The unsettling desolation of Britain Area 51
One of the natural environments in Britain with the most protection today is Orford Ness. But for many years, it served as the covert nerve centre for top-secret military research.
O Orford Ness is the British equivalent of Area 51. Even though it is now abandoned, much of its territory is too dangerous to walk on, and some of its research is still classified, its past still has an impact on the present and future of the nation.
Located on a spit of land about 100 miles (160 km) north-east of London on the Suffolk coast, Orford Ness was once a top-secret location. But it seems much farther away because of the winding country roads that carry you there. After a lengthy vehicle ride, I arrive and find it difficult to take my eyes off the triangular rooftops.
which divides the laboratory from the mainland, for more than a century. Now that it’s my turn, I follow the roughly 150 other ticket holders past the memorial stone honouring the men and women who crossed the river to “service their country
I go on and come find the Orford Ness exhibition Island of Secrets in the old officers’ mess from World War 1.
There are legends of a failed German invasion and even an infamous UFO “encounter” in the adjacent Rendlesham
William Walters, a professor of politics and state secrecy researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, claims that there has always been something enigmatic about this shore.
It is simple to forget that this area was a hub of activity for a large portion of the 20th Century while you are out here, lost in the landscape of your imagination.
The Orford Ness is an ancient setting. Along the Suffolk coast