Facilities & access

General

  • Orford Ness is an exposed stretch of coast with dangerous military debris still present. Please keep to the waymarked tracks and obey signs. Anyone straying from the visitor routes is in danger from unexploded material and could permamently damage the habitats. For safety the derelict Atomic weapons research establishment (AWRE) site, including the 'pagodas', is strictly out of bounds except on guided tours
  • You can learn more about the Ness's fascinating history and rare and fragile wildlife on a guided tour (please see events listings)
  • Please remember to bring your own food and drink for a picnic on the reserve - there are no shops on the 'island' but you can pick up supplies in the village shop
  • Wrap up warm and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather
  • Orford Ness is a nature reserve with fragile habitats so bikes and dogs aren't allowed (assistance dogs are welcome)
  • Parking is in Quay Street, 150 yards. Pay & display car park is not National Trust - charge includes members. Follow the signs through Orford village
  • Toilets are available at the Quay Street car park and on site opposite the wardens office - an adapted toilet is available (please see Access)
  • On your way home pick up fresh locally caught fish from the quay and take home a flavour of the coast from local smokeshouses

Family & children

  • Kids can become a spy for the day with our children's quiz trail
  • Discover our surprising history and fascinating wildlife together, but play safe - stay on the trail and don't pick up anything unusual
  • Pushchairs and baby back-carriers can be taken onto the Ness, but access involves a boat crossing
  • All pushchairs etc. must be suitable for lifting on to a boat and up and down steep steps and not pose a safety risk
  • We're sorry but due to the fragile habitats on the Ness we can't allow children's bikes
  • Reward yourselves after your walk with a reviving bite in the local caf├ęs, tearoom and pubs

Access

  • Access to the site is difficult and potentially dangerous and only suitable for visitors with adequate mobility. Embarking and disembarking from the ferry involves negotiating steep and slippery steps (height influenced by tides). There are no hills or long climbs but the visitor routes are long (the shortest 5.5 miles in total length). A trailer bus operates the first Saturday of July, August and September (booking essential)
  • Mobility parking - drop-off on Orford Quay and return car to Quay Street car park (150 yards)
  • Adapted toilets are available at the Warden's office when on duty. Please call in advance to check
  • Accessible route available (Red Route avoiding lighthouse path & beach) - some buildings not accessible (please see below)
  • Pathways - most roads and tracks are mainly concrete and tarmac surfaced, however others are rough and uneven but hard surfaced. To complete the entire route involves traversing some soft shingle areas (this can mostly be avoided - see accessible route above)
  • Buildings - most buildings have door thresholds and some have shallow steps or floor height changes and narrow doorways. Two have significant steps to first floor level and above
  • Assistance dogs welcome - to protect the fragile habitats other dogs are not permitted

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