It was an easy walk because paths are flat and maintained. We enjoyed to see nature and animals.
We were confused partly because of broken sign... but we didn't get a wrong path. There is Cattawade Marshes where much of it ia owned by the RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).
We passed 56 Gates, an Environment Agency Flood Defence Barrier, and the National Trust sign.
Gradually you will discover a very picturesque village; Flatford. I was quite surprised that there were many people around there. Until there, we only saw one man. And little wonder, there are the National Trust shop, tea room and a car park. We really didn't expect that this area was a tourist site like that, but had a nice break there.
This view reminded me of the phrases from the book 'The Villages of England' by Richard Muir, that 'When the pub in the next village to my own was selected for use in a beer commercial it underwent a costly transformation from the unspoilt village pub that it was to an ad man's perception of what such a pub should really look like..... almost every branch of the media is engaged in promoting an ever more idealized and idyllic image of the village. In the process, and contrary to intentions, the vision which the more discerning people received is of an artificial and spineless place which, if it smells at all, has the sweet and cloying lavender odour found in National Trust shops and those village craft outlets which are packed with the cottage products of China and South Korea....'. 'Current vision of the village is not founded upon history but is rooted in the insecurity of a rootless society which has lost its links with the land. Like stray lambs in search of a ewe, people who have lost their sense of identity seek comfort and stability in the haven of the village of their dreams'.
Although this area was almost like what the National Trust is, the scene around there where John Constable painted, remain still easily recognisable today. I sometimes feel the National Trust's shop and tea room add the same sense of their flavour to every unique historical place to uniform... I don't mean to criticise the organisation, as a matter of fact, I am a member of the National Trust. Anyway, it was interesting to compare with his picture and current natural view.
'The Hay Wain' John Constable, 1821
This building is B&B, located in the centre of Flatford. It must be nice to explore around here based in this B&B.
I found a lovely ornament at the National Trust shop, but I didn't get anything, because I didn't want to carry for walk!
We restarted to walk towards Dedham. We crossed the field where cows were resting on the ground. It was rare experience for me walking the land of a coexistence with cows. It was a nice weather, so many people passed by.
Some people were enjoying a boat.
We walked along the River Stour. It's the border of Essex and Suffolk. So we crossed the county border every time we cross a bridge. Dedham was not so far. We could see the church tower from the field. At Dedham, we had a lunch:) The big mouse had bacon & cherry pie, and I had duck and orange pie. They were nice after walking.
We walked thorough the village, noticed it's a really nice village. There is Wilkin & Sons' tea rooms too!
We popped in Dedham art & craft centre, where is full of lovely items. There are three floors inside, and tea room as well.
We started to walk back to Flatford again. The route was different from before, the other side of the River Stour.
We found a growing number of visitors at the National Trust centre.
Hello again, sheep! And rabbits appeared on our way. And then, we came back to the station. We achieved the whole 7 miles course. We are happy about that!
- You can get PDF map from here; Visit Essex.com Walk in Constable's footsteps