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Sep 2016

wudu (a) wood or timber + brycg Old English bridge.

Population - 7,749.

Suffolk Coat of Arms

This isn't so far from Ipswich so one might expect to see a bit of urban overspill? Let's hope so!

This pair haven been hanging around these rural parts for nearly a week now and as, erm, sophisticated urbanites, are starting to tire of the traditional, the thrills of the big city are being missed!

I want a burger from a van and Mrs Guff wants to top up her tan but there's not much chance of either given the mainly standard fayre along Thoroughfare[1].

Woodbridge - Thoroughfare Woodbridge - Church Street

Turn right at the top, though, and there's one thing that'll never be tired of, a good old hardware shop that's family run, probably.

I love these places, it's thought to be the smell, which is that of grandad's shed, and could easily spend an hour inside although there's often an obligation to buy a small bag of screws or some shoelaces.

Today, it was some shoelaces.

[1] An archaic, Anglian term that refers to a collection of traders often in close proximity that provides easily accessible goods and services to the local townsfolk. Yes, a high street.

There's more of the picture-postcard picturesque at the Town Square on Theatre St and the old Shire Hall is where the Town Council now do all their admin, just like those pen pushers at City Hall.

Woodbridge - Shire Hall Woodbridge - Town Square Pump

An old, stone pump dates from the 1870s but has long since been closed off and serves no useful purpose. That makes it a shameful waste of space, you could get a burger van on there!

The Shire Hall is available at weekends for weddings and bar mitzvahs, which brings to mind something else from the city that's being missed, barmy hipsters!

 
The Galley Restaurant (Market Hill)

Family run 'fine dining' with a Turkish twist. Can't possibly comment personally but advising trippers seem to speak very highly.

 
King's Head (Market Hill)

Pick of the pubs here, probably.

Woodbridge - King's Head

Some outdoor seating at the top of the Town Square and it's one of Adnams™' wouldn't you believe it.

There's an alley off Seckford Street that takes you tantalisingly down to the impressive church. St Mary the Virgin is mainly, late 15th century and a fine example of glistening, flint construction that's fairly common here in Suffolk, apparently.

Woodbridge - To St Mary's Woodbridge - St Mary's Church

They have, however, missed the wire mesh off the windows to stop the glue sniffers getting in.

Unusually, for a town of this size, there's another Church of England here, St John's whose spire dates from... 2002!

Woodbridge - St John's Church

The new wood and steel replaces the crumbling stonework that was no longer supportable and it was all paid for by an anonymous benefactor.

That's something else that's being missed, the Frankie & Benny™'s factor.

 
Elmurst Park

Green, grassy area with some lavs laid on for your convenience. It's between the river and Thoroughfare and it's often up there for some blooming prize or other. From here, there's a view of the distinctive spire of St John's if you've been paying attention.

Even more unusually for a town of this size, there's another Church of England, of sorts here, the Woodbridge Quay Church on, get this, Quay Street. There's a fine bit of sculpting been done outside and the Hands is by accomplished artist  Rick Kirby.

Woodbridge - The Hands

As big and bold bits of public art go, this one is unusually fathomable. 'I Hold And Am Held' fulfils the God and Jesus brief but also nods to the helping and supporting of others, probably.

There's something missing though and that's it, a lack of litter. That and any city centre-style graffiti on those stainless steel palms. Specifically, who was here, when they were here and whoever's what-nots their hands were all over.

At last, there's some city centre style sophistication down at the Riverside Theatre Cinema (and Restaurant).

Woodbridge - Riverside Theatre Cinema (and Restaurant)

Too late today, though, for  Pete's Dragon and the  BFG is pushing it if you're wanting to explore the quay.  Jason Bourne? What is this, 2002?

Turns out, they're all the latest ones so you're not being nearly as clever as you first thought.

Just next door to the train station, the Whistlestop Café but their trademark  Full Englishes will have to be passed on.

Woodbridge - Whistlestop Café

Just don't fancy it today, Can you do some harissa roasted veg with flatbreads and a side of hummus?

Oh, you can?

Carefully crossing the railway line brings you to the River Deben. This thing's tidal, flowing in and out of what's just about still the North Sea near Bawdsey Quay.

Depending on the time of day you'll either be staring at mudflats or nautical types navigating those tides.

Woodbridge - River Deben Woodbridge - Tide Mill Museum

The Tide Mill used to do just that, a late 18th-century example of the exploitation of renewable energy.

It's been fully restored and they'll even flog you some flour once you're inside for a fiver. Those cogs would have been working overdrive in December 2013 when an unusually high tidal surge had this all surrounded by 2 foot of water.

Not today, I mean a former flour mill on a river that's now a major  visitor attraction. Oh!

 
River Deben

The area around the river is part of the designated Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and, as should be known by now, they don't hand them awards out willy-nilly.

There are a couple of riverside routes from the station and you might meet a wader.

Sutton Hoo sits just over the river and is probably Woodbridge's best-known attraction. A 6th to 7th-century Anglo-Saxon burial site of international archaeological[1] interest, no less, and it's run by the  National Trust™.

Now, not exactly harbouring a National Trust™ grudge since Dunwich Heath but...

Not much of what was unearthed in 1939 is actually on display. The helmet that you're sold on your entrance is in the British Museum, which is in London, and all that remains of a timber, burial boat is a couple of markers either end of a mound.

Near Woodbridge - Sutton Hoo

Sutton Hoo? Sutton Hoo-ey[2]!

There might have been a deliberately misleading theme to city dwelling pervading all of this nonsense and yes, we do live in a city, but... we've never been mugged in broad daylight like that!

[1] Also the inspiration for Mackenzie Crook's beautifully-drawn, bucolic, BAFTA-winning, BBC 'sitcom'  detectorists, probably. Although set in Essex, they filmed in nearby Aldham and also in Framlingham, which isn't that far, but what do you mean you've not seen it?
[2] Turns out to be not half bad, actually.