13 Feb

This circular walk is another regular favourite – perfect for both summer-time picnics and fresh winter strolls.

You can either take either the 87 or 247 bus from Colchester Bus Station or utilise one of two free parking areas if you’d rather drive (5 minutes off A12).

Once you’ve arrived in Dedham, head to the start of walk, located over the bridge on Dedham Road (at the end of Mill Lane) – indicated by the ‘public footpath to E. Bergholt & Flatford sign’. This is slap-bang on the Essex/Suffolk border!

Upon entering ‘Constable Country’ there’s ample space for dogs to run free.

You will notice the Boathouse restaurant on your right-hand side. Follow the river Stour for about 0.2 miles then steer left across the field until you reach the Dedham Vale sign. Go through the metal gate and follow the tree-lined path.

At the end, turn right and head over the ‘half-way bridge’. Turn right again and follow river until you reach another gate leading to the next field. Cut right through the middle of this and follow the clear paths where you will eventually pass both commercial and quintessential residential properties. Dogs should be put back on lead here as busy Brook Street is straight ahead!

Make your way down Brook Street in front of you. You will then reach the Mill Lane/High Street crossroads where the quaint Essex Rose Tea Room is located.

Carry on down the High Street and the Sun Inn awaits.  This dog-friendly coaching inn is a traditional, comfortable place to enjoy modern British meets Italian influenced food and your favourite drinks. There are open fires to keep you cosy in the winter and a garden for summer soirees. A glass of wine plus pint of ale costs £7/8. It also has five guest rooms with a luxury, boutique feel if you wish to stay the night.

What you can do next:

1) From March to September you can hire a rowing boat from the Boathouse for £6 per 30 minutes. Weather permitting, the last boat out is at 4.30pm.

2) Turn left once over the ‘half-way bridge’ to extend your walk for another hour round-trip to pretty Flatford – the location for some of John Constable’s most famous pastoral paintings.  Small café is available.

3) Last return buses from Dedham’s Marlborough Head are: Monday-Friday, 4.53pm (bus 87A) and Saturday, 5.03pm (bus 247). Check Sunday services with bus operator before travel.

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