Photography by Omar Parada

Orford Ness

Last Saturday I spent the day visiting an interesting place. I had heard about it a while ago, just by chance while browsing the National Trust website. Its called Orford Ness, in Suffolk. There is a pretty little village there, with a castle, various pubs and tea rooms. And then, across a short distance, this island that was used during various periods of time as a test base for weapon  and other military gadgets development, some of them as important as the radar which gave England a huge advantage over Germany during the Second World War.

They also built  some intriguing structures, called the pagodas, used for testing atomic weapons. Apparently, not nuclear explosions involved. They did that in Australia. But some vibration tests and launching bombs from planes, was the usual stuff there for quite a lot of time. As I was walking around the place, it came to my mind, in this idyllic and peaceful place, how was felt that some miles away, big explosives were been detonated regularly, German planes destroyed (on floor tests) or atomic weapons (without their nuclear charge, apparently) where shaken for the sake of science (and military advantage, of course). Quite possibly only a few people in the village knew at that time what was really happening.

I found this place completely fascinating. A mix between a desert and a forbidden zone, like the one described in Stalker. Abandoned buildings and structures. Weird landscape. Cloudy weather, as usual. That’s what I need to get out home and try to shoot some pictures. Not all the areas are open to the public.There are colour coded routes. Last Saturday I had to follow the red one. The pagodas are not accessible unless you book a guided tour in advance. One of the labs is open and is a creepy example of a derelict structure taken by nature. Because that is all what remains of this place, once so important and at the same time so mysterious. Now its just a natural reserve, and a place for tourists to spend a Saturday. Here is an old documentary from the BBC, split in some parts. Image quality is not very good, but is interesting nonetheless.

Apparently, there are also UFO sightings. It doesn’t surprise me at all. ๐Ÿ˜›

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