What we did
It’s practically compulsory to walk the couple of miles from Dedham through the water meadows to Flatford Mill, now owned by the National Trust ( yes, there’s a tea room) and featured in Constable’s 1816 painting. Nearby is Willy Lott’s cottage and the river looking much the same as they do in ‘The Haywain’, the famous bucolic rural scene painted in 1821 of a farmhand cooling off his horse in the Stour here. There’s an exhibition about his life and work near the mill. It was fun to hire a rowing boat (from March till the end of October) from the boathouse at Dedham and head downstream. The slow current means it was an easy row and there’s something timeless about the slap of wood on water, pollarded willows standing sentinel on the banks and the flatlands beyond.