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Thorpeness Sign

Sep 2019+

Þorp secondary settlement + nes Old Norse headland.

Population - 745.

Thorpeness Sign

Thoroughly pleasant and popular is Thorpeness so it's no surprise to find there's a payment required to park. That's just off the narrow road up from Aldeburgh making for a coast-hugging afternoon in mid-Suffolk.

Thorpeness Beach and Car Park

There's a free, on-road option along with the other skinflints but can you remember the last time you tried to reverse into a gap that's too small? Besides, it's nice to naïvely think you're contributing towards the upkeep of something or other, possibly.

That buys some time, though, half of which will confirm that nothing is ever as it seems with the other half spent diverting around a 'Meare'. A meare? A meare? It's a 3-foot-deep boating lake man!

 
The Kitchen @ Thorpeness (Barn Hall)

Resembles a restaurant but mainly keeps café hours with some accommodation available and an emporium attached at the back. That's handy should it be raining out where they do a good line in second-hand  Beano™ annuals and vintage clothing meaning it smells ever-so-slightly of dead men's coats.

Don't be fooled by all the Tudor, this was mostly built in the 1920s by an indulgent Scot as a private, 'fantasy' holiday village. If that all sounds a bit 'swingery', Glencairn Stuart Ogilvie was fairly well-heeled but rarely well-oiled.

Thorpeness - The Haven

His abstemious nature was reflected in the resort so that sounds like a great weekend, eh?

Boating abounds on the man-made  meare and since J.M. Barrie, no less, was a personal friend of old Ogilvie, the various islands and channels are Peter Pan themed. That'll be £16 to row to Wendy's House and back in under an hour, then.

Thorpeness Meare Thorpeness - The House in the Clouds

You're bound to do a double-take at the wood-clad water tower and the 'House in the Clouds' is the staple pic on many a local postcard. It was actually somewhat puritanically clad by Ogilvie to disguise the fact that flushing lavs were the main reason for its standing.

The seductively-named street 'The Haven' bends round past the meare and up to the old almshouses. They were originally built to house the resort's workers, some of whom would have been employed to cut the daisies.

Thorpeness - Almshouses

Now it's home to those without much in the way of life savings and soon to be pushing them up.

A glimpse of something similar has just been passed so it's back down to Westgate for a closer look at West Bar. Not as old, nor as holy, as it looks, the imitation gatehouse once housed another water tower atop the holiday lets.

Thorpeness - West Bar

A chance to house yourselves has just been missed and it recently sold for something just south of a million guinea pounds. Crippling death duties in the 1970s forced the Ogilvies to sell off most of the village, you see, although they still have a hand, or is that an oar, in the running of the meare and the annual regatta.

 
Dolphin Inn (Dolphin Close)

Mid-budget  pub, restaurant and lodgings with a big old beer garden so not quite what Ogilvie originally imagined, probably. Following a, taps nose, fire in 1996, the sympathetic rebuild still had some conservationists kicking up a stink.

Thorpeness - Dolphin Inn

As did, back at the car park, your only other option for a bite here, where the purpose-built emporium, still not shown, replaced some not-so-old barn or other.

If the regeneration is targetted solely at Thorpeness' fleshpots, it's not thought the campaigners are overly active.

Ogilvie's family pad was just a mile-and-a-half north at Sizewell Hall with no real size to the old fishing village of Sizewell itself. It's a pleasant enough spot, though, and the dunescape's a distraction from the all-too-familiar shingle.

Near Thorpeness - Sizewell Beach Near Thorpeness - Sizewell A and B

If Sizewell sounds familiar, that's because you've either attended Sizewell Hall's current function as a Christian Conference Centre or you're already aware of the two power stations that are, get this, nuclear, yoinks!

There are tentative plans for a  Sizewell C but, since it looks to be lights out by 9 PM, the extra output isn't necessarily required down in Thorpeness.

Meanwhile, back in Thorpeness, it's under West Bar to 'The Sanctuary', an area of relaxation and leisure although the pampas isn't thought to indicate that kind of 'play'.

Thorpeness - 'The Sanctuary'

No, mixed doubles is very much restricted to the rarely-seen, grass tennis courts, not shown, that still require regular daisy cutting.

They belong to the  Thorpeness Country Club, also a fancy wedding venue so now serving two types of loved-up punter. Originally opened in 1912 as the  Kursaal, this was the social hub of Ogilvie's vision although the name would fall out of fashion in a couple of years time.

Thorpeness Country Club Thorpeness - The Sanctuary

Not so the resort, though, Suffolk's Portmeirion is one of the county's best-kept secrets with the meare the main attraction and just about everything you can see available to rent.

Church Road leads up with some of the shingle beach accessible only by country clubbers, however it is they manage that. The colourful block of your more traditional dwellings is further evidence of the workforce, probably, and it's around here that things turn unexpectedly, but pleasingly, ramshackle.

Thorpeness - Admirals Walk Thorpeness - Old Homes Road Thorpeness - (Near) The Common

That's Thorpeness seemingly done, then, but there's still some time to wander with access to the heathland of Thorpeness Common through a tree-lined wormhole.

This loops round to meet a road at the entrance to the golf course[1] from where it was assumed there would be a way to snuck in by the back of the meare.

There wasn't and there isn't with the only highlight some overgrown evidence of the single-platform train station, not shown, used to transport in the toffs in the '20s.

Only these were people of means, mainly, making their way here under their own steam so the line was little used and inevitably chopped by so-called 'Dr'  Beeching in the '60s.

You could return by the road or head south with the RSPB™ North Warren Nature Reserve on your left. It's  mostly marshy with  bitterns available, when in season, although you can't cut across quite as soon as you'd like to eventually meet the road up from Aldeburgh.

This diversion is a little lengthier than expected and in the same time you could have rowed to the golf course and back.

Hole in one? There's not thought to be but, if there is, there's not too much to worry about... it is only 3 foot deep, remember?