Holbrook & the Shotley Peninsula

The village of Holbrook lies at the heart of an attractive peninsula formed by the rivers Orwell and Stour, in the south-east corner of Suffolk. Shotley lies at the tip of the peninsula. Further up the Orwell is the county town of Ipswich. Further up the Stour is Manningtree and the border with Essex. From the Shotley shore-front you can watch containers unloading at Felixstowe Dock to the North and ferries picking up passengers at Harwich to the South.

Holbrook and Shotley are the two biggest villages on the peninsula. Both are home to about two and half thousand people. Midway between the two is Chelmondiston, where just over a thousand people live. Stutton and Tattingstone are the next biggest villages. Then come Harkstead, Erwarton, Woolverstone, Wherstead and Bentley. A little further away lie East Bergholt and Brantham.

There are primary schools in Holbrook, Chelmondiston, Shotley, Tattingstone and Stutton. Children from these schools tend to form the majority of the Year 7 intake at Holbrook Academy but the school has long drawn from a wider area, with children coming from as many as twenty different schools each year.

The maritime connections and good transport links with London have made the area more socially diverse than rural Suffolk. The ports of Ipswich and Felixstowe and associated transport companies provide much employment. The BT research labs at Martlesham laid foundations for numerous IT businesses. Many insurance companies moved parts of their operations from London to Ipswich. The Tourism and Energy sectors are now growing fast.

The villages of the Shotley Peninsula offered easy access to those jobs plus a rural setting. As local families grew and people moved to the area looking for a view of open fields, the villages expanded and, with them, the schools.

Holbrook High School (now Holbrook Academy), with its village setting, expansive grounds and good reputation, drew children from miles around. New classrooms and a sports centre were built to meet the demand. The Peninsula Sports Centre attracts people from all parts of the community. Sunday morning soccer is popular, as is the tennis club. On a warm summer’s evening, a concert can draw what feels like almost everyone on the Peninsula.