How Fortless

APW_4610_HDRThe shingle spit of Orford Ness runs north to Aldeburgh, the town giving its name to the river rather than the reverse.  Places like Doncaster (The Castle on the Don) and Rotherham (village on the Rother) take their name from the waterway running through them, but Aldeburgh means “Old Fort” so is independent of the River Alde (which as we’ve seen soon becomes the Ore anyway).

The origins of that fort are unclear, as no archeological work can reveal its history.  We know that it was here in Tudor times, for this was a busy port where Sir Francis Drake had ships (including the Golden Hind) built.  A must for a visitor interested in history such as myself you might think, and you’d be right but for one thing.

That shifting coastline once again.

Much of the town has been swept out to sea over the years, and a major flood in the 1950’s finally led to the construction of significant defences against the sea.  APW_4560

The town, like some English Burano is colourful and quaint, but it’s very easy to see that it’s not quite all there.

The Moot Hall, built in 1520, has a commanding position on the seafront, but it should be in the centre of town.  Still it makes a nice backdrop to a game of pétanque or some gentle model boating.APW_4650APW_4601_2_3-Edit

Aldeburgh has plenty of attractions left, but with only limited time available I could only fully do justice to two.  APW_4541Aldeburgh Fish and Chips is supposedly one of the best in the UK (though I suspect the accolade may be self-awarded!) and I wasn’t disappointed, but on a slightly more cultural level I found the shingle spit rewarding as I walked in search of the Scallop, a large sculpture by Maggi Hambling that stands as tribute to Aldeburgh’s most notable former resident;  Benjamin Britten.

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