Saturday, 30 July 2011

WOODBRIDGE

Continuing along the coast from Felixstowe, we come to the mouth of the River Deben, which, if we follow its west bank takes us past the little sailing village of Waldringfield, finally ending up at Woodbridge. The waterfront of this decorative Suffolk town is dominated by the brilliant white clapboard exterior of the Tide Mill. The mill in its present form dates from 1793, although the existence of a mill here was recorded as early as the 12th century, making it one of the oldest tide mills in the country. It last operated as a working mill in 1957, but has since been restored and opened to the public. Visitors can learn all about how the mill operated, and should try to be there for low tide, which is when it is possible to see the machinery in action. The town centre has an inviting selection of shops including antiques shops and a variety of independent stores as well as an assortment of pubs, cafes and restaurants. Woodbridge’s most famous son was the writer Edward Fitzgerald, who was born in Bredfield House, just to the north of the town.

Looking across the Deben from Woodbridge, the eye is drawn to a wooded hill. In 1939, excavations of one of the ‘barrows’, or burial mounds, found at this spot, called Sutton Hoo, unearthed a priceless hoard of treasure: an Anglo-Saxon ship containing the possessions of one of England’s earliest kings, the 7th century King Raedwald of East Anglia. The site, which includes extensive grounds offering lovely views over the River Deben, is now run by the National Trust. Visitors can feast their eyes on displays of the unearthed treasure, which include an exquisitely ornate buckle and a restored helmet believed to have belonged to Raedwald.

For events in Woodbridge see here.

Map of the area.


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