Keen to get a new year of motorhoming underway, we arrived at Raydon Hall in Orford, Suffolk on New Years day. Raydon Hall is a working farm and certified location for the Caravan and Motorhome club. It offers five dog friendly pitches on a small field opposite the farmhouse.
Raydon Hall was easy to find with club signs pointing you towards the farm from the main road. With the farmhouse on the left, turn right into the field rather than drive in to the farmyard. The field is bordered by hedgerows and trees and at the far end a fence divides campers from grazing sheep. A few fields away is the River Alde and further on Orford Ness nature reserve separates the river from open sea.
Our visit was following a fairly wet spell but the ground never held water and looked to be firm across the whole field. Each pitch has electric hook up and fresh water and waste disposal is situated by the field entrance. There is also a toilet for the use of campers within the farmyard. Our nights stay inclusive of electric cost £12.
Orford Ness Nature Reserve
The reason for us choosing this location was to visit the nature reserve at Orford Ness. The reserve is a spit bank between the River Alde and the sea, it is reached by a small ferry boat. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the ferry stops running and the reserve closes at the end of October.
Orford Ness Ferry
For anyone planning a visit this year; the reserve is open on Saturdays only between 15th April – 24th June. From the 27th June through to 30th September it opens Tuesdays and Saturdays. From the 7th through to the 28th of October it’s open Saturdays only. Access is by National Trust ferry from Orford Quay. Tickets are limited and sold on the day only, so arrive early to avoid disappointment. For the latest info see here.
The Aldeburgh Alternative
If you do make a slip up like us, there is another way of accessing Orford Ness. We opted for a short drive in the campervan from Raydon Hall through the village Snape to Aldeburgh.
Aldeburgh is a lovely coastal town at the Northern end of the Ness which is included within the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This area is considered an artistic and literary centre with an annual Poetry Festival and several food festivals as well as other cultural events. The beach consistently holds a blue flag award and fresh fish is sold direct from fishermen’s huts on the beach.
You can drive out on to the spit by Aldeburgh yacht club, there’s plenty of parking here. From this point you can walk the length of Orford Ness, passed the Martello Tower and on to the reserve. When we visited, the gate to the reserve was padlocked accompanied by a sign stating the reserve was shut this time of year so not to disturb wildlife. However, there were plenty of people walking the spit. As we had the dog with us we decided to take notice.
Aldeburgh Fish & Chips
There is an array of fine eateries but be sure not to miss the chippy. Aldeburgh Fish and Chips are considered one of the best in the country. We passed dozens of people walking by the sea enjoying them and followed our noses to the shop and joined the long queue. We took our chips back to the campervan and ate them looking over the reserve to one side and the sea on the other with the added benefit of warmth from our diesel heater.