Natural England - Orfordness-Havergate NNR

Orfordness-Havergate NNR

Although most NNRs are managed by Natural England, 88 are wholly or partly managed by other bodies approved by Council, under Section 35 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Orfordness-Havergate NNR

County: Suffolk

Main habitats: Coastal

Area: 909.1 Ha

The Orfordness reserve is managed by the National Trustexternal link and Havergate Island by the RSPBexternal link.

The Orfordness-Havergate NNR lies just south of Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast. The site is a large shingle spit separated from the mainland by the River Alde.

The spit was formed by the deposition of shingle deposits though wave action and longshore drift. This is an on-going process, meaning the spit is growing, and the site is of great value to coastal defence research.

The site supports large lichen and moss communities. Many plant species that are nationally rare are found here in abundance.

The shingle supports a number of rare and scarce invertebrates - particularly beetles and spiders - and the site is also an important breeding place for many bird species including terns and avocets.

Location and access

The nearest train station is in Woodbridgeexternal link, 15 km to the west.

By car, Orford is accessed via the B1078 and B1084. There are parking facilites in Orford Quay.

Access to both Orfordness and Havergate Island is via a ferry from Orford Quay.

The reserve is near the route of a major trail, the Suffolk Coast and Heaths Pathexternal link, and Orford is on Route 1external link (Suffolk Coastal Path Route) of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.

The site is normally closed during the winter but the National Trust will allow access to large (12+) pre-booked groups in this period. Visitors to Havergate Island must pre-book with the RSPB by telephoning 01728 648281.

Visitors to Orfordness should contact the National Trust for opening times by telephoning 01394 450057.

Admission charges apply to both sites.


Toilet facilities and refreshments are available in Orford Quay.

There are bird-watching hides, toilet facilities and a picnic area on Havergate Island.

Orfordness has many facilities including an education centre and disabled toilets. A trail guide and family guide are available and there is also a children’s trail/quiz. Normally there is limited disabled access but there are special access days for disabled visitors. Contact the National Trust for details (01394 450057).