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Cream-walled, red-tiled Willy Lott's House is reflected in the River Stour at Flatford, Suffolk, surrounded by trees showing autumn colour
Willy Lott's House and the River Stour at Flatford, Suffolk | © National Trust Images/James Dobson
Suffolk

Flatford and Constable country walk

Explore the picturesque Stour Valley and Dedham Vale on this relaxing walk, visiting the area made famous by the 18th-century paintings of John Constable, England’s foremost landscape artist of the time. See Flatford Mill, Willy Lott's House, the site of The Hay Wain painting, and visit the village of Dedham, where Constable went to school.

Slippery paths when muddy

This trail can be muddy after wet weather - take care when walking on riverside sections of the route.

Total steps: 8

Total steps: 8

Start point

Manningtree Station CO11 2LE. Grid ref: TM093322

Step 1

Leave Manningtree station exit and descend ramp to the right. The footpath starts from the end of the ramp in the car par. After leaving the car park, turn right along a track, then right again under a railway bridge. Follow path until you reach the river and turn left along a stream-side path taking you through the Cattawade Marshes.

The Cattawade Marshes is where fresh water and sea water meet. An area of water lies in a field to the left of the river Stour
The Cattawade Marshes is where fresh water and sea water meet | © Michael Graham

Step 2

Walk behind Fifty-six Gates, and follow the path on the bank to the hamlet of Flatford.

Step 3

You can take a short detour to see Flatford Mill, Willy Lott's House and the site of The Hay Wain painting. You can then return to Manningtree by the same route or continue on to Dedham.

Cream-painted Willy Lott's House stands next to the river Stour at Flatford, Suffolk, reflecting in the water along with mature trees
Willy Lott's House and the river Stour at Flatford, Suffolk | © National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Step 4

Leave Flatford by walking from Bridge Cottage towards the RSPB wildlife garden. Go up the steps on your left and follow the path to the car park. Turn left at the top of the car park and after 110yd (100m) take the footpath running parallel to the road.

Step 5

Turn left into Fen Lane.

Panoramic views over Dedham Vale: a grassy field with rounded trees and more fields in the distance
Panoramic views over Dedham Vale | © www.dedhamvalesociety.org.uk

Step 6

Shortly after crossing a bridge, turn right along a tree-lined footpath. Cross riverside meadows, until you reach a bridge at Dedham.

Step 7

Leave the village on a footpath after the drive leading to Dedham Hall. Follow the path to Flatford, bearing left at a National Trust sign to Dedham Hall Farm.

Step 8

The river leads back to Bridge Cottage across water meadows. A kissing gate marks the site of an old stile featured in another Constable painting, 'The Leaping Horse'. Now retrace your path back to Manningtree Station.

End point

Manningtree Station CO11 2LE. Grid ref: TM093322

Trail map

Flatford and Constable Country walk map
Flatford and Constable Country walk map | © National Trust

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Flatford, East Bergholt, Suffolk, CO7 6UL

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