We are very fortunate to have not one but two of Englands 33 AONB’s right on our doorstep. Lots of rambling meadows, rolling fields and abundant open marshland, many of which are recognised the world over as ‘Constable Country’ with nearby Flatford and Dedham, arguably being the jewel in the crown of this beautiful area.
The Dedham Vale and Stour Valley sits on the Suffolk/ Essex border. The gentle River Stour (so good we named a barn after it) and its hedged water meadows, copses and riverbank willows, form a landscape, widely thought to represent the best of the farmed English countryside.
There’s lots of water activities in the area from Dedham and Flatford and also the restored Stour Lighter (barge) that operates from Sudbury. Rowing boat hire is available from Dedham Boathouse or Flatford, they use different operators so it’s a ‘there and back’ thing instead a one way hire.
‘Constable Country’ is part of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – a national landscape designation and part of the protected landscapes family, along with National Parks.
Similarly, we have the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB, which we have written a separate post about. You can also find more information on the Suffolk Coast and Heaths website, including some great downloadable walks (called Explorer guides) for all of the main visitor destinations such as Snape, Aldeburgh, and Walberswick. This AONB covers from Kessingland down to the Shotley peninsula, and all of the Heritage Coast.