A visitors guide to the Suffolk Village of
Pin Mill located on the River Orwell. There are probably few places where
you can order your drinks from a bar without stepping onto dry land, yet
during high spring tides on the River Orwell at the quaint village of Pin
Mill this is entirely possible. With yachtsmen being served from the
windows of the local pub whilst still aboard their boats. The
picturesque Butt and Oyster Inn, which is lapped each day by the waters of
the River Orwell was first granted a licence during the 16th
century. Rumours abound about its connections with smugglers in days
gone past and another claim to fame is the fact that the BBC TV series
Lovejoy also did some filming here. The Butt is another name for the
Fluke, a flat fish.
The area around Pin Mill flourishes with houseboats with many of them
having been made from converted Thames barges. Pin Mill is set in an area
of outstanding natural beauty, designated a conservation area it
attracts artists and birdwatchers. There are many good walks around
here with some that actually follow the river. The National Trust
manage some eighty acres of woodland around Pin Mill.
Cargo from sea going ships would be offloaded onto barges at Pin Mill to
undertake the rest of the journey to Ipswich down the River Orwell. You
can still see large container vessels making their way upstream to the
docks at Ipswich, past the wading birds such as Snipe, Redshank and
Lapwing. In July each year at Buttermans Bay the Pin Mill Barge Match
takes place involving salvaged barges, a very popular event.
Pin Mill is accessed by a narrow road off the B1456 at Chelmondiston
as parts of this road are single track it can become a bit congested
during the main holiday seasons.
The children's author Arthur Ransome (famous for his Swallows and Amazons
publications) used to live in the village keeping his boat the Nancy
Blackett moored on the river here. He wrote his much loved book "We
didn't mean to go to sea" based on Pin Mill and the River Orwell. In
1937 Arthur Ransome commissioned a larger galley which was built by the
boatyard at Pin Mill, this yacht he named the Selina King. His yacht the
Nancy Blackett was found and restored and sails the Orwell River in the
care of the Nancy Blackett Trust, which preserves and maintains her and
shows her at maritime festivals.
The nearby village of Chelmondiston has everything you need for basic
holiday supplies with post office and general stores. Further a field is
Ipswich with all its attractions and shops.
On a slightly darker note the last recorded outbreak of bubonic plague was
recorded at Pin Mill.