A visit to Flatford Mill in Flatford, East Bergholt, makes for a relaxing day out for all the family. The scene has been immortalised by John Constable in his painting of The Haywain and the Mill is still recognisable. Attached to the Mill, which is a Grade 1 listed Watermill originally built in 1733, is a 17th Century miller’s cottage which is also Grade I listed. The Watermill is located in the centre of Dedham Vale, a wonderfully English village close to the Essex/Suffolk border. This is part of the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so take your time to savour the area.
A Brief History of Flatford Mill
The mill is located just downstream from Bridge Cottage which is a 16th-century thatched cottage owned by the National Trust. You can enjoy an exhibition of Constable’s work here and perhaps a course too as the Cottage is leased to the Field Studies Council. The Field Studies Council is an environmental education charity committed to helping people understand and be inspired by the natural world. Established in 1943, the FSC has become internationally respected for its national network of 17 education centres.
The Flatford Centre is just an hour from London and offers visitors of all ages a unique learning environment. The rich mosaic of lowland landscapes, wildlife habitats and places of historic interest in this beautiful part of East Anglia are reflected in the Centre’s wide-ranging programme of environment and art-based courses. Over 300 residential and day activities are offered each year for people of all ages. Click on the link above to find out more about FSC’s courses at Bridge Cottage.
One of the best ways to experience the countryside that John Constable knew and loved is to take the Constable Country Walk around the picturesque Stour Valley. Follow the signposts from Flatford along the River Stour. Alternatively you could take part in one of the National Trusts daily guided walks (April-Sept) to learn more about the area and John Constable.
There are a number of country pubs, restaurants and cafes in the Stour Valley and nearby at Dedham. If you want to extend your visit to Flatford there are a number of accommodation options available.