About Orford Ness Nature Reserve and Cold War Pagodas
Orford Ness is a shingle spit on the Suffolk coast. The area has witnessed its fair share of history as a Napoleonic war defensive front, World War military experimentation site and Cold War atomic bomb research establishment. Today, it is also known for its internationally significant nature reserve.
History of Orford Ness Nature Reserve and Cold War Pagodas
A large section of Orford Ness was purchased by the War Department in 1913, with the whole of the site acquired soon after. It was used as a closely-guarded military testing site. Top secret experiments were conducted across both World Wars and into the nuclear age.
Some of the most interesting remnants are two test labs – the so-called ‘Pagodas’ – which are well known coastal landmarks. The exact work still remains a secret, though more information may be made available over the coming years.
The site is also an internationally important location for nature conservation, since it contains a significant portion of the European reserve of vegetated shingle habitat.
Orford Ness Nature Reserve and Cold War Pagodas today
The atomic weapons establishment ceased work on the site in 1971. Today, the area is one of the most architecturally dramatic experimental war sites in Britain – or, indeed, the world – and is the only one in the country which allows public access thus far.
The public can enter the pagodas, which are located amongst the similarly enjoyable natural landscape which also makes the site so famous.
Getting to Orford Ness Nature Reserve and Cold War Pagodas
The closest city is Cambridge. It’s around a two hour drive from the city centre. Alternatively, take a train to Wickham Market, then take a 20 minute bus or car to the site.