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Posts Tagged ‘Aldeburgh’

Just returned from 3 days based in Thorpeness in glorious sunshine, walking and lazing on an empty stretch of the beach, plus a visit to Raveningham Sculpture Trail. We fitted in 3 early morning walks before it got too hot and before anyone was around. One walk was around the village, with its interesting history, written about in a previous post. A second one was doing a previous walk in reverse, to Sizewell and back, written about in the same post. The final walk was to Aldeburgh and back, written about in this post in the reverse direction. There are other posts too about these quintessenailly English seaside towns with Southwold just up the road and Dunwich. We stayed on for an extra day as we were enjoying it so much and it was much cooler than London. What was lovely on this trip was to see the early morning and evening light as we usually day trip to the area and miss out on it.

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The morning after Afterness at Orford Ness, first time we’ve stayed overnight in Aldeburgh, we headed off for a circular walk to Thorpeness. There was a dramatically grey, threatening sky as we walked up the beach which offset The Shell, the tribute to the composer Benjamin Britten by Maggi Hambling. We walked a small stretch of the beach we’ve never covered before as we usually come in from Sizewell above the beach and got to see the colourful houses and a creation on the beach; no idea how it got there. Headed off into the village for coffee and a view of the pond and the House in the Clouds and the windmill and then back to town to head off to the Raveningham Sculpture Park. Got there and back with only a brief shower whilst drinking coffee; very lucky!

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Raveningham Sculpture Trail was new to us and we headed there, day after Orford Ness, after a dry but threatening sky for our Aldeburgh short walk to Thorpeness and back in the morning. It is a lovely place with a fantastic cafe where we had lunch with a few second hand shops around it. The annual trail with over 60 contemporary artworks, set within meadows and woods with the grounds of a farm, is on the border of Norfolk and Suffolk, near Beccles/Bungay/Diss, all worth a visit – we hired a boat for a day in Beccles earlier this summer which was lovely. There is also a pop-up gallery and shop to buy artworks and all the sculptures are for sale. We spoke to Sarah Cannell, the curator, at the end and she explained that the artists choose their spots and she works with them to keep it organic and unmanicured. We loved the setting. Earlier in the year they hold a Woodland Lumiere in the evenings.

I had some favourites: HugMe by Helen Breach; Nicola Gibson’s 3D scenes within lanterns hung in the trees, Lorraine Crowe and Dawny Christian’s sculpture of women coming together during the pandemic; Mike Challis’ NightWire tunnel of sounds; Nick Ball’s VHS SHED made out of old VHS tapes and Meryem Siemmond’s shirt and hat made out of slate, Threat to Existence 1, on a chair near the indoor galleries. We brought home one of Ian Vance’s clay sculptures for the garden and I was tempted by Sara Edwards’ Safe as Houses, fairytale scenes made out of painted stones. This is one that we will add to our annual sculpture trail visits. And where else would get a quote from David Bowie? And fields of sunflowers on the way home.

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We started in Aldeburgh to visit Elizabeth Garrett Anderson’s family grave in the grounds of St Peter and St Paul churchyard. I touched upon her story briefly in a post about women statues and her sister Millicent Fawcett commemerated in Parliament Square. Garrett Anderson was an amazing woman and deserves more recognition for her achievements.

A return to one of our favourite walks, Sizewell to Thorpeness and back, up the beach to the pond and back down the higher beach path. It was a beautiful day with blue skies to the left and dark grey clouds to the right and we set off from the power station car park up the long shingle beach and into Thorpeness. The rowing boats were all lined up, looking newly painted, ready for the summer and ducks waddling past with their chicks. Then we spotted the Peter Pan crocodile on the island, with the House in the Clouds in the background, and we’d missed it on previous trips. Story of why Peter Pan feature in Thorpeness and the House in this previous blog. Back up the higher path behind the beach to Sizewell past the beautiful yellow gorse.

The rain threatened so rather than walk from Snape Maltings to the ancient St Botolph’s Church in Iken, we drove there. It was so peaceful with the thatched church sitting at the end of a country lane in Iken overlooking the River Alde where it is said St Botolph came ashore in AD 654 and founded his monastery. Sadly, we then turned for home, but it had been a great day back out in the world beyond London.

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