lighthouse, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Orfordness lighthouse, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007



Orfordness lighthouse, seen from the Balmoral
Photo: © Ian Boyle, 26th June 2007




Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011



Orfordness lighthouse
Photo: Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011
ORFORDNESS LIGHTHOUSE - www.simplonpc.co.uk - Photo:  Ian Boyle, 25th June 2011






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