Remember: Press F11 for a full screen view of this page.


" Constable Country "

Date & start time: 22nd August 2011 12.30 pm start

Location of Start : The Flatford Mill car park, Suffolk, Uk ( TM 075 335 )

Places visited : Flatford, Flatford Mill and Dedham.

Walk details : 3.5 mls,100 ft of ascent, 3 hrs 15 mins.

Highest point : The museum of pictures and Willy Lott's House.

Walked with : Cathy, Alexander, Ann and the dogs, Theo, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Sunshine and warm temperatures.


" Constable Country " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


One of the most significant English Landscape artists was John Constable who was born and brought up in this area of East Bergholt, Flatford and Dedham. He introduced a whole new way of looking at classic landscapes compared to his contemporaries who were still painting in traditional European classic and formal style.

Today we drove a short distance across from Pin Mill to enjoy the iconic landscape of his Constable's youth and try and match his pictures with the reality of today . . . Oh . . . and also walk the dogs and ourselves on what was a lovely summer day.

A useful information board in the car park at the start of the walk.

Bridge Cottage and the bridge, hardly changed from Constable's day (1776 - 1837)

The River Stour as it wends its way towards us and underneath the bridge,

travelling east and eventually reaching the sea at Harwich.

Classic pollarded willows line the banks of the Stour.

With minimal currents, this stretch of the river is appreciated by holiday makers and day visitors alike

as they can hire boats and canoes and spend time on the water.

Sometimes they meet up at crowded bends . . .

Where some people's boat skills leaves a little to be desired . . .

It's a good job they are all travelling nice and slowly !

Big summer skies as Ann and Cathy cross the fields.
The tree lined tunnel on the approach to Dedham Village.

The sign board in Dedham Village.

Passing the Arts Centre on Brook Street, with the Church ahead.

St Mary's Church, Dedham . . . built from the wealth of the wool trade.

John Constable attended the Grammar School here in Dedham in the 1790's and the church tower has a display of many of his paintings.

The tower is open for tours at weekends.
The market Square
The grand West Window

Delightful timber framed buildings line the roads . . . there's a great tearoom opposite too.

Dedham Mill, one of many mills that have developed along the length of the river.

Did I say the area was popular with tourists ?

Just outside the village is one of the two places you can hire rowing boats.

We retraced our steps, but this time on the opposite bank of the river.

This is Fen Bridge which we passed on the way out . . . and on the way back.

- - - o o o - - -


Whilst walking the river bank on the other side of the bridge we found that the "knotted green bag thrower" has struck again !

It is not just the Lakes where dog owners with little sense of litter and even less the concept of biodegradability, have left their mark !

Far better to use the bags to pick up and throw the dog poo in the base of a hedge out of the way, then either take the empty bag home or carry it to a local litter bin.

The empty bag can be wrapped in a second bag to keep pockets clean.

Don't just leave the full bag by the path for someone else to clear up . . . please !


- - - o o o - - -

Back to the walk . . . we leave the river and climb slightly towards East Bergholt.

Our two posers are joined by Alexander for this view back to Dedham Village, almost hidden in the trees.

This brought us back to the car park and Flatford . . . and after a light lunch we extended the walk by re-visiting the river.

The Bridge Cottage used to be a National Trust tearoom but a new purpose made building has been constructed alongside.

The Cottage now houses an informative museum all about Constable and his paintings.

Inside the museum.

Reprints of his classic paintings.

This one shows the river, Flatford Mill, and the lock gates from the southern end of the bridge.

After spending time indoors, we walked out into the present day once again . . . mind your head as you go through the door.

More or less the same view as the picture above from the parapet of the bridge.

The passage of time has most noticeably altered the trees and vegetation, so many of the classic views are no longer possible.

The Granary has been converted from a grain store

and now offers bed and breakfast accommodation for visitors to the area.

A close up of the river lock.

The gates have changed, the wood replaced but the structure is basically the same as before.

Classic Flatford Mill from the lock.

Another painted view that isn't quite achievable until the Trust have a change of policy and remove some of the extensive trees.

A little further on and the Mill is in full view.

Cathy and Alexander.


We stop for a short while and enjoy the views.


- - - o o o - - -


From here we decided on one last short walk

on the other side of the river


in order to see the close up of the Mill

and to view where "The Haywain" was painted.


Flaxtord Mill from the bridge

Back at the bridge again and a close up of the side view of the Mill.

[ Hold your cursor over the picture to compare the original ]

The boat building and repair dock

Alongside the tearooms is the old dry dock which features in Constable's paintings.

[ Hold your cursor over the picture to compare the original ]

One of the contemporary buildings, currently undergoing a slight decoration or renovation.

The famous Flatford Mill which used the power of the water from the river to drive the corn grinding wheels.

Golding Constable, John's father was a miller and corn merchant and this was one of the businesses with which he was involved.

