Saturday, 19 March 2011

My  Landmark  of the  Week
Martello Tower

This is the largest and most northerly of the chain of towers put up by the Board of Ordnance to keep out Napoleon. Built in the shape of a quatrefoil for four heavy guns, nearly a million bricks were used in its construction. It stands at the root of the Orford Ness peninsula, between the River Alde and the sea, a few hundred yards from Aldeburgh. We bought it, sadly damaged, in 1971, with eight acres of saltings. We removed the derelict 1930s superstructure (once rather elegant, by Justin Vulliamy), repaired the outer brickwork and parapet (a tremendous job) and restored the vaulted interior, which has a floor of teak and an intriguing echo. The bedrooms are screened from the central living area but not fully divided, so that, lying in bed, you can still have a sense of being in a larger loftier space – and you can enjoy some conversation with your fellow guests.

Martello Towers were built to deter the French, not the elements, and inevitably, in this exposed position, some of the water finds its way inside. Purpose-made canopies over the main living space now provide significant protection, giving an agreeable nautical resonance of sails and campaign tents. Here you may live with the sea, the wind and rain sometimes, the light at Orford Ness flashing at night, and Aldeburgh at just the right distance.

The stone-flagged battery on the roof, with the mountings of guns and a high, thick parapet for shelter, is a very pleasant place to be. Amber and bloodstones, brought by glaciers from Scandinavia, have been found on the beach.

Many visitors bring sailing dinghies.

The ultimate beach hut! 
This really has to be seen to be believed!

Sleeps: 4
Beds: 2T 

  • Solid fuel stove
  • Roof terrace
  • Parking nearby
  • Shower only
  • Dogs allowed

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