Ded­ham Flat­ford & East Bergholt

Strad­dling the border of Es­sex and Suf­folk, th­ese vil­lages are at the heart of Con­sta­ble coun­try



It was here that Bri­tain’s best known land­scape artist, John Con­sta­ble, went to school. The high street is lined with Ge­or­gian­fronted houses, old inns and a large art and crafts cen­tre housed in a con­verted church, signs of Ded­ham’s for­mer wealth cre­ated from the me­dieval cloth in­dus­try.

Ded­ham is fre­quently rated as con­tain­ing some of Eng­land’s most beau­ti­ful low­land land­scapes, par­tic­u­larly the Wa­ter Mead­ows of the River Stour, north of the vil­lage, form­ing the bound­ary be­tween the Suf­folk and Es­sex. Eques­trian artist Sir Al­fred Mun­nings, who be­came pres­i­dent of the Royal Academy, also lived in Ded­ham and his house, Cas­tle House, now con­tains a gallery of his work, and his stu­dio.

Ded­ham Vale, has a charis­matic charm. It’s lit­tle won­der it has inspired artists for so long. With largely un­spoilt English coun­try­side, Ded­ham Vale and the Stour Val­ley are an Area of Out­stand­ing Nat­u­ral Beauty (AONB).

There is no short­age of things to do from hir­ing a boat along the river, walk­ing the Stour Val­ley Path, to sim­ply re­lax­ing and en­joy­ing the scenery at won­der­ful restau­rants and pubs. Visit the Mun­nings Art Mu­seum, ex­plore the ex­hi­bi­tions at the Ded­ham Art & Craft Cen­tre, and see Ded­ham church, an im­pres­sive 15th cen­tury church stand­ing tall in the mid­dle of the vil­lage


There’s a tree-mile cir­cu­lar walk be­tween Ded­ham and Flat­ford, and you can also walk to the nearby vil­lages of Man­ningtree, East Bergholt and Strat­ford St Mary.

Find out more about Ded­ham walks. www.vis­it­colch­


Flat­ford and the land­scape of the Stour Val­ley dom­i­nated Con­sta­ble’s paint­ings from the early 1800s. A year be­fore his birth the Con­sta­ble fam­ily moved from a house next door to the mill to a man­sion in East Bergholt. John Con­sta­ble spent most of his school life at Ded­ham Gram­mar School, walk­ing across the fields each day from his home in East Bergholt.

Af­ter he left school Con­sta­ble went to work at his fa­ther’s wind­mill in East Bergholt and in his spare time he used to sketch the land­scapes.

You can visit a new ex­hi­bi­tion to find out the full story and at the same time take in the scenes that Con­sta­ble painted. Dis­cover Flat­ford Mill, now a Field Stud­ies Cen­tre where you can stand and ad­mire the same scene of The Hay­wain that John Con­sta­ble painted. Nearby Bridge Cot­tage is owned by the Na­tional Trust and a great place to stop for some light re­fresh­ments and take in the views of Con­sta­ble Coun­try, as well as en­joy the RSPB’s wildlife gar­den.

For lots more ideas about what to do in Con­sta­ble Coun­try visit www. na­tion­al­­ford


Boathouse Restau­rant is a stylish water­side spot with mod­ern menus. www.ded­ham­

The Sun Inn has been a wa­ter­ing hole for vil­lagers and rest­ing post for trav­ellers for cen­turies. An ideal spot for a pint of craft beer, a meal us­ing fine East Anglian pro­duce and a good night’s sleep.

Le Tal­booth, es­tab­lished in 1952, serves el­e­gant Bri­tish food in a great lo­ca­tion be­side the River Stour.­somho­­booth

The Kings Head, East Bergholt, is a stylish, con­tem­po­rary pub just a short walk from Flat­ford Mill. Great food, a full and var­ied wine list, draft ales, beers and ciders.

Hare and Hounds, East Bergholt, is a tra­di­tional pub serv­ing tra­di­tional food.

Car­ri­ers Arms, East Bergholt, fam­ily run pub with a restau­rant and beer gar­den. www. the­car­ri­er­

The Red Lion, East Bergholt, another tra­di­tional pub and lovely place to end a walk in this area witha drink and great food.

Lovely Ded­ham. Photo: Barry Pullen

The river at Ded­ham. Photo: Barry Pullen

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