John would have worked here for a time as a young man.

Today the mill buildings are home to the Flatford Mill Field Centre, run by the Field Studies Council.

The location of 'The Haywain' picture

Gibbonsgate Farm, better known as Willy Lott's House, as featured in The Haywain

[ Hold your cursor over the picture to compare my efforts at photographing the scene ]

Has it been possible to re-create the scenes of old ?

Over time all the trees have changed, the land in this part of East Anglia has sunk about a foot (30cms) compared to other parts of Britain

and so as a consequence the river levels are higher compared to 200 years ago.

We may not be able to see exactly what Constable saw . . . but we have a new insight as to the type of scenery that inspired his work.

- - - o o o - - -

Stop Press . . .

Hi Roger and Ann,

As an enthusiastic viewer of your site, and a self-designated PR Man for it, it pains me to have to tell you that you are wrong about anything. However, in your piece about your day in Constable Country you blatantly state that the Car Park is at Flatford, ESSEX. As a Geordie living in Suffolk for the last 45 years I am proud of the fact that John Constable
was a Suffolk Boy. East Bergholt and Flatford are in Suffolk. Essex is on the South side of the River Stour.

Glad you enjoyed your visit. This is one of our favourite walks. Unfortunately, we live over 40 miles from it and only get there now when we are showing it off to visitors to the County. If you return I can recommend the tea rooms across the road from the pub in Dedham you photographed; the pub itself is pretty good. We also tend to avoid the Car Park down the hill by parking in East Bergholt, and starting the circular walk via Dedham from there. Did you get to see the Bell Cage
in the Churchyard at East Bergholt? Well worth a visit, especially when the locals have the Church open for tea and cakes on some weekday mornings. There is a good website about East Bergholt which gives information about the bells, and, I think, a recording.

Best Wishes, John Gateshill
(formerly a visitor to The Long House, Loweswater)

Hi John, Thanks for the update ... the changes have been made as you suggest. I must have transposed Dedham's county address to the land north of the river in a weak moment. Thanks for the parking suggestions which I hope everyone can take advantage of. A visit to the East Bergholt Bells sounds interesting. Perhaps next time we are there . . . Cheers Roger.

Roger and Ann,

Thanks so much for your photo journey of Constable Country, including overlays of his paintings and your photographs – this is fascinating! I always try to imagine places as they would have appeared 50, 100, 200 plus years ago, and how they may appear in future years, so this hike was especially appealing to me.

Have been enjoying your site for the last six months or so. Someday, maybe my husband and I will be able to visit the wonderful places you’ve taken me . . . Kathy Simon, Fowler, Michigan, USA.

I see I'll have to work harder at posting historic photos behind my contemporary Lake District photos in future . . .no pressure then ! RmH

Hi Ann & Roger,

I have thoroughly enjoyed your albums. We really must visit Suffolk, it's
not that far from here and it looks such a beautiful County. I loved your "take" on the paintings, very good :-)

Have a nice evening. Best wishes, Sherran

Hi Ann, I really enjoyed looking at your latest photos. What a lovely part of the country, we must visit the area sometime. I love the cursor magic on the pics?! Good to see the Lincolnshire Dining Section enjoying themselves!
Jenna certainly seems to have green fingers!
Regard Lin.

Hi Ann & Roger

What lovely photos from Constable country, I really enjoyed viewing them. We have only visited Flatford once, about 20 years ago & only had a very short walk there. I love the style of the old buildings in that area, it's a place I'd
like to return to sometime. I also had a second look at the other album, that's a lovely panoramic photo of the big lake.
Unusual to capture it from that angle with the house by the bridge not in view.


Enjoyed viewing the two delightful albums from your recent visit south. As you
say, not a fell in sight but plenty of beautiful English countryside shown at
its best.
Thanks for sharing,

Hello Roger & Ann,
thoroughly enjoyed seeing a bit of Suffolk, I used to travel round the county in
my sales-rep days but never got to Flatford.

Off to Norfolk soon and we have a
trip to Stratford on the books as well, a bit of high culture in the low
counties! Looking forward to your Loweswater Show report.

Regards Freddie.

Hi Ann and Roger,

I have always loved Constable's paintings, and it's interesting to see how
much change, or how little in the case of the dry dock, there has been in
the intervening years. That is a part of the world we haven't visited, so
thanks are due for showing it to us.

Best wishes, Dave L.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on these and many other of our reports.

Your emails and postings are very much appreciated. . . . Rmh

- - - o o o - - -

For further information about this "area of outstanding natural beauty" click here

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a photographic memory for pictures seen earlier.

Go to Top . . . © RmH.2011 . . . Email me here

Previous walk - 20th August 2011 A short Suffolk Holiday - part 1

A previous time up here - 23rd / 27th August 2009 Pin Mill in Suffolk

Next walk - 24th August 2011 Pin Mill final day