Written by Books

Ness by Robert McFarlane and Stanley Donwood

Orford Ness, on the Suffolk coast is a remarkable place. I first visited it as a child when we were spent a week of our summer holidays in Walberswick further up the coast. Since then I’ve visited a few times, always heading to the remote village of Orford and then getting the National Trust run boat across to the “Ness” itself. There you can explore the nature reserve and see the remnants from a time of nuclear development that litter the landscape.

A couple of years ago, I got to visit for a special photographic tour. We were taken into places that are normally off the tourist track, and I spent several hours lugging a tripod around trying to capture some of the remarkable buildings you find there.

Ness is a meditative piece that combines prose and illustration, imagining what might have been. It captures the spirit of the place – somewhere that remains somehow other-worldly. I was left enchanted.

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