Sunday, 13 May 2012

Favourite Places: Pin Mill, Suffolk

Why "Pin" Mill? I don't know. It's on the coast, on the Orwell estuary, just outside the large village of Chelmondiston. You can approach it by a narrow road, but I approach by foot through dense woodland along a ridge overlooking the estuary. As you descend you come to a series of houseboats, all with names, many with postboxes and with wooden walkways out to the boat, with plants in pots and other decorations plus various junk. Some are quite neat and others very dilapidated, plus the occasional rotting ruin.

Beyond the houseboats the path suddenly comes out to a small bay and to a concrete surface sometimes under shallow water, but usually merely damp. To the right are moored yachts, motor-boats and rowing-boats. To the left is a large pub against whose solid walls high tides lap - "The Butt and Oyster", which must amuse visiting Americans. It's an Adnams' pub which means decent real ale.

Beyond that, a road and a shambles of interesting buildings, workshops and the like, then a few brick houses, a marina office and more woodland. People come to the pub to eat or socialise and drink and the place attracts some day-trippers, maybe a few genuine tourists and of course people off the boats, but a proportion of the people walking around or driving vehicles very short distances are roughly dressed, long-haired, weatherbeaten men. I know few places quirkier or beter to rest on a long walk.


  1. I have a soft spot for Pin Mill, too. As yet, I can't put my finger on why. I have always arrived there by walking down from the main road in Chelmondiston.

    1. Thanks, jmk. Sorry - I was on holiday and didn't spot this comment on my reply.

      Your route to Pin Mill is much the shortest! I like to approach it along the estuary because I'm a walker and birdwatcher: there's good habitat up river and more particularly downriver.

      I like it particularly because of the houseboats - so full of quirky individuality, so much time and love clearly devoted to them but at the same time with a total disregard for conventional judgement or appearances. The location of the pub is brilliant too if, like me, you're beer, sea and river oriented.