We’ve put together some local walks that we’ve enjoyed ourselves together with pubs that can be part of these walks.constable We also supply an Ordnance Survey (Explorertm 196) map of local walks for guest to make their own plans. Pubs and restaurants local to Kersey that can be reached in between five to ten minutes by car are also shown. The picture to the right is by Suffolk’s Thomas Gainsborough and is titled ‘Mr. And Mrs. Andrews’, dated 1749, that rolling countryside has changed very little within the Stour Valley.

One of Suffolk’s most famous areas, the village of East Berghold, birthplace of John Constable can be reached within twenty minutes by car. East Bergholt’s church has the only bell cage within the UK that is housed in a church yard at ground level. Yet it is only a few minute’s walk from the church that you’ll reach his father’s mill that gave birth to one of the most famous landscape paintings in English history.

John Constable’s painting of Flatford Mill, known as the Haywain(bottom right), is one of his most celebrated works and was painted when his father’s beautiful mill was a hive of activity. River Barges were built alongside the mill –what an idyllic place for a young boy to grow up in.

This immediate area of the Suffolk/Essex borders meant everything to Constable. He never forgot his happy childhood here and he was fortunate to be educated at a day boarding school in the adjacent village of Dedham. By walking from Flatford to Dedham, you’ll be literally walking in his footsteps alongside the river, he did this every day whilst at school and the changing skies seasons and above all perhaps, the special light of this part of the Stour Valley never left him. The Stour River is almost unchanged, it is well worth considering hiring a rowing boat from either Dedham or Flatford.

munningsNot to be outdone, Dedham (yes, it’s just over the border in Essex!) was the eventual home to Sir Alfred Munnings, himself a Suffolk boy too, who was born near Framlingham in mid-Suffolk. His home, Castle House Dedham, is now a museum (really recommended) and his studio remains much as it ever was. Check for opening times at

www.siralfredmunnings.co.uk

The Stour Valley continues via Stratford St. Mary and onwards to Stoke by Nayland via Higham. This road has a particularly majestic view of the ‘Valley (when the corn is ripe in particular) just before Stoke by Nayland. Onwards to Nayland, Bures and Sudbury, much work has been carried out by The Stour Trust to repair and re-open parts of it to river-craft once again.

Suggestions to eat and drink in ‘Constable Country’

The general area and the neighbouring South Suffolk area has produced some of Suffolk’s finest restaurants and good country pubs.
No other area in the county has a better selection from which to choose.

Manningtree

Where the Stour almost finally disappears into the North Sea, this is the smallest town in the UK. It has some good bijou shops and a walk along the river at high tide is very enjoyable with some excellent views of Suffolk from the Essex side. Excellent express train links to Liverpool Street (circa 50 minutes) with easy parking, an ideal place to depart from for a day trip to London.

Pubs:
Several pubs serving food and a fair selection of local ales.

Restaurants:
Our cosmopolitan choice is Lucca, 01206 390044 traditional brick oven for pizzas, great pasta and more at weekends

Dedham

Pubs:
The Sun Inn, real ales and continental flavour to the restaurant. The Cornwallis also serves real ales and more traditional pub food.

Restaurants:
Dedham Hall (Fountain House restaurant within) 01206 323103, just out of Dedham’s centre towards Manningtree, wonderful setting, large pond. Service is formal but friendly, good menu, recommended and very well established.

The Boat House (01203 323026) beautifully situated on the Stour with continental flavour and adventurous dishes. Very busy in season, booking well advised.

Milsoms (010323 678)– ‘very trendy’, bistro atmosphere, to be found on the road to Stratford St. Mary from Dedham, turn first right leaving Dedham in Colchester direction, booking not possible

Stratford St Mary

Pubs:
The Black Horse and The Swan – real ales, traditional food.

Restaurants:
Possibly la crème de la crème, Le Talbooth (01323 3456) established in 1952 and still in family hands. It can be well argued that this restaurant started the gourmet experience in the Stour Valley. One of the most beautiful settings anywhere in the UK with food standards to match. Booking almost essential, this is one for a special occasion.

Stoke by Nayland

(a restaurant/pub in that order)

The Crown (01206 543678) chic and trendy, this restaurant/pub is exceptionally busy and good – but no bookings can be made, arrive by 6.30pm to get a table.

The Angel (01206 263 245), opposite the Crown is a beautiful, heavily timbered pub with a huge inglenook, fires in season traditional ale and restaurant too.

Nayland Rest/Pub
The White Hart (01206 89765) by the river serves real beer and has a good menu.