Shingle Street

Following some confusion over the switch from BST to GMT in the small hours, the ministering angel of domestic bliss and I ended up on the Suffolk coast at 7:15 this morning. This meant that we virtually had several miles of coastline all to ourselves, although I imagine that’s pretty much the case when ever you visit Shingle Street, a very very small village on a particular bleak but, to us anyway, alluring stretch of coastline a seventeen mile drive from Ipswich.

As the name suggests there is an awful lot of shingle around and no sand so this is not a place for a family day out by the sea with bucket and spades, only ‘hardy’ ramblers such as us. It’s not shown on our road atlas, and there are no road signs pointing you in the right direction until you are just a few miles away.

The place is steeped in mystery all of which dates from WWII (many pill boxes, tank traps from that era remain along this stretch of coast and there are four Martello Towers from the time of the Napoleonic Wars). It’s is claimed by some that a foiled invasion attempt by German forces took place off the coast here when anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand enemy troops were burnt to death. Supposedly a network of underground pipes, filled with petrol, was detonated as they attempted to come ashore. What is not in question is the fate that befell the local pub, The Lifeboat Inn, which was flattened by scientists testing out experimental weaponry!

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